TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida voters have rejected a proposal that would have banned government mandates for obtaining insurance such as required by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The proposed state constitutional amendment required 60 percent approval but didn't even have a majority with most of the vote counted Tuesday. It was favored by 48 percent and opposed by 52 percent. Amendment 1 wouldn't have made a difference even if it passed, as the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the federal law. Republicans pushed the amendment through the GOP-controlled Legislature saying that approval still would have sent a strong political message against what they derisively call "Obamacare." It also would have prevented a state law similar to one GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney signed as governor of Massachusetts
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A proposed Florida constitutional amendment that would have capped state revenue has gone down to defeat. At 42 percent, Amendment 1 was well short of required 60 percent approval with most votes counted Tuesday. The measure would have limited revenue growth to match increases in population and cost of living. It was proposed by the Republican-led Florida Legislature and patterned after Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR. Colorado suspended and modified its cap following sharp spending cuts for schools and other public services. A laundry list of opponents ranging from AARP to public employee unions argued Florida would have faced a similar fate. Supporters, including business interests, contended the Florida version had safeguards such as the Legislature's ability to break the cap with a two-thirds vote in each chamber.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A wide-ranging property tax relief proposal has been rejected by Florida voters. Amendment 4 failed after receiving only 43 percent of the vote with most ballots counted Tuesday. All state constitutional amendments need 60 percent approval. Real estate interests promoted Amendment 4 as a boost to Florida's economy. Local officials opposed it, arguing the amendment would cut services and raise taxes for those who don't benefit from the measure. It included a 5 percent annual assessment cap for businesses and second homes and an additional exemption for first-time primary home buyers. The proposal also would have let the Legislature undo a quirk that increases homeowners' tax bill if their property value goes down. It's part of the existing Save Our Homes provision, which caps annual assessment increases at 3 percent.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Republican-sponsored proposal to give the GOP-dominated Legislature more control over Florida's court system has been defeated at the polls. The vote Tuesday for Amendment 5 was only 44 percent in favor. All state constitutional amendments need at least 60 percent to pass. Amendment 5 would have given the Senate authority to confirm or deny the appointment of Florida Supreme Court justices by the governor. It also would have made it easier for the Legislature to veto court rules. The legal community was solidly against what critics called a power grab and threat to the judiciary's independence. GOP lawmakers contended it would make the courts more accountable.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A proposed Florida constitutional amendment that would have curtailed abortion rights has been defeated. Amendment 6 garnered support from only 44 percent of voters on Tuesday with most ballots counted. All amendments require 60 percent voter approval. The proposal was placed on the ballot by the Republican-majority Legislature. It would have prohibited taxpayer funding of abortions, which the state doesn't do anyway. The measure also would have exclude abortion from privacy rights protected by the Florida Constitution, which are stronger than those in the U.S. Constitution. It was seen by supporters and opponents alike as a step toward requiring minors to get parental consent for abortions.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Voters have refused to repeal Florida's ban on public funding for churches and other religious organizations, including parochial schools. The vote for Amendment 8 was 44 percent in favor with most ballots counted Tuesday. All proposed state constitutional amendments require 60 percent. Besides the repeal, the amendment would have prohibited state and local governments from barring people from participating in public programs if they choose to receive those services through religious organizations. Supporters said the amendment offered by the Republican-led Legislature would have advanced religious freedom. Opponents, including the state's teachers union, said it would have done the opposite. They also argued it would lift a potential legal barrier to new taxpayer-supported voucher programs for private schools.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida voters have rejected an additional tax break for businesses on their furniture, equipment and other tangible personal property. The vote Tuesday on Amendment 10 was 45 percent in favor with most ballots counted. As with all amendments, it needed 60 percent approval. The proposal would have doubled the current exemption on tangible personal property taxes from $25,000 to $50,000 and let cities and counties increase it even more. Supporters said the amendment offered by the Republican-controlled Legislature would help stimulate Florida's economy. Lawmakers in the past two years also have cut corporate income taxes by increasing the exemption. Opponents said the amendment would have forced local governments to further reduce public services or increase other taxes.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Voters have rejected a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have slightly changed the way the student member is selected for the board overseeing Florida's 12 public universities. Amendment 12 had just a 41 percent favorable vote with most ballots counted Tuesday. All amendments need at least 60 percent. The chair of the Florida Student Association, which consists of student body presidents from each school, will continue to serve on the Board of Governors. The amendment would have created a new council of student body presidents, with its chair serving as the student board member. The Legislature offered the amendment after Florida State University pulled out of the Florida Student Association in a dispute over dues. Florida State later rejoined after the dues requirement was dropped.