Bill to abolish Constitution Revision Commission clears Senate committee
Constitutional Revision Commission was controversial last time around. The push to repeal it is renewed.

CRC (12)
Brandes called the Legislature 'the ultimate constitution revision commission.'

State Sen. Jeff Brandes‘ bill to abolish Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission cleared a hurdle Tuesday when the Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability approved it.

The panel voted 4-0 to forward Senate Joint Resolution 362 after Brandes laid out his position that the commission, empaneled every 20 years to propose amendments to the Florida Constitution, has become the “Pandora’s Box of policy,” and that Floridians still have two avenues to put proposed amendments on the statewide ballot, through citizen petitions or the Florida Legislature. Ironically, SJR 362 would require the Florida Legislature to put an amendment on the ballot to abolish the constitutional panel.

“We don’t really know what’s going to come out of these commissions. It only meets once every 20 years. It still maintains the two provisions that we allow for the constitution to be adjusted, either by the state legislature by three-fifths [majority vote] or by petition of the people. So that’s essentially 19 out of 20 years the way that it works. And then in the 20th year this process by which 37 unelected people get to propose amendments to the constitution. And we really just don’t know how it’s going to shake out.”

Last week the House Civil Justice Subcommittee approved a companion bill, HJR 251, moving it along.

Last year the CRC put eight proposed amendments on the ballot, and voters approved them all. Some of the criticism of the process centered on the CRC’s power to “bundle” issues into one amendment, an option not available for amendments offered by either citizen petition or the Florida Legislature.

The Senate committee’s vice chair, Democratic state Sen. Kevin Rader of Boca Raton, joined support of SJR 362, but questioned Brandes, arguing he wanted to play devil’s advocate. Among the points that Rader made was that citizens’ initiatives are “enormously expensive,” usually backed by some big-money donor or wealthy special interest groups, and he worried that citizens would not have another way to get around a reluctant Legislature.

Brandes replied that last year’s Amendment 4, which restores voting rights to convicted felons who have serve their full sentences, is a good example of a citizen-backed amendment that did not have wealthy backers behind it. He also called the Legislature “the ultimate constitution revision commission.”

“I just don’t think there should be this 20th year process in place where we can just add things to the constitution,” Brandes said.

Last updated on February 19, 2019

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


4 comments

  • TED

    February 19, 2019 at 4:08 pm

    Amen! Abolish the damned thing! Changes to the state constitution should originate via citizen petitions or from the regular, ongoing operation of the state legislature.

  • Sandy Oestreich

    February 20, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    Not so Fast!
    Amend The Rules on Chair panel selection so it’s not so blatantly PARTISAN and so that the Chair has qualifications or experience to match the role;
    AND Florida’s constitution assigns a NONPARTISAN Panel ASSIGNED to decide which legislation is granted HEARINGS and a vote as IT IS CURRENTLY DEVOID OF ANY MENTION WHATSOEVER OF WHO DECIDES !! thus leaving that MOMENTOUS Role “up for partisan grabs as is !

    Currently this has a deleterious effect on

    • Sandy Oestreich

      February 20, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      Sandyo, Addendum

      (YOUR CLAIM THAT THIS IS SPAM IS UNTRUTHFUL. My previous statement was DELETED TOO) Publish in the name of JUSTICE and FREE SPEECH, Fmr elected official; Prof.Emerita; Founder,Natl ERAAlliance; Co-author internatllt distributed Pharma ref texts; Nurse Practitioner, etc)

      A perfect example is the Legislation to ratify the male & female and US – Safety and Economy’s – benefiting EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT that Makes unAmerican, undemocratic (small d) SEX DISCRIMINATION A VIOLATION OF US CONSTITUTION!

      Economists predict passing it by just one more state’s legislature’s vote will zing up our nat’l GDP by 15%,similar to other nations’ experience long ago!

      Abortions are fewer in states already voting for it!

      Neither Republicans nor Corporations will suffer.

      This Amendment is NONPARTSAN, BACKED by 94% in ALL American REGIONS, by those of ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, ALL RELIGIONS, ALL RACES, SEXES as of 2015.

