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Revision Commission Under Fire For Draft Rules

Orlando Weekly

Progressive groups are keeping a close eye on the Constitution Revision Commission, and this week, they’re more worried than ever. It's the prestigious panel that meets every 20 years to put measures directly on the ballot.

A handful of advocacy groups, including the League of Women Voters and the American Civil Liberties Union, are raising the alarm after the CRC released a set of draft rules.

ACLU legislative counsel Kara Gross says the rules would allow commissioners to meet in secret and give the chair life or death power over ballot measures.

“The rules matter so much because of what’s at stake with regard to the constitutional issues that are at stake with respect to the proposals that make it on the ballot.”

Progressives are especially wary because Gov. Rick Scott and Republican lawmakers appointed the bulk of the 27 members.

Gross expects the CRC to target reproductive rights by weakening the Florida Constitution’s unusually strong privacy guarantees.

“The concern is that if there’s no transparency, that the CRC members would propose changes to that, and we would have no opportunity to comment on those.”

The CRC is expected to discuss the rules when it meets today in Tampa.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.