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Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Guide to Florida Constitutional Amendments

Press Release: As a service to Florida voters, The James Madison Institute(JMI) released a special edition of The Journal of The James Madison Institute that introduces and analyzes the 11 constitutional amendments on the 2012 ballot sent to voters by the Florida Legislature.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to offer background and recommendations for Floridians to help better prepare them for what they’ll see on the ballot,” said Dr. J. Robert McClure, JMI president and CEO. “A similar evaluation was published in 2010, and since, we have received an outpouring of interest to release another. It’s easy for campaign noise to distract from the discussion on state constitutional amendments, thus we anticipate Floridians will use this comprehensive, user-friendly guide as a refresher or to get up to speed.”

For each amendment, The Journal Special Edition 2012 Voters’ Guide includes the specific language used on the ballot, a breakdown of each amendment and a pro/con analysis. Out of the 11amendments, JMI policy staff provided recommendations on six including Amendments 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and 10.

“As a result of the passage of the 2006 ballot amendment requiring that future proposed amendments receive at least 60 percent of the vote, it’s possible that this batch of amendments may face more of a struggle to pass,” said Robert Sanchez, JMI director of policy. “Several of these amendments are extremely important to Florida’s future, and we hope this service to Floridians will help reignite the conversation and encourage an informed vote.”

Additionally, The JournalSpecial Edition includes an article on the merit retention vote on three justices of the Florida Supreme Court written by Capitol Vanguard reporter Will Patrick. As outlined in the state Constitution, merit retention is a process whereby voters periodically evaluate the state’s appeals court judges, who are initially appointed by the Governor, during general elections.

“No Florida judge subjected to this process has ever failed to be retained,” said Patrick. “However, because of the increase in public awareness, this election cycle could be different.”

The full version of The Journal Special Edition 2012 Voters’ Guide can be accessed at http://bit.ly/PcDi5u.