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Future Of Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission Uncertain

Capitol building at night with glowing lights of city.
Erich Martin

Florida lawmakers seem agree—something needs to be done about the state’s Constitution Revision Commission. But they’re not on the same page yet about what should happen.

The revision commission drew ire in 2018 from voters and lawmakers alike when it put proposals on the ballot that combined several ideas into single items.

“Maybe three or four different items would be compiled on one amendment and it’s kind of a take it or leave it. And if you like this piece or you don’t like this piece you don’t get a choice to differentiate the two issues or the three issues or the four issues, you have to take all for one,” said Rep. Brad Drake (R-DeFuniak Springs)

Drake wants to get rid of the commission completely. But Rep. Dianne Hart (D-Tampa) thinks that might be going too far.

Do you think that it would be possible to maybe put some language in that would not allow them to bundle the amendments and stuff like that into one question—rather than just throw the entire thing out—the baby with the bathwater,” Hart asked.

That’s what Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami) is attempting to do in his bill that limits revision commission proposals to a single subject.

But Drake says that doesn’t go far enough. He says the issue isn’t just bundling.

That committee is too political. You have X amount of people that are appointed by the governor, X amount that appointed by the Attorney General, X amount appointed by Supreme Court Justice,” Drake said.

And Drake says he feels the body has become too focused on policy, when he thinks it should be paying more attention to the structure of the constitution.

The group is one of five methods for amending the Florida Constitution. Some worry getting rid of it could limit the ability for people to make changes to the state's governing documents.

Follow @Regan_McCarthy

Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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