The Truth About the Olympics?

The Truth About the Olympics?

The Truth About the Olympics?Yesterday, my brother sent me a link to this video (posted below). It features some analysis and commentary on the Olympics that you might actually find startling.

What do you think? Are the Olympics in fact:

  • shameless exploitation of athletes?
  • a justification for child labor and even abuse?
  • an enormous boondoggle of corruption that lines the pockets of the well-connected and powerful?
  • an irrational exercise in tribalism?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Admittedly, I’m just becoming aware of Stefan Molyneux, the creator of this video content. So it would be too much to treat my posting of this video as an endorsement. But he’s incredibly thought-provoking, and perhaps impossible to ignore.

Is It Legal to Carry Firearms at Florida Theaters?

Frequently, after publishing content online, I find myself learning something. Often this is from looking at what type of traffic our websites get.

This week is certainly no exception. After publishing some thoughts about the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting and contrasting it with a recent Florida shooting incident, I’ve learned that a lot of people have a similar question:

Is it legal to carry a firearm into a theater in the State of Florida?

This is of particular interest to me since AMC Theatres has a nationwide policy banning firearms from their locations. The ban therefore applies to the location we sometimes patronize in a nearby mall, and to at least one other Florida location in Clearwater (see a copy of the AMC “No Weapons Allowed” sign here).

First: Florida Law

Florida law does not specifically prohibit the legal (concealed) carry of firearms in theaters. Of course, legal concealed carry in Florida requires a Concealed Weapons Permit. (If you are already a permit holder, then you are well aware that a number of conditions apply to make your concealed carry of a firearm legal.)

Without a permit, in Florida you are not permitted to carry a concealed firearm on your person anywhere other than in your home or place of business.

There are many ins and outs to Florida law related to firearms and other weapons. I am not an attorney or expert in the law, nor would I pretend to be one. If you own (or plan to own) firearms in Florida, then I strongly recommend that you get a copy of the book widely considered to be the “Bible” of Florida firearms law by attorney Jon Gutmacher. Don’t just get a copy… devour it and keep it close by for reference.

Second: “No Guns Allowed” Signs

AMC Theatres: No Weapons Allowed, Courtesy of gruntzooki

Some businesses choose to place signage prohibiting firearms in their establishments. AMC Theatres is an example. Regal Cinemas may be another example if various internet chatter is to be believed.

Again, I am not an attorney or expert, but from my research a business that has invited you (by opening its doors to the public) onto its premises cannot prevent you from bringing a legal concealed weapon onto its premises.

That said, if they discover your firearm (which one has to really wonder how they would do if in fact it is properly concealed), they can ask you to leave. If any business asks you to leave and you refuse, you are likely to be guilty of trespass (regardless of whether you have a firearm).

If you are found guilty of trespass and you are carrying a firearm, then you are quite likely to be guilty of armed trespass, which is a third degree felony.

This is probably not something you want to risk. It is also quite possibly open to interpretation, which could go badly for you if you find yourself in this situation. Find more on this topic here.

The good news is that you are unlikely to be guilty of trespass (at least in a business which is open to the public—assuming you are there during its hours of operation) unless you refuse to leave after first being warned to leave.

2 Shooting Incidents, One Day Apart

**UPDATE: The events described here happened almost one week apart, not one day apart as originally thought. The stark contrast between them is not weakened by the number of days separating them, however. See why below…

Last night’s deadly incident in Aurora, Colorado at the late-night showing of The Dark Knight Rises was a tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims as well as to those survivors who are wounded physically and traumatized.

Word of the incident spread rapidly—as with any situation involving guns and fatalities. By the time I awakened this morning, Facebook and other social media outlets were awash with news of the shooting. Many people expressed sympathies (quite appropriately) and remorse over the absolutely unnecessary loss of life.

No Weapons Allowed, Courtesy of Steve Snodgrass

One of my first reactions was to recall the signage I’ve seen at our local AMC Theatres location in Sarasota, Florida. The theater has exercised their rights under Florida law to prohibit weapons—including lawfully-carried firearms—on their premises.

This means that law-abiding citizens who wish to respect the wishes of the business will leave their weapons at home (or securely encased in their locked vehicle in the parking lot) or will choose to take their business elsewhere. Either way, this greatly reduces the chances that someone who possesses a legal firearm and is capable of using it will be there to take down a gunman on a shooting spree like the one that took place in Colorado.

Criminals will, of course, ignore the sign.

