The Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) of Florida meets once every 20 years to examine the Florida Constitution and propose changes. During 2017-2018, they held more than 15 public hearings across the state to identify issues that matter most to Floridians, ultimately resulting on the CRC’s recommended changes to the Florida Constitution. On May 9, 2018 the revisions were submitted and on May 11th, twelve proposed constitutional amendments were placed on the General Election ballot for voter consideration. To learn more about the other 11 proposed amendments, find it here: CRC 2017-2018 Ballot Guide or Amendments on the 2018 Florida ballot.
According to CRC, the constitutional revision known as Amendment 9, Prohibits Offshore Oil/Gas Drilling and Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces. The ballot summary is as follows “Prohibits drilling for the exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas beneath all state-owned waters between the mean high water line and the state’s outermost territorial boundaries. Also adding the use of vapor-generating electronic devices to current prohibition of tobacco smoking in enclosed indoor workplaces with exceptions; permits more restrictive local vapor ordinances.”
Florida law currently prohibits the state from granting leases to drill for oil or natural gas in state coastal waters. Amendment 9 would prevent drilling in state waters that extend a little more than 3 miles off the Atlantic Gulf Coast and 10 miles off the Atlantic Coast. However, it will not block transport of oil and gas from federal territorial waters through state waters to Florida’s ports. Florida law also currently prohibits smoking in all enclosed indoor workplace, the new amendment would extend that to e-cigarettes that generate vapor. The amendment does not restrict use of vaping devices inside private residences, nor standalone bars or hotel rooms where smoking is allowed.
So, why you may ask, are there two completely unrelated topics bundled within the same amendment. Framers of the Amendment have said that these proposals intersect with health and the environment, and connect clean air and clean water. There are numerous arguments found that support and oppose this amendment. When it comes to e-cigarettes, although research is fairly new on these devices, what we do know is that they do contain nicotine and other harmful chemicals. E-cigarettes also produce an aerosol by heating the liquid contained in the device which is inhaled in the lungs, then exhaled into the air for everyone around to breathe in. We may not mind the smell of e-cigarettes as much as combustible traditional cigarettes but it is not proven to be any safer to inhale as secondhand smoke. You can find more information about e-cigarettes at CDC: About Electronic Cigarettes.
All CRC amendments will appear on the General Election ballot on November 6, 2018. At least 60 percent of the vote is required to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida. So, it is up to voters to decide whether or not to prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling, in addition to vaping in indoor workplaces.
Constitutional Revision Commission (2018) Ballot Guide, Retrieved from: http://flcrc.gov/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018) Smoking and Tobacco Use, About Electronic Cigarettes, Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/about-e-cigarettes.html
About the Author: Brooke Frye
|Brooke Frye is currently employed at SRAHEC and pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Education. She will graduate from the University of Florida in December 2018.|