Proposed Constitutional Amendments

2022 Florida Constitution Amendments

Three proposed amendments to Florida’s Constitution are on the ballot for all Florida voters in November. Approval by at least sixty percent of the votes cast is required for a measure to pass.

In this post, I’ll review each proposed amendment, including who would benefit from it and who would be hurt. I will clearly explain what a Yes vote and a No vote mean. And I will share what I have learned through my research from supporters and opponents of each amendment.


Limitation on the Assessment of Real Property Used for Residential Purposes

Ballot summary: “Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution, effective January 1, 2023, to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit the consideration of any change or improvement made to real property used for residential purposes to improve the property’s resistance to flood damage in determining the assessed value of such property for ad valorem taxation purposes.”


This amendment is in response to the threat to Florida homes from flooding and rising sea levels.

Many home improvement projects ultimately increase the assessed value of a home, which means the homeowners pay higher property taxes. This amendment would allow the Florida Legislature to pass laws that would make improvements intended to protect homes from flood damage exempt from higher assessments.

The amendment itself does not define the types of improvements that would be exempt. That should, more appropriately, be done by the Legislature. However, analyses of the resolution prepared by legislative staff before its passage said that “An area’s resistance to flood damage can be increased through … improvements made to individual properties, such as elevating structures, filling basements, and waterproofing. Further, they said, “mitigation can also include non-structural improvements, such as the maintenance of land to allow for stormwater runoff, waterproofing basements, installing check valves capable of preventing water backup, and elevating furnaces, heaters, and electrical panels.”

Passage of the amendment and a subsequent law to implement it would benefit Florida homeowners to the extent that any improvements they make will likely increase the value of the property with no corresponding property tax increase. In addition, according to Florida TaxWatch, the improvements are also likely to result in lower property insurance premium rates.


By the year 2045, approximately 64,000 existing residential properties valued at $26 billion will be at risk of chronic flooding from sea level rise and more frequent and severe storms. An estimated $350 million will be removed from local governments’ property tax base. Increased tidal flooding and more frequent and severe storms will threaten insurable property, lower asset values of mortgage-backed portfolios, and make lenders more reluctant to write long-term (i.e., 30-year) mortgages in high-risk coastal areas. The vulnerability and relative decline in home prices in high-risk coastal areas could lead to 20 percent fewer home transactions in certain Florida communities. (A Rising Tide Sinks All Homes – The Effects of Climate Change on Florida’s Economy, Florida TaxWatch, 10/20/21)

Unlike a tax cut, which would eliminate a revenue stream the state is currently receiving, this amendment would eliminate revenue that would only flow if home improvements are made in the future.

According to the James Madison Institute, “This measure is not a reform that can be addressed by the State Legislature and thus requires a constitutional ballot initiative in order to be implemented.”

A Yes vote would:

  • Authorize the Florida Legislature to pass laws prohibiting flood resistance improvements to residential property from being considered when determining that residential property’s assessed value for property taxes.

A No vote would:

  • Maintain the status quo, which means homeowners’ flood resistance improvements might result in higher property assessments and higher taxes.


Supporters of this amendment argue that it will not only protect homeowners who take proactive measures to protect their property from flooding, but it will also reward and incentivize them to do so.

The amendment was originated by the Florida Legislature ( 2021 HJR 1377). It passed the House 118/0 and passed the Senate 40/0. Vote history here.


Opponents say the amendment could have a negative impact on local revenues while providing minimal savings to the homeowner. They point out that property tax exemptions can shift the tax savings enjoyed by those who qualify to the other taxpayers in the jurisdiction, since reductions in taxable property value put upward pressure on millage rates.

