Charter county proposal goes to voters

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Sheriffs and other constitutional officers would have to be elected in charter counties under a measure headed to the November general-election ballot.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission on Monday voted 29-8 for the measure, which could affect some of the 20 Florida counties that have charter governments.

If approved by 60 percent of the voters, the constitutional amendment would mandate the election of all constitutional officers in charter counties, including sheriffs, tax collectors, supervisors of elections, property appraisers and clerks of the circuit court. It would also prohibit the transfer of those duties to other offices.

Under the current Constitution, a charter county can change the constitutional offices from elected to appointed positions and reassign the duties, with voter approval.

A handful of charter counties have changed their constitutional offices, including Miami-Dade County, which has eliminated elections for sheriff, tax collector and supervisor of elections.

Commissioner Carolyn Timmann, who is the Martin County clerk of the circuit court, successfully offered a change that would delay until January 2025 the impact of the charter-government provision in Miami-Dade and Broward County, which has an appointed tax collector.

The measure would impact all other counties by January 2021.

The proposed constitutional amendment (Proposal 6005) includes the charter-government change and other provisions. Efforts on Monday to separate the provisions were defeated in voice votes.

In addition to the charter-county provision, the ballot proposal would lead to the Legislature beginning its annual session in January in even-numbered years. It would create an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism in the Department of Law Enforcement. And it would revise the constitutional authority for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The proposal will appear as Amendment No. 10 on the general-election ballot in November.