      Florida needs to drop the rancid lies of
      50YEARS AGO about it …it’s WIN-WIN!

      How about dropping the Neo-medievalist, mysogynist
      Hate-stance , Florida legislature?

      WE OF FLORIDA’s NATL EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT ALLIANCE (300.000+ MEMBERS) NOW URGE House SPKR OLIVA and SEN. PRES GALVANO to join most of Their CONSTITUENTS AND. HOLD HEARINGS AND A VOTE ASAP ON THE FAIR, AMERICA-HEALING CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT——. !

      After we and our 3 equally HUGE National partnering organizations HAVE WORKED 18/7 FAITHFULLY & SO HARD, BEEN RUN OFF THE ROAD &. ISSUED PUBLIC DEATH THREATS by your own GOP COmpatriots …. ERA RATIFICATION RESOLUTIONS FILED EVERY YEAR FOR 19. Nonstop YEARS!!!!!

      MdTOO, WOMENS MARCHES, RAPE—the soul searing crime treated with a slap on the wrist!!

      SHAMEFUL. FL LEGISLATURE. LISTEN. TO. US. STOP IGNORING AMERICA’S MAJORITY CONSTITUENTS!!

      HOLD HEARINGS & VOTE ON ERA RATIFICATION NOW!

      I AM TURNING 85 YEARS OLD…HOLD ERA HEARINGS
      AND VOTE—UP. OR. DOWN. Constitutional lawyers say that may rise the level of ABROGATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT

      DON’T MAKE ME DIE BEFORE YOU DO THIS…DO IT NOW, NOW. WE ARE NOT the. Enemy.

      —-

  • Sandy Oestreich

    February 20, 2019 at 2:55 pm

    Sandyo, Addendum:

    A perfect example is the Legislation to ratify the male & female and US – Safety and Economy’s – benefiting EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT that Makes unAmerican, undemocratic (small d) SEX DISCRIMINATION A VIOLATION OF US CONSTITUTION!

    Economists predict passing it by just one more state’s legislature’s vote will zing up our nat’l GDP by 15%,similar to other nations’ experience long ago!

    Abortions are fewer in states already voting for it!

    Neither Republicans nor Corporations will suffer.

    This Amendment is NONPARTSAN, BACKED by 94% in ALL American REGIONS, by those of ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, ALL RELIGIONS, ALL RACES, SEXES as of 2015.

    Florida needs to drop the rancid lies of
    50YEARS AGO about it …it’s WIN-WIN!

    How about dropping the Neo-medievalist, mysogynist
    Hate-stance , Florida legislature?

    WE OF FLORIDA’s NATL EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT ALLIANCE (300.000+ MEMBERS) NOW URGE House SPKR OLIVA and SEN. PRES GALVANO to join most of Their CONSTITUENTS AND. HOLD HEARINGS AND A VOTE ASAP ON THE FAIR, AMERICA-HEALING CONSTITUTION AMENDMENT——. !

    After we and our 3 equally HUGE National partnering organizations HAVE WORKED 18/7 FAITHFULLY & SO HARD, BEEN RUN OFF THE ROAD &. ISSUED PUBLIC DEATH THREATS by your own GOP COmpatriots …. ERA RATIFICATION RESOLUTIONS FILED EVERY YEAR FOR 19. Nonstop YEARS!!!!!

    MdTOO, WOMENS MARCHES, RAPE—the soul searing crime treated with a slap on the wrist!!

    SHAMEFUL. FL LEGISLATURE. LISTEN. TO. US. STOP IGNORING AMERICA’S MAJORITY CONSTITUENTS!!

    HOLD HEARINGS & VOTE ON ERA RATIFICATION NOW!

    I AM TURNING 85 YEARS OLD…HOLD ERA HEARINGS
    AND VOTE—UP. OR. DOWN. Constitutional lawyers say that may rise the level of ABROGATION OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT

    DON’T MAKE ME DIE BEFORE YOU DO THIS…DO IT NOW, NOW. WE ARE NOT the. Enemy.

    —-

Comments are closed.


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