Constitution Revision Commission

Constitution revision member defends amendment bundling

img_7758-2Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch, an appointee of fellow Martin County resident Senate President Joe Negron to the Constitution Revision Commission, defended the bundling of topics in six of the eight amendments the 37-member panel agreed this week to put before voters in November.

On her blog, the former Sewall’s Point mayor called it “a good thing” to roll some topics — such as oil drilling and vaping, or death benefits for first responders and university student fees — into single-ballot proposals.

“You may have read a plethora of articles on the completed work of the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission and thought to yourself, ‘What!?'” Thurlow-Lippisch wrote.

Six amendments “are grouped and related,” she added.

“Although for many, controversial, in my opinion, this is a good thing, perfectly legal, and we all know this was done by both former CRCs,” she went on.

Thurlow-Lippisch was behind the offshore drilling ban, which was linked with a ban on electric cigarettes, in what is expected to become Amendment 9 on the ballot.

 The Florida Petroleum Council has already expressed its opposition to the drilling ban proposal, calling it “bizarre and “surreal” that it was linked to the anti-vaping in the workplace measure.

Thurlow-Lippisch was unable to move some of her more ambitious proposals, including one measure crushed by business and agriculture groups, in which she sought to redefine legal standing for Floridians on environmental issues.

By Jim Turner.

NRA targets “anti-gun” CRC members, shames Corcoran on school-safety bill

gun-pistolFlorida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer took aim at the Constitution Revision Commission and House Speaker Richard Corcoran today, in separate “alerts” issued regarding past and proposed gun-related measures.
This morning, Hammer called out Corcoran for praising the new law that raised the age from 18 to 21 and imposed a three-day waiting period for the purchase of long guns, such as the AR-15-style weapon used by Nikolas Cruz to shoot dead 14 students and three staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day. The new law also bans bump stocks.
And the new law allows some teachers and other school personnel, who are specially trained and deputized by local sheriffs, to bring guns to school, a provision some pro-gun proponents like Corcoran are cheering because it does away with more than 4,000 “gun-free zones” — a.k.a. “schools.”
But Hammer, who sent out an email with the subject line “ALERT: We Were Born at Night But It Wasn’t Last Night, Mr. Speaker,” isn’t buying it.
She’s accusing the Land O’ Lakes Republican of “adding insult to injury” with his remarks.
“Corcoran tried to justify his treachery by ignoring the damaging gun control he supported and then claimed the effort to arm school employees makes it ‘one of the greatest Second Amendment victories we’ve ever had’ because it ends “gun free zones on school campuses.”  That is complete nonsense,” Hammer wrote in an email today.
Later in the day, Hammer set her sights on the CRC, the once-every-20-years panel that can place constitutional amendments directly on the ballot. In the aftermath of the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, several commissioners have proposed gun-related measures, ranging from a ban on assault weapons to codifying the changes in the new state law in the state Constitution.
That drew this missive from Hammer:
ALERT: Anti-gun CRC Members Want Gun Bans in the Florida Constitution

Some of the members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) are very anti-gun and they are proposing and pushing gun ban and gun control amendments to put in the Florida Constitution.

Commissioners will be voting on these amendment soon. Links to these amendments are listed at the bottom.

Among these amendments are:

*An “assault weapons” ban which bans the distribution, sale, transfer, and possession of so-called assault weapons and any detachable magazine that has a capacity of more than 9 rounds.  (Makes possession illegal with no compensation provided for those already possessed that must be surrendered)

*A ban on any semi-automatic rifle that is able to accept a detachable magazine or has a fixed magazine capable of holding more than10 rounds. (that means almost all semi-automatic rifles)

*A ban on the sale and transfer of “assault weapons” and defines “transfer” as the conveyance “from a person or entity to another person or entity WITHOUT any conveyance of money or other valuable consideration.”  (Note: to “convey” between persons without compensation could mean the simple act of handing the firearm to another person while hunting, on the range, or anywhere)

*A 10 day waiting period (excluding weekends and legal holidays) on all firearms to facilitate a background check.

*A ban on the purchase of any firearm by a person under 21 years of age.

*A ban on the sale, transfer and possession of bump stocks and other devises, tools, kits, etc.

Please email CRC Commissioners and tell them to OPPOSE gun control amendments!

PLEASE DO IT NOW !!! They could be voting on these amendments at anytime


Rouson pulls restoration of rights proposal

Saying he’s been fighting to help felons have their rights restored “before it became popular,” state Sen. Darryl Rouson yanked a proposed constitutional amendment that would automatically restore voting rights for felons, except for those convicted of violent crimes.

Rouson, a St. Petersburg Democrat who serves on the Constitution Revision Commission, told a commission panel Wednesday he wanted to keep his proposal alive to give voters a choice in November.

A citizen-backed initiative, the “Voting Restoration Amendment,” will go before voters as Amendment 4 in November. The proposal would automatically restore voting rights of felons who’ve completed their sentences, have fulfilled parole or probation requirements and paid restitution. Murderers and sex offenders would not be included.

Rouson’s proposal (P 21) would have gone further, and excluded from the automatic rights restoration process felons who’ve been convicted of violent crimes.

“I worried that there would be opponents gathering steam to oppose this … so I intended to keep this alive so that the voters would have a choice,” Rouson, a lawyer, told the commission’s Declaration of Rights Committee Wednesday after telling the panel he intended to withdraw the proposal.

Rouson’s plan was geared toward “those who would have some anxiety or some angst about automatic restoration for certain violent offenders,” he said.

“That’s what this was. It was not a pay-off to me to stop a citizen-led initiative. So it hurts me to some extent that I’m withdrawing this. But I pray that in doing so we make it clear that redemption’s time has come, that we must pass the amendment that’s been put on by the citizens and approved by the Supreme Court,” he said.

The research doesn’t show any difference between restoring rights for violent and non-violent felons, according to Mark Schlakman, a senior program director at Florida State University’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.

Schlakman told the panel Wednesday that research does show a reduction in recidivism among felons who have had their rights restored.

But, he said, it was essential too “underscore that there is no underlying cause to any restrictions.” