The Florida Constitution is Amended every 20 Years
And the next big round of Amendments is on the ballot in 2018.
The Florida Constitution Revision Commission is a state government organization made up mostly of appointees chosen by the Governor — currently Rick Scott. Its job is to put together a batch of Amendment proposals that land on the ballot every 20 years. And, they always land on the ballot for a Midterm election, when turnout is low and special interest capture is high.
Florida could benefit from reforms; the recent redistricting still features some clear Gerrymandering, and ethics rules could use some improvements, especially around money in politics. But a group of unelected appointees chosen by a single elected official from a single party, pushing Amendments to a Constitution in low turnout years, should at least have you skeptical. This commission needs sunlight.
The Commissions’ current priorities aren’t on their website, but a packet at their hearings indicates they’re currently focused on broad issues:
Transportation, Education, Natural Resources, Crime & Justice, Representation, Healthcare, Youth, Elderly, & the Underserved.
A Florida citizen by the name of Laurie Prim was kind enough to attend and document one of the Commissions’ hearings.
Like too many government organizations, this is the only clear way to engage with the organization. Public hearings appear to be the only way to interact with the Commission, which, even if they hear from 1,000 citizens, are an obvious bottleneck in a state with 20 million people.
The Commission is online in a limited way though: You can propose ideas to them via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Likely a more effective way to engage is to engage one of the partners involved:
Bob Graham Center at U Florida, Center for Governmental Responsibility at U Florida, Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, Florida Association of Counties, The Florida Bar (and Foundation), Florida Chamber Foundation, Florida Justice Association Research & Education Foundation, The Florida Law Related Education Association, Inc., Florida League of Cities, Florida Philanthropic Network, Florida Press Association, Florida TaxWatch, Leadership Florida, League of Women Voters Florida, NAACP Florida, Virgil Hawkins Florida Chapter of the National Bar.
Many of these groups seem to have come together under the Partnership for Revising the Florida Constitution, at revisefl.com.