Sen. Jeff Brandes’ proposal to eliminate Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission passed its second and final committee Thursday morning and now heads to the Senate floor.
The joint resolution, SJR 204, was approved in a 12-3 vote by the Senate Rules Committee. The legislation would abolish the 37-member commission, one of five methods in Florida to amend the state constitution. The commission, created in 1968, meets every 20 years to make changes to the Florida Constitution.
The resolution was only assigned two committees this year and is now mirroring its path last Session, where the proposal sailed through the committee process with unanimous approval, but never received a vote in the full Senate. Representatives in the House passed a similar amendment.
While the Legislature has now twice failed to abolish the commission, lawmakers last year agreed to make it harder for citizen-driven proposals to appear on the ballot, a law Gov. Ron 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 — it needed 60% + 1 vote approval to pass.
The Senate Rules Committee was also slated to hear Sen. Ray Rodrigues’ controversial proposal addressing deducting union dues from the paychecks of public employees but was unable to do so Thursday morning.
The committee did not receive the bill, SB 78, which is currently pending reference review under Senate Rule 4.7 after a committee substitute was approved in a 6-4 vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rules was expected to be the bill’s final committee before it could be heard by the Senate, which it is predicted to reach quickly, once Session convenes in March.
The bill, in part, would add a new step in the unionizing process under which government employers would have to confirm with workers that they want dues taken out of their pay before the deductions could start.
The committee was likely anticipating a wave of public testimony over the controversial bill, but instead concluded the meeting less than 40 minutes in.
The bill has drawn criticism from Democrats and union leaders, calling it an attempt at “union busting.” Rodrigues and other supporters argue the bill would help ensure that employees have final say about whether they want to pay union dues to join.