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Examples of Bad Ideas From Previous Commissions:
- Lawyers shall be removed from elective office in the legislative and executive branches.
- An environmental bill of rights.
- The creation of a right to unionize.
- The creation of a felony for emitting “health-threatening particles,” which could include car exhaust.
- The creation of a unicameral legislature.
What Is It?
In 1968, Florida became the only state that allows for its state constitution to be revisited and changed through a regularly scheduled commission called the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The CRC, which meets every 20 years, is a group of 37 commissioners who examine the relevance and applicability of Florida’s Constitution to current and future needs.
In February 2017, Florida will name its third CRC. The CRC itself is an unusual creature of constitutional construction and is not within one of the traditional three branches of government. A separate lobbyist registration is required. Traditionally, the Governor’s Office has provided full time staff, including an Executive Director. The CRC is led by a Chair, which is appointed by the Governor.
Here’s How This Works
Per the Florida Constitution, the Commission must adopt its own rules of procedure and examine the state constitution (except for matters related to taxation or the state budgetary process). After its creation, the CRC holds two sets of public hearings, typically throughout the state. The first set of hearings is to garner ideas from the public. The second set is to gain feedback on the proposals. After the proposals have been approved by the CRC, the proposals are placed directly on the 2018 General Election ballot.
The CRC is comprised of 37 members, which are appointed as follows:
- Governor Appointments: 15
- Senate President Appointments: 9
- Speaker Appointments: 9
- Chief Justice Appointments: 3
- Attorney General: + 1
Why the CRC Matters to You
The 1998 Commission passed eight out of nine proposals, three of which would have failed today due to the 60 percent vote threshold. The CRC holds incredible power over Florida’s Constitution. Their decisions on topics ranging from gambling to education to redistricting to the courts, could impact Florida’s families and businesses for the next 20 years.
How to Get Involved
In prior years, the applicants have numbered in the hundreds. Considering the breadth of possible issues, prior Governors have issued statements asking for diversity in expertise. If you would like to get involved, contact Hannah Kaplan today.