By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service
March 29, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Florida is the only state with a commission charged to review the constitution once every 20 years.
The 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission holds its first meeting on Wednesday night in Orlando. But the League of Women Voters and others stood on the steps of the State Capitol today with concerns.
The first Commission in 1978 was all Democrats. All five of its proposals failed. In 1998, the Commission was evenly divided. It passed 8 of 9 ideas.
League President Pamela Goodman says this year’s Commission is again partisan.
“This year’s CRC is overwhelmingly Republican, and the Speaker and Senate President publicly announced the issues they expect their appointees to support. These issues include legalizing school vouchers, term limits for judges, and returning power to politicians to draw districts for themselves,” Goodman says.
While voters have the final say, Progress Florida is worried that a lack of openness at the Commission could make the decision difficult for voters.
“A lot of these are very complex issues and when you talk about things like judicial term limits or school vouchers, there a lot of different ways these things could be framed and formulated and lot of decisions about whether these will be on the ballot. Are these the things that Floridians are most concerned about or not?” says Damien Filer of Progress Florida.
The Commission has yet to adapt its rules, and advocates want them to require all meetings to be open. They also want elected officials on the panel to be prohibited from taking contributions from people seeking favor from the Commission.