Constitution Revision Commission coming under scrutiny as proposals become bundled

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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
April 16, 2018

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- There was tension at the Constitution Revision Commission meeting Monday as the commission combined 24 separate ideas into a dozen items voters will likely see in November.

Firefighters benefits have been combined with a proposal to make it harder to raise college fees. A ban on offshore oil drilling has been combined with a ban on indoor vaping.

24 distinct proposals have now been bundled together in hopes of making some of the ideas more likely to be approved by voters.

The multiple subjects covered by six of the amendments has many groups outraged.

"Much like we've seen in the legislature over the past two years, this idea of log rolling is a common legislative trick to get what you want," said Rich Templin with the Florida AFL-CIO.

Commissioners considered a motion to unbundle all of the proposals, but it failed.

Other groups are upset that many of the proposals, like banning greyhound racing, should be left for the legislature to decide, not be included in the constitution.

"Just because the legislature decides not to do something doesn't mean you put it into the constitution," said Jack Corey with the Florida Greyhound Association.

Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding, who served from 1991 to 2002, says the proposals threaten to clutter the constitution.

"To remove something from the constitution requires a great deal more than it would be for the legislature to take something out that they had put in."

There are already five amendments put on the November ballot by lawmakers' or citizens' initiative.

The commission has given final approval to seven amendments so far.

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