The Other Shooting Incident

Consider what took place in Marion County, Florida, just one day six days (turns out the date on the YouTube video didn’t match the date of the event) prior to the Colorado incident. In this case, there were two armed gunmen—this time with robbery as their intent. They entered an internet cafe pointing guns at the customers and making demands for valuables.

This situation did not make national news. It didn’t spread like wildfire through social media. In fact, were it not for the Colorado tragedy, I might not have ever known about it.

Why?

Because it ended quite differently. See for yourself:

Regardless of one’s opinions or politics, the law is clear. Florida has a “shall-issue” policy concerning Concealed Carry (CCW) permits, which are available to citizens who pass a background check (no felonies, etc.) and demonstrate basic proficiency with a firearm. This permit authorizes citizens to lawfully carry concealed firearms for their own protection throughout the State with certain notable exceptions (schools, certain government buildings, bars, etc.).

71-year-old Samuel Williams, though admittedly quite scared by the masked gunmen, legally drew his weapon and fired at both of the would-be robbers, who turned up later at hospitals being treated for their gunshot wounds after fleeing the scene empty-handed.

Whether or not the gunmen intended to shoot anyone, the crime was stopped and the man quite justifiably shot them to protect his wife, himself and the other customers at the cafe. More on this story here.

Liability for Deaths & Injuries

All of this begs the question…

Do businesses (like AMC Theatres) have any liability or responsibility for deaths and injuries that occur on their premises because they have prohibited citizens from legally carrying concealed weapons to protect themselves?

I’m not sure whether Samuel Williams would notice or comply with the “No Weapons Allowed” sign at AMC Theatres, but perhaps businesses—especially those that draw large crowds—will reconsider their policies in the aftermath of the Colorado tragedy. I, for one, would want proficient, legally armed citizens nearby if a moron like James Holmes showed up on the scene intending to do harm.

For the record, I’m not familiar with the policies of the Century 16 Theater, owned by Cinemark Theaters. Speculations abound. If the theater prohibits legal firearms like AMC Theatres does in their locations nationwide, then the Samuel Williams of the world won’t be there to return fire.

With 12 dead and as many as 59 injured, this incident is being reported as the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. Ultimately the responsibility for this tragedy lies with the shooter. However, I have to wonder what businesses are thinking when they attempt to prohibit legal firearms. And I’m sure that the families of the victims as well as the 59 injured will be considering this in the days ahead.

SOPA and Your Right to Free Speech

Note: This post was originally published on the Nourish The Dream blog.

SOPA: Are You Prepared To Be Silenced?

Here at Nourish The Dream, we are incredibly passionate about the success of small businesses and entrepreneurs. We work tirelessly to produce events and resources that will help “nourish the dream” of business ownership and success in the lives of people. And that’s why we feel it’s important to bring SOPA (and its evil twin: PIPA) to your attention.

Depending upon when you read this, the links above may not be working. That’s because Wikipedia is “going dark” for the very first time (at least for its English version) in its history in order to protest this outrageous piece of legislation.

Why Sound the Alarm?

On the surface, the idea behind these bills is honorable and even noble: to stop the illegal downloading & sharing of content protected by copyright. The biggest beneficiaries of this action are relatively obvious: record labels, movie studios and others who create content which is ordinarily sold but which is being pirated (something which, I would like to note, is already illegal).

The egregious nature of the legislation comes not from its ostensible purpose but from its far-reaching, dangerous implications. Specifically, as the legislation is currently drafted, it gives incredible powers of internet censorship to the US courts. Further, it places ridiculous demands upon search engines to no longer provide links to sites which are accused of violating copyrights.

Picture a world where Google is required to police its search results at any given moment for links to websites which have not been proven to be guilty of violating copyrights. Picture a world where your small business website can be shut down at will by anyone willing to throw out a complaint.

In short: the legislation as drafted violates the free speech rights of US citizens via censorship without due process of law.

What About Piracy?

First let me say that we make our living creating content and enjoying the wonderful protection of copyright law. Without copyrights, it would be very difficult for our parent organization to recognize revenue from the training products it creates. Similarly, here at Nourish The Dream, we value very highly the ability for us to create and distribute CDs, MP3s and (soon) DVDs of materials to empower, train & equip the business owners and entrepreneurs we exist to serve… and to, in turn, achieve revenue from those sales to fuel our mission and to give us the ability to create new & better products as we go.

