Florida Constitution Revision Committee
Every twenty years, Florida’s Constitution Revision Committee (CRC) is brought together to review Florida’s constitution. They propose changes, updates and additions to the voters. 2017 will only be the third time in history that the CRC has convened. Most voters in the state of Florida didn’t even know that this committee existed. In a survey conducted by the University Of Florida, which asked people if they new or read or have heard anything about the CRC only 13.6 percent said yes.
It is important as lawyers in Florida to help educate voters on this occurrence so they can stay informed on what is being proposed. Also it is important that the CRC members know that we are keeping a careful eye on what they are dong, so to preserve the impartial and equal status of the judicial branch. Issues that the CRC addresses include: education, elections, taxes, local and state government structures and keeping the three governing branches in check.
The revisions that are proposed by the CRC can be pretty large changes. They can also bypass the checks from the other branches of government. Instead, they go directly to voters in the 2018 general election. At least 60 percent of the vote is required for amendments to pass. It’s also important to note that many different updates can be put together in one revision.
According to the Florida Bar, there are some things about Florida’s constitution that will never change. For example, the co-equal status of the judicial branch of government to take care of Florida citizens. The CRC is made up of 37 people. 15 are appointed by Governor Rick Scott, nine by the the House Speaker Richard Corcoran, nine by Senate President Joe Negron, three by Cheif Justice Jorge Labarga and one member by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. It is crucial for those selected to represent the diversity of the Florida’s culture. They should come from all different backgrounds and be forward-thinking and informed about government. The CRC will start meeting in June of 2017 and also conduct public hearings. All amendments have to be filed with the Florida Secretary of State by June of 2018.
We encourage other lawyers and Florida constituents to participate in the public hearings, so you can let your thoughts be heard.
Source: Florida Bar Journal