Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission
By: Christopher Emmanuel
As you have heard Marian Johnson mention, the 2018 election season is set to be one of the most interesting and expensive years on record. In addition to the full Cabinet and the many “citizen” initiatives, the next general election ballot Floridians see will include the recommendations of the Constitution Revision Commission (or “CRC”).
The CRC is an unusual creature of constitutional construction and is unique to Florida. Its 37 members will mostly be selected by this spring by the Governor (15), the Speaker of the House (9), the Senate President (9), and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (3).
The 2018 Commission will face several key structural differences than the previous two. In 2006, thanks to leadership from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Constitution was amended to require 60 percent of the popular vote for adoption rather than a simple majority. With the new threshold, two of the successful 1998 proposals would have failed. Politically, this will be the first time that the appointing elected officials will all be Republicans. (The 1978 Commission’s appointing officers were Democrats. The 1997-98 appointing officers were a mix of Democrats and Republicans.) Unusually, all the appointing officers are lawyers.
Unlike the legislative process, these decisions will not be made by elected officials that travel to Tallahassee. This Constitution Revision Commission will be comprised of appointees, working across the state, to make suggestions for the entire state. It requires attention and vigilance from citizens throughout Florida. We hope that you visit our website, www.flchamber.com/crc for more information and consider applying to this important Commission.