TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Amendment 11 on the November ballot is aimed at taking certain "obsolete" and "discriminatory" language out of the Florida Constitution.
The bundled proposal focuses on changes to three sections of the constitution.
- Titled Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
- Deletes language from the constitution that prevents non-citizens from having property rights
- Deletes language from the constitution that approves high-speed rail
- Allows the state legislature to make new criminal laws retroactive
The first part of Amendment 11 focuses on property rights of non-citizens.
According to the ballot language, the amendment "removes discriminatory language related to real property rights."
It centers around Article I, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution. The controversial section of the constitution prevents "aliens ineligible for citizenship" from owning, buying and selling land.
"They're not referring to 'out of space' people," said political expert Darryl Paulson. "In all likelihood, they're referring to any group that was considered to be unpopular at some point in Florida history."
It was added into the Florida constitution back in the 1920s as an attempt to restrict the property-rights of Asians as part of the "Alien Land Laws."
This is the second attempt to repeal that section of the constitution.
Removal of Obsolete Provision
The second part of Amendment 11 relates to high speed rail. According to the ballot language, the amendment would "remove obsolete language repealed by voters."
It centers around Article X, Section 19 of the Florida Constitution. The section was added during the effort to bring high-speed rail to the Sunshine State. The high-speed ground transportation system was later rejected by voters in 2004, but never taken out of the constitution.
"Why have the provision in the constitution if it doesn't exist any longer," said Paulson.
The third part of Amendment 11 centers around the criminal justice system. It centers around Article X, Section 9 of the Florida Constitution.
Currently, state law prohibits the state from retroactively applying a new criminal statute to sentencing for a crime committed before the change. It’s known as the state’s Savings Clause. Amendment 11 would remove that clause.
According to the ballot language, it "deletes provision that amendment of a criminal statute will not affect prosecution or penalties for a crime committed before the amendment."
In other words, the amendment would allow lawmakers to make new criminal laws retroactive.
Amendment 11 was put on the November ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission.
Supporters believe the constitution needs to be updated with the changes that reflect today. Some critics have opposed the bundling of the amendment, tying together three sections of the Constitution that have nothing to do with each other.