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Politics

Ballot Proposals Range from Oil Drilling to Dog Racing

April 14, 2018 - 6:00am

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission will consider 12 ballot proposals when it meets next week. Each proposal must receive at least 22 votes from the 37-member commission to be placed on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

Here are snapshots of the proposed changes to the state Constitution:

--- VICTIMS’ RIGHTS AND JUDGES (Proposal 6001): The proposal would establish a series of rights for crime victims, including the right to be notified of major developments in criminal cases and the right to be heard in legal proceedings. It also would increase the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75. It also would provide that judges or hearing officers should not necessarily defer to the interpretation of laws and rules by governmental agencies in legal proceedings.

--- FIRST RESPONDERS AND HIGHER EDUCATION (Proposal 6002): The proposal would require the payment of death benefits when law enforcement officers, paramedics, correctional officers and other first responders are killed while performing their official duties. It also would apply to Florida National Guard and active-duty military members stationed in Florida. The proposal also would establish a governance system for the 28 state and community colleges. It would require a supermajority vote by university boards of trustees and the university system’s Board of Governors when raising student fees.

--- PUBLIC SCHOOLS (Proposal 6003): The proposal would impose an eight-year term limit on school board members. It would allow an alternative process for approving public schools, including charter schools, rather than by local school boards. It also would establish a requirement for the teaching of civic literacy in public schools.

--- OIL DRILLING AND VAPING (Proposal 6004): The proposal would prohibit drilling for gas and oil in state coastal waters and ban vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes in workplaces.

--- GOVERNMENTAL STRUCTURE (Proposal 6005): The proposal would require all charter county governments to have elected constitutional officers, including sheriffs. It would lead to the Legislature beginning its annual session in January in even-numbered years. It would create an Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism in the Department of Law Enforcement. It also would revise the constitutional authority for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

--- PROPERTY RIGHTS AND HIGH-SPEED RAIL (Proposal 6006): The proposal would remove constitutional language that prohibits “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning property. It also would remove obsolete language that authorizes a high-speed rail system. It would revise language to make clear that the repeal of a criminal statute does not affect the prosecution of any crime committed before the repeal.

--- ETHICS (Proposal 6007): The proposal would impose a six-year lobbying ban on former state elected officials, state agency heads and local elected officials. It would also create a new ethics standard that would prohibit public officials from obtaining a “disproportionate benefit” from their actions while in office.

--- INNOVATION SCHOOL DISTRICTS (Proposal 6008): The proposal would allow “high-performing” school districts to be designated as “innovation” districts and provide exemptions from some laws that normally apply to the districts.

--- PRIMARY ELECTIONS (Proposal 6009): The proposal would allow all voters to participate in primary elections if all of the candidates have the same party affiliation and are only opposed by one or more write-in candidates.

--- EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION (Proposal 6010): The proposal would mandate an employment-verification system to determine if workers are legally authorized to work under federal immigration laws. It would apply to workers hired after July 1, 2020.

--- NAMING GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS (Proposal 6011): The proposal would prohibit government buildings, projects or programs from being named after elected officials who are members of the governmental entities making the decisions. It would apply to state and local governments.

--- DOG RACING (Proposal 6012): The proposal would ban greyhound racing at Florida tracks after Dec. 31, 2020.

Comments

The Constitution should be reserved for fundamental rights and the structure of government---not to push public policy that can't get through the Legislature. They should be proposing revisions take things like pregnant pigs out of the Constitution---not add more provisions that don't belong in the document. The best proposal that could come out of the CRC is to do away with it altogether. We can already amend the Constitution by petition---and through the Legislature---we don't need an unelected body putting proposals on the ballot as well.

Very few of these proposals have enough merit to rise to constitutional amendment. Every item of public policy should not be placed in the Constitution. For the example term limits for school board. Pro or con I think the constitutional question should be term limits for all elected offices, otherwise the Constitution will look like the Code of Laws. Further, once in Constitution, cannot be tweaked or adjusted as needed, even in emergency situations. Be very careful what is placed in Constitution!!

No combinations should be allowed. If something can't stand alone it shouldn't be on the ballot

Agreed.

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