As Floridians go to the polls to vote on constitutional amendments, it is important to apply Biblical principles to the proposed constitutional amendments and county referendums. It is important also to remember that The Florida Constitution is the supreme law of our state subordinate only to the US Constitution. We never want to put evil into the FL Constitution or add items that could be handled legislatively.
Below, you will find recommendations on the proposed constitutional amendments as well as a sermon by Pastor Bryan Longworth which applies biblical principles to the following amendments and proposed county referendums.
Proposed Constitutional Amendments
Proposed Amendment 1 – Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice – Vote No!
Proposed Amendment 2 – Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions – Vote No!
Proposed Amendment 3 – Tax Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled First Responders – Vote Yes!
Proposed Amendment 5 – Homestead Tax Exemption for Certain Senior, Low-Income, Long-Term Residents; Determination of Just Value – Vote No!
St Lucie County Proposed County Referendums
No.7 – Half-Cent Local Government Surtax – Vote No!
No.8 Slot Machines at Licensed Pari-mutuel Facilities Located in St. Lucie County – Vote No!
Opening Passage — Psalm 149.
Proposed Amendment 1 – Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice
This amendment establishes a right under Florida’s constitution for consumers to own or lease solar equipment installed on their property to generate electricity for their own use. State and local governments shall retain their abilities to protect consumer rights and public health, safety and welfare, and to ensure that consumers who do not choose to install solar are not required to subsidize the costs of backup power and electric grid access to those who do.
A vote “for” Amendment 1 supports adding a section in the state constitution giving residents of Florida the right to own or lease solar energy equipment for personal use while also enacting constitutional protection for any state or local law ensuring that residents who do not produce solar energy can abstain from subsidizing its production.
A vote “against” Amendment 1 opposes constitutionalizing the right to own or lease solar equipment and the protection of laws preventing subsidization of solar energy, thereby, leaving the personal use of solar power protected as a right by state statute, and not by the constitution.
Where Do Rights Come From?
Declaration of Independence
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Genesis 1:27 – “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (NKJV)
Genesis 9:6 – “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.” (NKJV)
Proverbs 6:16-19 – “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: … A false witness who speaks lies …” (NKJV)
Fourth Amendment – U.S. Constitution
Search and Seizure
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Proposed Amendment 2 – Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions
Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.
Increased costs from this amendment to state and local governments cannot be determined. There will be additional regulatory costs and enforcement activities associated with the production, sale, use and possession of medical marijuana. Fees may offset some of the regulatory costs. Sales tax will likely apply to most purchases, resulting in a substantial increase in state and local government revenues that cannot be determined precisely. The impact on property tax revenues cannot be determined.
A “yes” vote supports legalizing medical marijuana for individuals with specific debilitating diseases or comparable debilitating conditions as determined by a licensed state physician.
A “no” vote opposes this proposal for legalization of medical marijuana, keeping the state’s current more limited medical marijuana program in place.
Biblical Law – Personal Responsibility
Proposed Amendment 3 – Tax Exemption for Totally and Permanently Disabled First Responders.
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize a first responder, who is totally and permanently disabled as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty, to receive relief from ad valorem taxes assessed on homestead property, if authorized by general law. If approved by voters, the amendment takes effect January 1, 2017.
A “yes” vote supports providing property tax exemptions to first responders who have been permanently disabled in the line of duty.
A “no” vote opposes providing property tax exemptions for first responders disabled in the line of duty.
Property Rights — Deuteronomy 19:14 – “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which the men of old have set, in your inheritance which you will inherit in the land that the LORD your God is giving you to possess.”
Proposed Amendment 5 – Homestead Tax Exemption for Certain Senior, Low-Income, Long-Term Residents; Determination of Just Value.
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to revise the homestead tax exemption that may be granted by counties or municipalities for property with just value less than $250,000 owned by certain senior, low-income, long-term residents to specify that just value is determined in the first tax year the owner applies and is eligible for the exemption. The amendment takes effect January 1, 2017, and applies retroactively to exemptions granted before January 1, 2017.
A “yes” vote supports providing eligible senior citizens with certain property tax exemptions and allowing home values to remain fixed after application for the exemption, even if the value later exceeds the designated threshold.
A “no” vote opposes this proposal for providing senior citizens with certain property tax exemptions and the ability to have fixed home values, even if the value later exceeds the designated threshold.
No.7 – Half-Cent Local Government Surtax
To provide for projects exclusively in St. Lucie County to improve local roads, reduce traffic congestion, improve public safety, improve local water quality and other similar uses authorized under Florida law and to seek matching funds for these purposes, shall St. Lucie County levy a half-cent sales tax for twenty years, subject to review by a citizens advisory committee to ensure that all dollars are spent on St. Lucie County projects?
1 Samuel 8:15 & 17 – “He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants… He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants.” (NKJV)
No.8 Slot Machines at Licensed Pari-mutuel Facilities Located in St. Lucie County
Shall slot machines be authorized within licensed pari-mutuel facilities in St. Lucie County subject to the restrictions of state law?
Exodus 20:9-10 – “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.” (NKJV)
Proverbs 12:24 – “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” (NKJV)
Proverbs 13:22 – “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” (NKJV)
Leviticus 19:10 – “‘And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger: I am the LORD your God.’” (NKJV)