CRC Working Group Debates Rules Of The Road

May 17, 2017

The Constitution Revision Commission came under fire Wednesday as a working group met in Tampa to hammer out rules and procedures for the coming year.

The Constitution Revision Commission meets every 20 years with the power to put measures directly on the November ballot. The 2017 CRC expects to finalize its rules by next month.

Groups like American Civil Liberties Union and the League of Women Voters have been blasting the CRC since it released a set of draft rules in March.

Critics say they would allow secret deliberations and give CRC Chairman Carlos Beruff dictatorial power.

Commissioner Tom Lee, a former Senate President, agrees. So does Commissioner Arthenia Joyner, a former Senate Democratic Leader.

“And at first blush, when I read the rules, I came away with the perception that it was top-heavy and gave excessive power to the chair.”

But Commissioner Brecht Heuchan argued it takes a powerful leader to delegate authority.  League of Women Voters activist Rachel Garafalo, urged a series of ethical restrictions.

Garafalo also wants the CRC to give the public a final crack at the proposals after they take shape, but before they’re etched in stone.

“We would like to provide for public hearings around the state after proposals have been reported by drafting and style but before the final vote is taken.”

In a nod to protesters, Former Senate President Don Gaetz proposed allowing activists to post flyers and handbills outside of CRC meetings.

The commission is expected to adopt a final version of the rules next month.