It is therefore of no small significance to us that there be appropriate tools in the hands of legislators and law enforcement agencies to go after piracy and shut it down where possible. We fully understand that no retailer would leave their shop doors unlocked at night with no one watching. There are evil people in the world, and the “honor system” doesn’t always pan out well in the end. Hence the need for proper protections for those who create items of value.

All of that said, SOPA & PIPA do not place appropriate powers in the hands of the right parties to solve the issues they purport to address. Rather, they place undue power in the hands of a few while effectively crippling the business model of many valuable companies who contribute to an open, free (as in speech) internet.

Looking for something to do about it? Visit AmericanCensorship.org or sign this petition on WhiteHouse.gov.

EMR Software: Meaningful Use Incentives for Physicians

When I first launched Epiphany Marketing back in 1998, it was a side venture and a vehicle for handling smaller projects that didn’t require a full-time effort. In 2001, however, I decided it was time to make it a full-time effort and start taking on bigger projects.

One of our major clients in those early days was a software dealer that focused on providing electronic medical records software (and the related hardware like computers, scanners, tablet PCs and so on) to physicians’ practices. The company wanted to expand into Florida and we worked with them to develop and implement what turned out to be a highly successful marketing strategy.

Along the way, I became very acquainted with the ins & outs of the modern-day medical practice. Many physicians were already accustomed to using “practice management software” that handled important tasks like scheduling patient appointments and billing insurance companies, medicare & the patients themselves for services rendered.

Electronic Medical Records Software

However, at that time, it was still a relatively novel idea for a smaller, privately-owned medical practice to be using a system for handling electronic patient records (or electronic health records — EHR — as they have come to be known). Even more novel was the idea that an electronic medical records system (EMR) would be integrated with a “practice management” system so that all the patient data was in one place. At that time, if practices were using an EMR system, it was typically completely separate from the scheduling & billing functions that were traditionally part of a practice management system.

We worked with this software company for an extended client engagement which lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of about 13-14 months. I met a great many medical practice administrators and doctors in various medical specialties from all over the State of Florida during that time period. Some of the doctors that we worked with went on to become friends and even clients of ours in the years that followed.

Since that time, I have remained interested in medical software. In fact, a friend of mine and I started a consulting firm focused on working with physicians to evaluate their own needs and the EMR systems that were being marketed and sold in order to help them make wise decisions and end up achieving long-term ROI (return on investment) from their technology decisions.

But, as time went by, I spent less and less time focused on that world and more time focused on newer clients and growing our primary business. So… I spent some time away from the space.

In the last few months, however, I’ve had good reason to pay a lot more attention. And it’s interesting to me today to see that the EMR systems available now have very little to offer that’s in any way new and improved over the leading systems from 7-9 years ago. In fact, some of the more “cutting edge” systems from years ago were actually further along than where the major players are today. Sadly, many software companies have come and gone — something that seems to be a bit of an epidemic (if you’ll pardon the pun) in the world of medical software.

In fact, the churn in this unique space has created a great deal of reluctance on the part of the typical private medical practice. The doctors who own and/or manage these practices have seen and heard a lot of sales pitches over the years. In some cases, they have invested tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in systems… only to have the software company go out of business or otherwise become unable to provide the much-needed ongoing support that is so critical to a medical practice.

So it’s not surprising when the average physician is reluctant to think about making technology-related changes. To them, it’s about as much fun as a root canal… or exploratory brain surgery (unless, of course, you’re a neurosurgeon… in which case the brain surgery would be fun… as long as it’s being performed on someone else).

Meaningful Use Incentives

Today, however, the government has stepped into the game. Uncle Sam now has a vested interest in making sure that all physicians are tracking patient information (including diagnoses, lab results, prescriptions, etc.) electronically. After all, paper charts have always been incredibly inefficient. And this is all the more true when you have a major role in paying for services being rendered, medications being prescribed, and diagnostics and treatments of all kinds. Aggregating data, keeping track of which physicians are doing what, and which patients are being treated for what illness… these are all reasons to try to force medical practices to use electronic medical records software.

Setting aside the very interesting political and societal ramifications of all this for a moment… what it comes down to today is that government has set up incentives (for now) to reward doctors who can demonstrate “meaningful use” of a qualifying electronic medical records system.

As you might guess, “meaningful use” and “qualifying EMR systems” all have very lengthy (and somewhat bizarre) definitions. But the bottom line is that the first doctors recently got the very first sizable checks from the government to pay out the incentives for using these systems.