“Given what’s occurred with the recent devastation of Hurricane Ian and Florida’s continual need to address climate change, this amendment takes on a greater relevance…. Still, we don’t believe this amendment belongs in the Florida Constitution, particularly when lawmakers can simply craft bills and budgets to do the same thing. Lawmakers should take this idea and make it a priority in the next legislative session, not embed it in the Constitution. (Editorial Board Endorsement: Vote ‘No’ to Fla. Constitution changes, Palm Beach Post, 10/7/22)

“We get the point, especially with southwest Florida still reeling from the destruction of Hurricane Ian…. But this provision is overly broad. Allowing ‘any change or improvement’ to qualify for a tax break is an invitation to abuse.” (Florida constitutional amendments | Times Editorial Board recommendations, Tampa Bay Times, 10/7/22)

Amendment 2

Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission

Ballot summary: “Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets at 20-year intervals and is scheduled to next convene in 2037, as a method of submitting proposed amendments or revisions to the State Constitution to electors of the state for approval. This amendment does not affect the ability to revise or amend the State Constitution through citizen initiative, constitutional convention, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, or legislative joint resolution.”


In 1968, Florida voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that required a Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) to convene once every 20 years to review the constitution, hold public hearings across the state, and recommend for voter consideration changes to the constitution.

Membership on the CRC consists of the Attorney General of Florida, three members appointed by the Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, nine members appointed by the President of the Florida Senate, nine members appointed by the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, and 15 members appointed by the Governor of Florida.

The 2017-18 CRC marked the first time since the CRC’s inception that the appointing elected officials were from the same political party.

This amendment would abolish the CRC.


Calls to abolish the CRC came after it referred eight amendments to the 2018 ballot. Of those, seven amendments were involved in lawsuits alleging that they were composed of multiple subjects bundled into one, or that their ballot language was inaccurate or misleading. One such bundled amendment asked voters to ban offshore drilling and indoor vaping. Voters approved it by a nearly 69% margin. (Source: Ballotpedia, accessed 10/24/22)

This bundling has the potential to require voters to accept constitutional changes they may not like in order to get constitutional changes they do like.

Many suggest that the solution to bundling is to improve the CRC, not abolish it. However, Florida TaxWatch says the legislature does not have the authority to do so. They point out that Article XI, Section 2(c) of the Florida Constitution grants the authority to adopt the CRC’s rules of procedure to the CRC, not to the legislature. The James Madison Institute agrees.

A Yes vote would:

  • Eliminate the Constitution Revision Commission.
  • Leave four ways for a constitutional amendment to get on the ballot: through the Legislature, a citizen-led initiative, constitutional convention, or the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, all of which require voter approval.

A No vote would:

  • Preserve the Constitution Revision Commission and its ability to present amendments to the voters every 20 years.


The amendment was placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature (2021 SJR 204). It passed the House 86 to 28, with 11 Democrats joining 75 Republicans in support. Twenty-six Democrats and two Republicans were opposed. It passed the Senate 27 to 12, with three Democrats joining 24 Republicans in support. Twelve Democrats voted against it. Vote history here.

Amendment sponsor Sen. Jeff Brandes (R) said, “The CRC is bipartisanly detested and should be abolished…. The simple truth is we don’t need it.” Brandes is also concerned that members of the CRC are appointed, not elected, and are therefore not accountable to anyone but themselves. (A Move To Abolish The Florida Constitution Revision Commission Is Poised For A Floor Vote, WFSU Public Media, 3/30/21)

Other supporters include Florida TaxWatch and, according to its Voter Guide:

  • Americans for Prosperity – Florida
  • Florida National Organization for Women
  • Florida AFL-CIO
  • Florida Policy Action Network


Opponents argue that making it harder for citizens to amend the Constitution would concentrate too much power in the Legislature.

“The bundling problem can be dealt with by improving, not abolishing, the CRC,” write Carol Weissert and Lester Abberger of the LeRoy Collins Institute, Florida State University College of Social Sciences and Public Policy. “The CRC follows the advice of Thomas Jefferson, who thought every generation should have the ‘solemn’ opportunity to update its constitution. This duty should not be lightly revoked.” (Opinion: Improve, don’t abolish, the Constitution Revision Commission, by Lester Abberger and Carol Weissert via Tallahassee Democrat, 3/18/21)

Other opponents include:

Amendment 3

Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Specified Critical Public Service Workforce

Ballot summary: “Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to grant an additional homestead tax exemption for nonschool levies of up to $50,000 of the assessed value of homestead property owned by classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and Florida National Guard members. This amendment shall take effect January 1, 2023.”


