In a series of opinions issued on August 31, 2010, the Supreme Court of Florida removed from the November general election ballot three amendments to the Florida Constitution that had been proposed by the Legislature and allowed two amendments that had been proposed by petition to remain on the ballot.

  • Property taxes. Amendment Three proposed to limit the annual increase in the assessed value of non-homestead property to five percent and to provide a temporary additional homestead tax exemption for new home buyers. In Roberts v. Doyle, the court found that the ballot summary did not adequately inform voters as to who would qualify for the exemption. Justice Polston, joined by Chief Justice Canady, dissented.
  • Legislative and congressional districting. Amendments Five and Six, proposed by petition, proposed additional standards for legislative and congressional districts, including requirements addressing issues of gerrymandering on behalf of political parties and racial or language minorities. The court had previously approved their placement on the ballot, finding that they met single-subject and ballot statement requirements. In Roberts v. Brown, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a subsequent challenge to these amendments that raised other issues. However, in Florida Department of State v. Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches, the court removed another redistricting amendment from the ballot. Amendment Seven, proposed by the Legislature, set out additional districting standards and required the state to “balance and implement” all of the standards in the constitution. The court held that the ballot description of this amendment did not inform the voter of its true purpose and effect on other constitutional provisions. Chief Justice Canady, joined by Justice Polston, dissented.
  • Health care. Amendment Nine as adopted by the Legislature would have guaranteed the right “to preserve the freedom of all residents of the state to provide for their own health care.” The issue in Florida Department of State v. Mangat was whether the Supreme Court could substitute the actual language of the amendment for an admittedly inaccurate and misleading ballot summary. The court found that it lacked that power and explicitly receded from prior cases in which it had applied that remedy. Once again, Chief Justice Canady, joined by Justice Polston, dissented.

Four other proposed constitutional amendments also remain on the ballot. Amendment One proposes to repeal the constitutional provision on public campaign financing, Amendment Two proposes a homestead tax credit for deployed military personnel, Amendment Four requires local referenda for adoption or amendment of comprehensive land use plans, and Amendment Eight revises maximum class-size requirements for public schools.