Some of Florida’s Sheriffs, Tax Collectors, Clerks of Circuit Court, Property Appraisers, and other supporters gathered at the Capitol Wednesday to kick off a “statewide education initiative” about Amendment 10, or the “Protection Amendment.”
“The amendment safeguards the interests of Floridians by protecting our right to vote, our families, our tax dollars, and our veterans,” a press release said. “Amendment 10 keeps, and in some cases returns, the power into the hands of the people.”
The state’s Supreme Court last week unanimously upheld a lower court ruling approving the amendment, which would overhaul state and local governments by requiring certain offices now appointed to be elected.
That means the constitutional change remains on the Nov. 6 ballot, though it still must be approved by no less than 60 percent of voters to take effect.
The ballot measure, created by the 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), had been opposed by charter counties, such as Miami-Dade and Volusia.
The measure would make the five local constitutional offices — sheriff, tax collector, supervisor of elections, clerk of the court and property appraiser — mandatory and require elections for the offices in all 67 counties. It would also prohibit charter counties from abolishing or modifying those offices.
The amendment also creates an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism, changes state budgeting timelines, and preserves the structure and governance of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the release said.
“Amendment 10 is significant because it places in our State Constitution a citizen’s right to choose their constitutional officers, including their Sheriff,” said the Florida Sheriffs Association president, Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter.
“The people of each county should be given the opportunity to elect and set the tone for how law enforcement and other constitutional officer duties should be conducted.
‘I am also a veteran; I know the important role of the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Amendment 10 protects veterans by preserving Florida’s Department of Veterans’ Affairs, so our heroes have peace of mind in knowing we will take care of them after their service to our country.”
Added Martin County Clerk of Court Carolyn Timmann: “This amendment truly is about directly asking Floridians if they want to protect their right to vote for officials who provide essential state services and protect their tax dollars at the local level. There is no hidden agenda and no misleading language.
“Amendment 10 maintains the framework and checks and balances of our state constitution; guaranteeing Florida voters have total control of the accountability and efficiency of these government operations.” Timmann was also a CRC member and co-sponsored the amendment.
Other press conferences will be held in Tampa, West Palm Beach and Orlando in the next several days, the group said.
Background provided by The News Service of Florida, republished with permission. Wednesday’s event was also streamed on Facebook Live; a replay can be viewed here.