Unrelated amendments shouldn't be bundled together

Sheri Kotzum | 315-4353 | @DestinLogSheri |

Am I the only one who looked at this year’s ballot and was extremely confused by the bundling of the constitutional amendments? You can vote to ensure death benefits to the families of first responders, but you have to also vote to change the voting polices for community college boards of trustees. These bundles make zero sense.

Let me break the most frustrating ones down.

Amendment 6 – Victims rights and extended terms for Judges

This amendment bundles an issue that tugs on your heartstrings (crime victims) while also throwing in a completely unrelated topic (judges). It would give victims “stronger” rights but only if you agree to also raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 and agree to new rules for judges on handling cases involving state agencies.

Amendment 7 – First responders and community colleges

The two topics of this amendment have about as much to do with each other as cookies and polar bears. This amendment would ensure death benefits for the families of first responders, but only if you vote to change the voting policies for the board of trustees of community colleges.

Amendment 9 – offshore oil drilling and vaping indoors

This amendment bundles offshore oil drilling with using e-cigarettes indoors. What these have to do with each other, I have no idea. The oil drill ban would only cover Florida state waters, which is a good first step, but the federal waters are the hot commodity to oil companies. Also, customers and employees would be prevented from vaping indoors.

Amendment 10 – State and local government

This doozy of an amendment combines four unrelated topics. It would change some offices that are currently appointed into elected offices, dictate the dates the legislature meets and create new state offices for terrorism and veterans. Those all sound fine and dandy on their own but I hate how they’re all bundled together.

Amendment 11 – Old laws

Removes some obsolete language from the state constitution, removes a law that bans “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning property, and some criminal law change that doesn’t make a lick of sense. The Supreme Court could possibly kill this amendment, along with amendments 7 and 9, no matter which way you vote as a result of the bundling.

In summary, I am not a fan of the outrageous bundling this year. I feel as though state legislators are trying to sneak in things they want to pass by attaching them to things they know people care about, like dead cops and crime victims. That doesn’t sit well with me and it shouldn’t with you either.

Sheri Kotzum is a reporter for The Destin Log. She can be reached at or 315-4353.