On the back side of the incentives is a deadly set of penalties for not adopting a qualifying system within specified time periods. Practices who demonstrate meaningful use early get rewarded. The ones that wait will not only not be rewarded… they’ll actually begin to see cuts in payments for services rendered to Medicare and/or Medicaid patients after a couple of years go by.

What all of this means for the average medical office is this: it’s time to take this seriously. Any medical practices that are using older, outdated systems that don’t meet new government requirements will have to find a new system if their software vendor doesn’t make the necessary enhancements in time. Medical practices that haven’t begun meaningfully using an electronic medical records system at all (you know… the ones still chasing 2-inch thick — or thicker — patient charts around the office) will be forced to purchase and implement a system.

As a patient, you’ve probably begun to see certain physicians taking advantage of technology. Some doctors have welcomed technology quite openly… and you’ll see them carting laptops around the office and typing up visit notes while you wait. Others have dragged their feet and will only begin using technology against their wishes. Some will undoubtedly retire early rather than face that kind of change. Others will be driven out of business by the expense… especially when added to the already high costs of medical malpractice insurance combined with the pressures of reduced reimbursements from insurers and government payers like Medicare and Medicaid (not to mention the high costs of providing health insurance benefits to their own employees).

Regardless, your privacy as a patient is going to be affected. It’s already been greatly reduced in recent years. Pretty soon it’s not going to exist at all thanks to Uncle Sam’s meddling in this game.

On the other hand, the arguments in favor of using EMR systems are substantial. Medical practices that have truly embraced the process and have implemented systems have been able to greatly reduce their operating costs, increase efficiency, increase the speed with which they can access and utilize needed information (very important for you when facing an urgent medical issue of any kind), and even recover from disasters (after all… do you think they had backups of their paper charts?).

The bottom line? We’ll be keeping a close eye on all the issues related to electronic medical records, patient privacy and the economics of practicing medicine in the 21st Century. It’s all about to change…

Sarasota-Bradenton Town Hall Meeting

Advance notice is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I just got word (via the official e-mail list from his office) that Congressman Vern Buchanan has a Town Hall Meeting planned in Manatee County for tomorrow afternoon. As promised, I’m delivering the details to you here:

When: Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 4PM

Where: Braden River High School, 6545 SR 70 East, Bradenton, FL 34203

Braden River High is very close to the I-75 / SR 70 interchange. Take I-75 to Exit 217 (SR 70), then head West to Caruso Road. The school is on the right (North) side of SR 70, but if I’m not mistaken you need to turn North on Caruso to get to the entrance.

Here’s your map:

View Larger Map

For the record, here’s the text of the official invite:

I would like to invite you to a Town Hall meeting on health care, jobs, and the economy tomorrow, Thursday, in Southeast Manatee County.  As Congress considers health care reform legislation, it also should work to grow the economy and create more jobs.  I want to know what you think Congress should be doing.

And also for the record, the language of this invite makes me nervous. Sound off in the comments below!

Civic Fundraising and the Blue Light Special

Tough economic times wreak havoc with the law of unintended consequences.

Time to Pay Your Road Usage Tax!

After noticing what seemed like a significant increase in the number of traffic stops lately in and around the Sarasota area, I decided to do a little research. After all, maybe it’s just me. And even though I haven’t been pulled over myself, it seems like more and more often I’m hearing in random conversations about people getting pulled over.

It turns out that in the midst of a statewide budget crunch, lawmakers in the State of Florida are expecting an extra $32.5 Million in 2009 thanks to increased traffic fines.

Great.

So… tourism is down. The housing market is in the toilet. Business is suffering. Here’s a thought: let’s extract it from the taxpayers without calling it a tax.

So… State and local governments do what they’re incentivized to do: adjust their levels of roadside fundraising.

Is there a conspiracy to do this? Probably not. But who needs a conspiracy? There’s a wide-open fundraising channel that appears to be underutilized. Every municipality and county that is getting squeezed will naturally gravitate towards it.

So this brings up a fundamental question:

Is speeding a public safety issue or isn’t it?

After all, if all of us decided tomorrow that it really represented such a fantastic risk to our well-being and we decided to stop speeding, public safety officials would be thrilled, right?

Wrong. Your driving behavior helps make up for budget shortfalls.

As with all other “sin” taxes, what we forget is that we, the people, have put ourselves in the speeding business. We are now, as a society, financially dependent–at least partially–on something that is supposed to be a danger to us all.

But of course we don’t really believe it’s dangerous. Sure… the testosterone-crazed teenage male with a freshly-minted driver’s license flying through a school zone at 100 mph is dangerous. And naturally, they take his license and lock him up.

