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Florida voters approve phased-in minimum wage hike

By NATHAN MAYBERG - | Nov 11, 2020

nmayberg@breezenewspapers.com

Florida voters approved an increase in the minimum wage, one of four state constitutional amendments passed out of six on Tuesday.

The minimum wage will increase to $10 per hour on Sept. 30, 2021. The minimum wage would increase by $1 per hour each year after that until reaching $15 per hour on Sept. 30, 2026. Future minimum wage increases would revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting in 2027.

Florida voters barely approved the measure, with 60.81% of ballots (6.38 million votes) cast in favor of the measurer. A minimum of 60% is needed for a state constitutional amendment to be approved.

The current minimum wage in Florida is $8.56 an hour. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, which has not been changed since 2009.

With 79% of ballots in favor, voters approved an amendment which will change the wording of those eligible to vote to only U.S. citizens who are 18 and permanent residents of Florida from the previous wording which was “every U.S. citizen who is at least 18 and is a permanent resident” of Florida.

The other two amendments that passed will increase the time from two years to three years, for which accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. The final amendment approved will allow a homestead property tax discount to be transferred to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. This would be in effect until the spouse remarries, sells or disposes of the property.

Rejected

Falling short of approval was an amendment to open up primaries to all registered voters for elections involving the state legislature, governor, and cabinet regardless of party affiliation. All candidates for an office would appear on the same primary ballot with the two highest vote getters advancing to the general election. If only two candidates qualify, no primary is held.

A majority of Florida voters approved the change, with 57% casting ballots to approve the amendment, but that was short of the 60% required.

The other constitutional amendment that was defeated by voters was a proposal to require constitutional amendments to be approved in two statewide elections, rather than just one.

This measure did not even garner a majority of ballots, with 52% of the electorate voting against the change.