Constitution Revision Commission's timing worries Florida residents

Published: Aug. 9, 2017 at 10:59 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

There's growing concern the Florida Constitution Revision Commission could be moving too fast, not giving the public enough time to weigh in.

It has the power to put some big, life-altering measures on the 2018 ballot, everything from expanding women's rights to legalizing school vouchers and slapping term limits on judges.

Wednesday the commission's rules committee met to hammer out dates and deadlines.

The panel has until next spring to decide which ballot measures ought to be put before Florida voters, but, under the timeline adopted, ordinary Floridians now only have until September 22nd to turn in their proposals.

That's not a lot of time.

It comes on top of criticism by government watchdog groups that not enough public hearings are being held, and that Governor Rick Scott's appointees are being given out-sized power to decide what the 2018 ballot will look like.

Scott's widely expected to be on the ballot himself as a candidate for the U.S. senate.

"When you're talking about the public and they're looking at our process and our timeline, that we have all the way to may to get this done, and they're saying, 'but, you can't even consider anything that happens after October - in this case - 17th'? That's a little hard, you know, most people looking at the process from the outside are saying, 'why are you cutting it off so early'?"

Put simply, the schedule's supporters say, because all the proposed amendments have to be analyzed, debated and voted on, which takes a lot of time.

Given the stakes, not everyone's happy, and they could make their voices heard at the next full commission meeting this fall.

The amendments the commission winds up putting on the ballot could face some big hurdles, like a constitutional requirement that amendments receive at least 60% support to pass.