Brecht Heuchan: Grouped CRC amendments benefit voters, offer transformational ideas - Florida Politics

Brecht Heuchan: Grouped CRC amendments benefit voters, offer transformational ideas

Brecht Heuchan

The 2018 Constitution Revision Commission, also known simply as the “CRC,” recently completed the once in every 20-year task of reviewing our state constitution.

The purpose of the review is to ensure that our governing document reflects the values of our modern society and meets the needs of our growing state.

The CRC finalized eight proposed amendments, some of which are “grouped,” meaning multiple ideas are included in one single amendment. These amendments were based on more than a year’s worth of work, by 37 volunteer commissioners, traveling across the state, hosting 15 public hearings, dozens more committee meetings, consulting subject matter experts, and considering hundreds of thousands of comments from citizens.

Unfortunately, instead of debating merits of the policy, some editorial boards have offered sarcasm and ignored facts.

They have indicted the practice of grouping related proposals into single amendments for the ballot yet omitted the reality that grouping some ideas which share common elements is for the benefit of the voter.

According to election officials, long ballots create a disincentive to voting in the first place.

Grouping some ideas together keeps the ballot from becoming too lengthy to complete. If all of the CRC proposals were left as single amendments, there would be 25 questions on the ballot instead of 13; and in some areas of our state, each of those measures would be translated into multiple languages.

Further, not grouping ideas would have abandoned every precedent we have. Both previous Constitution Revision Commissions, in 1978 and in 1998, grouped ideas and did so with more regularity than we did. Indeed, in 1968 the voters of Florida ratified an entirely new constitution which was “bundled,” aka grouped into three, yes only three, ballot amendments. Grouping is not new and not controversial.

Bold ideas are often met with criticism and I support the ability of the media and others to voice their disagreement. However, categorically condemning a historically proven and successful process by omitting facts which are contrary to the desired effect is disingenuous.

If traditional media outlets have any desire to regain the public’s trust, if in news or in opinion, they need to be less selective with information and more honest with their arguments.

Here is the truth: the CRC sent to voters a package of transformational ideas in the form of eight proposed amendments to our Constitution, some grouped, some not. These ideas cover a lot of ground and include wildly popular proposals like sweeping ethics reforms, term limits for school board members, rights for crime victims, a ban on offshore oil drilling, banning the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed indoor workplaces, and ending the inhumane racing of greyhounds for betting purposes.

The ballot language of these proposals is clear and easily understood. Voters are exceedingly smart and will decide how they want their Florida to look for generations to come. In the end, they alone will be the judge of our work.

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Brecht Heuchan is a member of the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission.

5 Comments

  1. The process was arduous. That is a given, however the controversy arising over the grouping of amendments (“logrolling”) is not the issue foremost in many’s minds.

    The CRC not only ignored the 3.4 million non-affiliated voters in this state, they rejected their pleas for open primaries. According to the CRC website, open primaries was the second most popular issue brought before the commission during last spring’s “listening tour”.

  2. Nice try, and you actually said it with a straight face. Congratulations, but it still reeks of ‘log-rolling’ and ‘go-along-to-get-along’, of the kind used in Tallahassee. My grievance is that Commissioner Proposal Number 6 (no judicial deference to bureaucratic interpretations of statutes) has been rolled off into the sunset. I cannot vote for the bundle. Too bad. See you in twenty years.

  3. What a self serving commentary. A bad precedent doesn’t have to be perpetuated. If the author truly believes that “voters are exceedingly smart”, he would advocate for separate ballot questions so people don’t have to compromise in order to support individual initiatives they feel strongly about.

  4. Ignore the facts he says, like he and the other bought and paid for by casino interests crooks ignored the facts concerning greyhound racing. Still saying greyhound racing is ” inhumane “, nothing could be further from the truth. Mr Heuchan, did you try and find out the truth for yourself by going to a track or kennel? No, you didn’t. But you accept lies as facts from lying Carey Thiel, head of grey2k who has admitted to fraudulent practices in the past. You, Mr Huechan, are a liar and crook, selling out hard working Floridians with lies from a out of state scam group. Hopefully voters shoot all your unconstitutional proposals down.

  5. In one breath he says voters are not smart enough to be able to discern 25 questions … “too lengthy to complete”. In the next breath he says voters are “exceedingly smart” …. which is it, Brecht??

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