But the soccer Mom who’s not paying attention to her speedometer as she races from one place to another… is she really a public safety hazard? Probably not.

But she’s a great target for a fundraising effort… one that makes her feel stupid and ashamed. One that carries a gun. One that distracts law enforcement officers from fighting crime and turns them into monkey grinders.

And, as unintended consequences do, this one multiplies. Now we have multiple law enforcement officers gathering in one place to pull over the drivers who don’t move over while their colleagues are performing their sideshow.

And of course, this fundraising activity is dangerous… not because the State has decided that speeding drivers are a scourge that must be stopped, but because the State has chosen to keep its law enforcement officers in harm’s way to extract additional money from the drivers.

You might call me a cynic.

But I remember owning a 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Classic. It was already an “antique” (as automobiles go) when I bought it, mind you. But that car had something unique that the 1973 model did not have: a catalytic converter. Why? Because someone, somewhere decided that automobiles were creating too much pollution. So the Federal government mandated these devices to reduce pollution. Simple solution to a problem that was harmful to society. Require the automakers to put a device on the cars to reduce the problem.

When was the governor invented?

I rest my case.

So… if the State of Florida (and the local counties and municipalities) want to tax drivers whose speeds creep up, fine. But let’s call it what it is: a road tax. Let’s kill this whole “public safety” charade. What a joke.

It’ll probably make the officers who really are concerned about your safety on the roads feel a lot better about their jobs. After all, the people they report to are certainly incentivized to keep you driving “dangerously.”

It’s A New Day

Photo Credit: Jayme Leita - BigStockPhoto

Setting political viewpoints and economics aside, today I am rejoicing.

Why?

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve thought long and hard about the issues faced by African-Americans in our culture. As a Caucasian male, I won’t pretend to have any real comprehension of what this is truly like. I spent most of my early childhood years in a suburb of Houston where racism was completely unknown — at least to me.

However, I’ll never forget the year I spent in Montgomery, Alabama. Many of my friends were African-Americans, and while I was completely bewildered by the culture shock I experienced, I did my best to try to develop an understanding for why — even as recently as the 1980s — racial tensions were unbelievably high.

That year changed my perspective forever. The bigotry that existed left an indelible impression on me. And it seemed clear to me that a lot of healing needed to occur — for all races involved — in order for there to be real progress.

And that’s why, today, as I sit and watch the pre-inaugural proceedings, something in me wells up with joy. I feel it in the air… I am thrilled for what the election and now the inauguration of Barack Obama  means to my African-American brethren.

A couple of weeks ago, my wife mentioned how much she enjoyed the song “It’s a New Day” by will.i.am. You must admit — it’s got a great hook. I downloaded the song from iTunes and we’ve enjoyed it ever since. The song seems to capture the feeling of victory that we should feel in this nation as an African-American reaches the highest office in the land.

Writing a post like this one may stir up feelings that I don’t intend in any who read it. Perhaps, if you’re an African-American, all I’ve done is reveal my real ignorance. If you’re not, you may feel as though I’m making too much of this event.

I don’t think we can make too much of it, but I’m also not ignorant enough to believe that there isn’t more healing needed. But I’m hoping that this goes a long way.

I Voted in the 2008 Presidential Election

And for all of you eligible to do so, I hope you have, too!  If so, you get your nifty new “I Voted” Sticker. The design is brand new for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.

Since my real sticker is on my shirt today, I thought a “virtual” one was in order for the blog.

Thank you to all of our new visitors who have been here recently for information on the 2008 Florida Amendments. We hope to have you back again real soon!

Florida Amendments 2008 – Voter’s Guide

In the general election on November 4th (or earlier if you’re voting early), there are 6 proposed amendments (numbers 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8 ) to the Florida Constitution. Here are some quick facts for you:

Each amendment proposed affects some language in the Constitution of the State of Florida. You will be voting “yes” to approve the proposed amendment or “no” to disapprove.

Proposed Amendment 1

This amendment would change existing language in the Constitution from Article I, Section 2.

On your ballot:

Declaration of Rights

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to delete provisions authorizing the Legislature to regulate or prohibit the ownership, inheritance, disposition, and possession of real property by aliens ineligible for citizenship.

What it means

  • Vote “yes” if you want the Legislature to no longer be authorized to affect the ability of aliens (foreigners) who cannot obtain citizenship in the US to own or deal in real estate.
  • Vote “no” if you want the Florida Legislature to continue to have the authority to regulate this activity.

