Dead CRC Proposal To Expand Florida's CFO Duties May Still Be Alive

Nov 29, 2017

Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon) speaking before the Constitution Revision Commission's Executive Committee Tuesday.
Credit Florida Channel

A proposal to give Florida’s Chief Financial Officer more duties failed to pass a subpanel of the state’s Constitution Revision Commission, but it may still be alive.

The proposal (Proposal 68) comes from Sen. Tom Lee (R-Brandon), who’s also on the Constitution Revision Commission—a panel that meets every 20 years to change the state constitution.

“We have created a position under the CFO that sounds good on the surface as you read the first lines of the Constitution that say Chief Fiscal Officer of the state,” said Lee, who may run for the CFO seat next year. “But, when you drill down into it, the Chief Fiscal Officer of the state does not have the tools to perform the duties of the Chief Fiscal Officer.”

Included in Lee’s proposal is a provision mandating the CFO participate in the state’s estimating conferences that look at revenue, economic, and demographic forecasts.

It would also require the CFO to review and certify certain state contracts, if the contract requires payment of more than 10 million dollars.

According to an analysis of the proposal, that may raises constitutional concerns as this normally doesn’t fall under the CFO’s purview and may be a violation of the separation of powers.

Some other parts of the proposal may also require additional staff.

That led some commissioners, like Attorney General Pam Bondi, to be a bit skeptical.

“I have a concern…obviously with all these growing with government bigger, the fiscal impact, and any potential constitutional issues,” she said.

Still, she voted for the proposal, which ultimately failed on a tied vote in the CRC’s Executive Committee. But, under a CRC rule, Lee may still be able to bring his proposal again before the full 37-member Commission. And, if it passes, his proposal would then require 60 percent of voter approval.

Below is CRC rule 4.5:

Reference of a bill to committee; removal of committee reference.— After the Commission Chair has referred a proposal, any Commissioner may move to remove a proposal from committee. This motion may be adopted by a majority vote. Any proposal removed from committee shall be placed on the special order calendar at the next full Commission meeting.

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