Constitutional Revision event held in Tallahassee
Tuesday, November 3, 2015
While the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) will not be named until early 2017, efforts have already begun to set the stage for who, what and how this should take place.
Last Wednesday, the Leroy Collins Institute held a day-long session called “Anticipating the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission.” The purpose of the event was to kick off a project to educate and engage the public on the upcoming CRC.
The day-long event featured panelists who served as commissioners on the 1997-1998 CRC, and, in the case of a few, on the 1977-78 Commission as well. Sandy D’Alemberte, chair of the first 1977-1978 Commission, opened the meeting by telling the audience that he felt the Constitution should be reviewed with three distinct purposes: 1) updated to fit today’s processes; 2) removing text that had no purpose; and, 3) deleting unconstitutional portions, such as setting term limits for federal officers.
Panelists discussed what was learned from the last two CRCs, the types of persons who should be appointed to the Commission and why Florida is unique among states to have a process that allows for significant public input.
Of interest were the predictions of previous commission members who spoke to what issues they thought would be coming before this next CRC. With a variety of issues that had been raised in the last CRC two sessions, they mentioned topics such as Home Rule, redistricting, education funding, stable funding for the court system, and merit retention. Jon Mills, Esq., 1997-1998 Commissioner, felt that the issues raised the last time would be similar to what is raised again. He commented, “[But] there’s nothing that they shouldn’t consider.”
Over the course of the day, there may have been close to 100 attendees. The audience was made up of stakeholders from a variety of agencies and organizations, as well as a number of students from local universities. The Honorable Ken Burke, CPA (Pinellas), FCCC Forerunners Courageous Committee Chair, attended on behalf of the Clerks.
For help in educating citizens about the process, The Florida Bar has published a Citizen’s Guide to the 2017-2018 Constitution Revision Commission that can be linked on websites to help with citizen education.
The full session can be viewed here. Parts 2 and 3, click on the links at the top left corner of the video.