This amendment would authorize the Florida Legislature to create a new homestead exemption of up to $50,000 for classroom teachers, law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, child welfare services professionals, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, and members of the Florida National Guard. The exemption means property owners in these professions can subtract $50,000 from the assessed value of their property, which will reduce their local property tax bills.

The exemption would be in addition to the standard $50,000 homestead exemptions Floridians already receive on their primary residence. It would not apply to assessments for school taxes.

By way of background, the Constitution also authorizes additional homestead exemptions for low-income seniors and for veterans with service-related disabilities. For more on Florida’s property tax exemptions, click here.

The Legislature has already passed a companion bill (CS/CS/HB 1563) that, if the amendment is passed, will create the new exemption and make it effective on Jan. 1, 2023.


The Legislature’s Revenue Estimating Conference determined that the companion bill will reduce local property tax revenue by $85.9 million annually, beginning in FY 2023-24, growing to $96.0 million in FY 2026-27. The state would make up for the losses in Florida’s 29 “fiscally constrained” counties, primarily rural counties in the Panhandle and South Florida’s interior, at a cost of $2.8 million annually, beginning in FY 2023-24, growing to $3.2 million in FY 2026-27. (Final Bill Analysis)

It will be up to local elected officials to determine how to deal with the lost revenue. Will they shift the tax burden to everyone else, including lower-income homeowners, small businesses, and renters, including the “Specified Critical Public Services Workforce” who rent their homes? Or will they absorb the effect of the new exemption by cutting services?

According to the James Madison Institute, “This measure is not a reform that can be addressed by the State Legislature and thus requires a constitutional ballot initiative in order to be implemented.”

A Yes vote would:

  • Allow the Legislature to create a new homestead exemption up to $50,000.
  • Exclude the exemption from assessments for school property taxes.
  • Trigger a companion bill that puts the new exemption into effect as of Jan. 1, 2023.

A No vote would:

  • Reject giving lawmakers the ability to create a new homestead exemption for certain public service occupations up to $50,000.
  • Have no effect on property tax revenue collected by local governments.
  • Render moot the bill that would have created the new homestead exemption if the amendment had passed.


Supporters position this amendment in the context of an imbalance in Florida’s housing market between the demand for housing and the available supply. They say rapidly increasing home prices have priced many would-be first-time home buyers out of the market and negatively impacted many of Florida’s front-line workers. And they argue that because these specific categories of public service workers sacrifice much to protect our state, we should help ensure they can afford to keep their homes.

The amendment was originated by the Florida Legislature (2022 CS/CS/HJR 1). It passed the House 115/0 and passed the Senate 37/1. Vote history here.

“In general, Florida TaxWatch opposes efforts to shift the tax burden from one segment of the population to another. In this instance, however, Florida TaxWatch believes the benefits of Amendment 3 far outweigh the negative consequences of a tax shift.” (Florida TaxWatch 2022 Voter Guide, 9/15/22)

Other supporters include


Opponents argue that the exemption would greatly jeopardize the funds available for local government services, while not guaranteeing that public service workers can even purchase homes, much less afford to keep them. In addition, some say that this amendment would be a case of creating tax policy that favors specific groups over others. Rather than provide an additional exemption to select public service workers, they suggest, Florida should look to lower property tax rates for all homestead property.

FL. Sen. Bobby Powell, D-West Palm Beach, cast the only vote against the measure in the Legislature, arguing in March that lawmakers should focus first on affordable-housing problems as prices and rents soar.

“This proposal may have merit,” said the League of Women Voters of Florida, “but the League has a longstanding position that ‘no tax sources or revenue should be specified, limited, exempted, or prohibited in the Constitution.’” (League of Women Voters of Florida Guide to Proposed Constitutional Amendments for 2022)

“This is a messy, halfhearted and unfair way to assist this critical public workforce. There’s an easy way to help cops, firefighters, prison guards and teachers. We’ve said it before and will say it again: Pay these professionals what they’re worth.” (Times Editorial Board recommendations, Tampa Bay Times, 10/7/22)

Other opponents include:

For More About the Amendments

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