The Constitutional Revision Commission’s Final Report proposed to the citizens of the State eight sets of revisions to the Florida Constitution. The proposed revisions are scheduled to be on the next General Election Ballot, November 6, 2018. A proposed revision requires approval of sixty percent of the votes cast for the proposal. Fla. Const. Art. XI, §5(e)
Voters will look to lawyers for guidance as to the proposals. Please review the proposals so that you can provide that guidance, and understand how these proposals are important to all Florida citizens, not the least Florida lawyers, and in particular members of the Real Property and Probate Law Section of The Florida Bar and their clients. Changes to the Florida Constitution, Florida’s fundamental source of law after the Federal Constitution, impact our clients, and thus our practices.
After holding public hearings around the state to solicit citizen input the Commissioners filed 103 proposals for consideration. During open meetings at the State Capital, and a second series of public hearings around the State, the number of proposals was reduced, dropping many that were of concern to the Section. Proposals that did not survive the process included a revision to the homestead protection against forced sale, and to disability law thresholds. Surviving proposals were refined, somewhat.
Unlike Florida legislation which is required to embrace a single subject, the Commission’s proposals have no similar restraint. At least five proposed revisions contain varied subjects. The impact of grouping disparate subjects may create unusual dynamics as election day approaches.
Below are links to each proposed Revision as numbered and titled by the Commission. The Commission’s titles may be perceived as too narrow and incomplete; thus, I have supplied bullet summaries which are intended to be short, concise and non-partisan. The ballot will contain Commission approved summaries which are included in the Final Report.
SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL REVISIONS
Revision 1: Rights of Crime Victims; Judges
- Victims’ rights include being informed as to process, a speedy trial, restitution and prompt return of property, protection which includes bail setting and location non-disclosure considerations, participation in clemency and expungement.
- Speedy trial requirements which state can trigger, including 60 days from calendar call.
- Limiting appeals and collateral attacks including two years for appeals, capital appeals being five years.
- Judicial mandatory retirement age is to be extended to seventy-five years.
- Agency statutory and rule interpretations are not provided judicial deference.
Revision 2: First Responder and Military Member Survivor Benefits; Public Colleges and Universities
- State universities may not impose or increase fees without supermajority trustees’ vote (not including tuition).
- Each state college shall have a board of trustees, and shall be supervised by the Department of Education.
- Certain death benefits for survivors of first responders and military members are mandated.
Revision 3: School Board Term Limits and Duties; Public Schools
- School board members are prohibited from seeking election after eight years of service.
- School board oversight is limited to schools created by that board’s District.
- The Legislature shall promote civic literacy for public school students.
Revision 4: Prohibits Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibits Vaping in Enclosed Indoor Workplaces
- Offshore extraction of oil and gas is prohibited in the state’s territorial seas unless the area is alienated.
- Vaping is prohibited in most indoor work-spaces, excluding most private residences.
Revision 5: State and Local Government Structure and Operation
- Regular legislative sessions in even numbered years are advanced to January.
- Office of Domestic Security and Counter-Terrorism to support law enforcement agencies.
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs to be headed by the Governor and the Cabinet.
- County Constitutional Officers duties, selection and term cannot be changed by county charter.
Revision 6: Property Rights; Removal of Obsolete Provision; Criminal Statutes
- Repeals legislative regulation of real property ownership by aliens ineligible for citizenship.
- Deletes the prohibition of the application of a criminal penalty which was repealed after a crime occurred.
- Repeals high speed ground transportation alternatives development.
Revision 7: Lobbying and Abuse of Office by Public Officers
- Prohibits elected and many high placed appointed officials from lobbying for compensation while in office and for six years after leaving office, except as their office may require, and defining parameters.
- Rule-making authorized to implement anti-nepotism requirement.
Revision 8: Ends Dog Racing
- Prohibits racing of dogs in the State for wagers after December 31, 2020.
- Licensed greyhound permitholder may cease dog wagering after 2018 without being subject to revocation of the right to conduct other pari-mutual activities.
Michael J. Gelfand
Florida Bar Board Certified Real Estate Attorney
Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator:
Civil Circuit Court & Civil County Court
Fellow, American College of Real Estate Lawyers
Gelfand & Arpe, P.A.
"Assisting Communities to Efficiently Reach Goals"
1555 Tower, Suite 1220
1555 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd.bb
West Palm Beach Florida 33401-2329
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
- Edmund Burke
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