Many Floridians probably can’t recite the current provisions of the Florida Constitution…
… but those provisions affect our lives in ways large and small. For example, Article 2 lists all the general provisions for the state — from state boundaries, to the state seal and flag, to the official state language. What if a constitutional amendment proposed to change the official state language to Latin? That might be an outlandish example, but the point is serious: Our Florida Constitution is open to review and revision, and changes will be proposed by a 37-member panel and voted on by the people. It’s time for all of us to pay attention.
What’s my role?
You can play a critical role during this CRC by learning about Florida’s Constitution and amendment process (on this site), attending and participating in public hearings, submitting proposals to the CRC, educating yourself about proposed amendments, and voting on election day in November 2018.
You can also:
- Request an expert speaker from the Protect Florida Democracy program to talk to your organization about the Constitution Revision Commission and why Floridians should get involved today.
- Write your local newspaper to share your opinion about the CRC through a letter to the editor or op ed. Learn how to submit to your local paper by downloading our guidelines for submissions.
Download “A Floridian’s Guide to the Constitution Revision Commission” for a quick overview of the CRC and how you can participate.
Throughout the process, remember this:
Florida has had six constitutions dating back to 1838, including our current one established in 1968. As Florida residents, we have an opportunity to participate in the democratic process and in shaping our state government by following and participating in the constitution revision process. But it’s important to revise cautiously. Just because you agree with an issue doesn’t necessarily mean it should be in our state constitution.
- A fair and impartial judiciary protects the interests of the public by deciding if an action of government is legal and constitutional. For instance, if an executive branch agency seized half of a person’s land without due process, the judicial branch could rule that such a seizure is unlawful and protect the person’s property rights. Or if the Legislature passed a law making it illegal to own a gun, the citizens could appeal to the judicial branch.
Any amendment that would further limit the judiciary’s power should be suspect.
- The judiciary was not designed to be a political branch of government. Judges should not be influenced by political parties, special interests or other external factors. This allows them to render justice in a fair and impartial way.
- One of our country’s founders, Alexander Hamilton, wrote that the judicial branch has neither the power of the sword nor the purse, but merely judgment. Yet, the judicial branch plays an important role in protecting citizens’ rights. So any amendment that would further limit the judiciary’s power should be suspect.
Protect Florida Democracy when you vote by asking yourself:
- Does this proposal create unintended consequences? For example, an idea might sound really good but have a big, hidden price tag. Think about the cost and consequences of an amendment before putting it into the constitution.
- Is this something that will get out of date and will need to be updated?
- Does this only apply to a small number of Floridians?
- Is it setting specific policy?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then it probably doesn’t belong in the constitution.
If an issue isn’t suited for the constitution, it may be better addressed in a statute.
CRC Approves Eight Revisions For The 2018 General Election Ballot
Pursuant to Article XI, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution, the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) voted to approve eight revisions to be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot for voter consideration.
CRC Chairman Carlos Beruff said, “For more than a year, Commissioners have traveled across the state to speak directly with citizens about the changes they want to see in the Florida Constitution. After months of in-depth research and debate, the CRC has narrowed down thousands of comments and ideas into eight final revisions for voter consideration. From protecting our state and territorial waters from oil drilling to strengthening our ethics laws, I commend my fellow Commissioners for their hard work and leadership representing the people of Florida. We are grateful to the thousands of Floridians who participated in this historic process and look forward to letting voters have the final say in November.”
Proposed constitutional revisions on the ballot must secure at least 60 percent voter approval to become law. A formal report will be submitted to the Florida Secretary of State as soon as possible. A list of the final revisions approved by the CRC are provided below; the full text of each revision is available on flcrc.gov:
- P 6001: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
- P 6002: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
- P 6003: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools
- P 6004: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
- P 6005: State and Local Government Structure and Operation
- P 6006: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
- P 6007: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
- P 6012: Ends Dog Racing