Constitutional officials gather at Capitol to voice support of amendment

Amendment 10 would ensure voters choose local sheriffs, tax collectors, and more

Photo does not have a caption

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Eight counties in the state have either taken power away from some constitutional officers or made some positions appointed instead of elected.

Amendment 10 would ensure that voters choose their local sheriffs, tax collectors, property appraisers, elections supervisors and clerks of court.

"We're put in a position by our Constitution that holds us accountable," said Sheriff Mark Hunter, president of the Florida Sheriff's Association.

A coalition of constitutional officers gathered at the state Capitol on Wednesday to voice their support.

"We can't put all the power in the hands of a few. You got to have that diversity so the taxpayers know who's responsible," said Larry Hart, Lee County tax collector.

The amendment also makes the existence of a state Department of Veterans Affairs a requirement and creates a state Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism.

The bundling of the proposals was the subject of a lawsuit to have the amendment removed from the ballot.

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of keeping Amendment 10 and two other amendments on the ballot.

The court also took Amendment 8 off the ballot.

It would have removed local control of charter schools.

Martin County Clerk of the Court Carolyn Timmann sponsored Amendment 10 in the Constitution Revision Commission.

"Amendment 10 is the only one that passed through the trial court and ... unanimously through the Florida Supreme Court," Timmann said. "I think that's tremendously significant."

Other challenges to amendments passed by the CRC are still working their way through the courts, including one filed by a former Supreme Court chief justice.

The suit filed by retired Florida Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead challenges six amendments for bundling.

A recent ruling by a lower court agreed, ordering amendments 7, 9 and 11 off the ballot.

The Supreme Court will have the final say on the suit.