Sen. Jeff Brandes again hopes to eliminate the Constitution Revision Commission with a proposed constitutional amendment filed Monday.
For three straight sessions now, the St. Petersburg Republican has filed legislation (SJR 204) that would abolish the commission, one of five methods in Florida to amend the state constitution. Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, have criticized the commission for “bundling” topics together in one proposed amendment.
The commission, created in 1968, meets every 20 years to make changes to the Florida Constitution.
In 2018, when the CRC placed seven amendments on the ballot, the CRC irked lawmakers and observers by “bundling” unrelated propositions in amendments. That year’s Amendment 9, which banned offshore drilling and vaping in indoor workplaces, was the most notable of the several odd combinations from the CRC. Voters passed that amendment with 69% approval, far exceeding the necessary 60% threshold to finalize constitutional amendments.
DeSantis announced his support for repeal at the end of the 2019 Session, citing the bundling issue as a major source of irritation.
“I didn’t have enough bandwidth to propose it, but I would like to see the CRC eliminated,” DeSantis said. “I think what happened last election with some of those bundled amendments was not good.”
Eucheeanna Republican Rep. Brad Drake filed the House version of the amendment ahead of both the 2019 and 2020 Legislative Sessions. No House member has filed that legislation yet for the 2021 Session.
While the Legislature has now twice failed to abolish the commission, lawmakers this year agreed to make it harder for citizen-driven proposals to appear on the ballot, a law DeSantis signed in April. And while lawmakers passed another proposed amendment requiring that voters approve future amendments twice, voters turned that down with only 52% supporting it.