ORLANDO, Fla. -- Three constitutional amendments on the November ballot are under fire, not necessarily because of the issues, but how they are presented to voters.
- Florida Constitution Revision Commission bundled amendments
- Amendments 7, 9, 11 before Florida Supreme Court
- The court will decide if voters will get those amendments in November
- RELATED: Florida amendments on November ballot
Amendments 7, 9 and 11 were among eight approved by the Florida Constitution Revision Commission for the November ballot, but were thrown off the ballot earlier this month in a lower court, and will now be considered by the Florida Supreme Court.
The ballots were built through bundling -- and the Florida Supreme Court will decide whether they are valid.
Who is the Florida Constitution Revision Commission?
There are a few ways to get an amendment to the Florida Constitution before the voters: you can collect enough signatures for a citizens initiative, you can get the Florida Legislature to approve an amendment, or every 20 years, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission can meet and approve amendments.
The Florida CRC met several times over the past year to approve amendments for the November ballot.
Ultimately the group approved eight amendments. One has already been thrown off the ballot by the Florida Supreme Court, related to several education issues, including who has oversight of charter schools.
Two more were upheld by the Supreme Court, including one banning greyhound racing.
What is bundling?
Three of their proposals are in a court battle over bundling -- when an amendment features several different issues.
"The lawsuits filed against them have alleged they shouldn't be on the ballot because of bundling, that they have put together proposals that have very little to do with one another," explained UCF Political Science Professor Aubrey Jewett.
Joe Little represents the plaintiffs, who say this is not the right way to amend the Florida Constitution.
"We are talking about bundling up independent and unrelated measures that have no reason to be bundled," Little said.
"If you like one and not the other you're kind of in a tough spot," Jewett said.
We reached out to Attorney General Pam Bondi's office to ask why they're arguing it's OK to bundle. A spokesperson said they can't comment on ongoing litigation.
When asked for the reason behind bundling, Jewett elaborated.
"The good government reason is to make sure that the ballot doesn't get too long and you don't overload the voter," Jewett said. "The bad government reason would be you bundle things together with the hopes that something more popular will carry across the finish line something less popular."
What are the amendments?
The amendments in question are 7, 9, and 11.
Amendment 7 relates to the rules to raise college fees, and death benefits for surviving family members of first responders who die on duty.
Amendment 9 prohibits offshore drilling for oil and gas, and vaping at indoor work places.
Amendment 11 eliminates some outdated language from the Florida Constitution about high speed rail, but it also impacts criminal justice reform.
"If Amendment 11 passes, it would allow the legislature to reduce the sentences of people currently serving time for certain offenses," Jewett explained.
Little argued this type of bundling violates a person's right to vote.
"Having matters proposed in this bundling way that require the voter to pay a price for voting one way or the other," Little said, "When if these were separated -- vote yes for one and no for the other -- I think that should be offensive to the ordinary voter."
Jewett's advice to Central Florida voters is to inform themselves ahead of time. There will be several amendments on the ballot, and it's a lot to learn.
It may also be too late to physically remove the amendments from the November general election ballot, regardless of the court's ruling in the next couple of weeks. Most counties are printing and mailing them out now. If the court removes the amendments, there will be signs up at voting precincts to let voters know there are issues on the ballot that no longer count.