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Senate panel advances single-subject limitation bills

The Senate was sold on this in 2019, but it died in the House.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Senate panel moved two related bills that would impose single-subject limitations on Constitutional amendments.

SJR 176 and SJR 396 would constrain the state Constitutional Revision Commission and the state Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.

A legislative desire to stop bundling came after 2018, when unrelated items were shoehorned together, and are now part of the Constitution.

Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, the Miami Democrat carrying both bills, remarked ahead of last Session that these measures should be among the least controversial considered in Tallahassee.

This Session, he carried the bills that cleared the Senate but not the House months ago.

Rodriguez seeks to make these measures consistent with the ballot initiative process.

“Voters should be protected from bundling,” Rodriguez, who is also the committee vice-chair, said.

As was the case ahead of the 2019 Session, these measures had broad bi-partisan support, with Sen. Dennis Baxley, a conservative Republican, lauding this as an area of cooperation.

2018’s Amendment 9, which banned offshore drilling and vaping in indoor workplaces, was one of the many odd combinations from the CRC. Nearly 69 percent of voters approved that amendment, as editorial boards and others wondered why the two bans were yoked together.

Another amendment dealt with payment of death benefits for first responders killed while performing official duties and the creation of a governance system for the 28 state and community colleges.

The Senate approved anti-bundling legislation in 2019; however, the bill died in Messages in the House.

Worth noting: The Constitutional Revision Commission, whose members are mostly appointed by the Governor and legislative leaders, doesn’t meet again until 2037.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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