Proposed Amendment 2 – Florida Marriage Protection Amendment

This amendment would add a new section to the Constitution.

On your ballot:

This amendment protects marriage as the legal union of only one man and one woman as husband and wife and provides that no other legal union that is treated as marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid or recognized.

The direct financial impact this amendment will have on state and local government revenues and expenditures cannot be determined, but is expected to be minor.

What it means

  • Vote “yes” if you want the traditional definition of marriage as “one man and one woman” to be the working definition of the term in the State of Florida
  • Vote “no” if you do not want to keep the traditional definition of word “marriage”

For more information, read our position on Florida Amendment 2

Proposed Amendment 3

This amendment would change existing language in the Constitution in Article VII, Sections 3 and 4 and would add a new section in Article XI.

On your ballot:

Changes and Improvements Not Affecting the Assessed Value of Residential Real Property

Authorizes the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of changes or improvements to residential real property which increase resistance to wind damage and installation of renewable energy source devices as factors in assessing the propertyâ€s value for ad valorem taxation purposes. Effective upon adoption, repeals the existing renewable energy source device exemption no longer in effect.

What it means

  • Vote “yes” if you want to allow the Florida Legislature to have the authority to prevent upgrades to homes in Florida that are installed specifically for the purpose of A) protecting it from wind damage (hurricanes and tornadoes) or B) adding alternative energy (such as solar) from changing the value of the home for the purpose of property tax assessments. In short: if you spend money to protect your house, you won’t be penalized with property taxes (assuming the Legislature actually uses this new-found authority and passes a law to prohibit you from being taxed on this kind of thing).
  • Vote “no” if you do not want the Legislature to have the power to prevent you from being taxed on these upgrades.

Proposed Amendment 4

This amendment would change existing language in the Constitution in Article VII, Sections 3 & 4  and in Article XII, Section 28

On your ballot:

Property Tax Exemption of Perpetually Conserved Land; Classification and Assessment of Land Used for Conservation

Requires Legislature to provide a property tax exemption for real property encumbered by perpetual conservation easements or other perpetual conservation protections, defined by general law. Requires Legislature to provide for classification and assessment of land used for conservation purposes, and not perpetually encumbered, solely on the basis of character or use. Subjects assessment benefit to conditions, limitations, and reasonable definitions established by general law. Applies to property taxes beginning in 2010.

What it means

  • Vote “yes” if you want land owned by taxpayers in Florida which cannot be developed because of conservation easements (e.g. the land has been declared a natural wildlife habitat) or because the owners have chosen to use the land for the purposes of conservation (e.g. there isn’t a conservation easement, but the property is being used like there is one) from being taxed like other land.
  • Vote “no” if you do not want to provide this tax exemption.

Proposed Amendment 6

This amendment would change existing language in the Constitution in Article VII, Section 4 and would add a new section in Article XII.

On your ballot:

Assessment of Working Waterfront Property Based Upon Current Use

Provides for assessment based upon use of land used predominantly for commercial fishing purposes; land used for vessel launches into waters that are navigable and accessible to the public; marinas and drystacks that are open to the public; and water-dependent marine manufacturing facilities, commercial fishing facilities, and marine vessel construction and repair facilities and their support activities, subject to conditions, limitations, and reasonable definitions specified by general law.

What it means

  • Vote “yes” if you want waterfront land used for the purposes listed above to have its property tax assessments reflect its usage. In other words, it’s one thing to operate a marina or a boat launch on your waterfront property. It’s another thing to build luxury condos there. This amendment would allow for the property taxes assessed to account for this type of distinction.
  • Vote “no” if you do not want to provide this distinction for assessed property taxes.

Proposed Amendment 8

This amendment would change existing language in the Constitution in Article VII, Section 9.

On your ballot:

Local Option Community College Funding

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to require that the Legislature authorize counties to levy a local option sales tax to supplement community college funding; requiring voter approval to levy the tax; providing that approved taxes will sunset after 5 years and may be reauthorized by the voters.

What it means

  • Vote “yes” if you the Legislature to allow counties to use a sales tax hike to raise money for community colleges. The counties would have to allow citizens to vote and approve the sales tax increase, which would automatically expire in 5 years unless a new vote authorizes it to be renewed (in 5-year increments).
  • Vote “no” if you do not want the Legislature to allow counties to levy sales tax increases for this purpose.

Was This Useful?

I hope it was helpful for you to have a preview of what’s on your ballot and some simple explanations of what these amendments are all about. If so, please leave a comment!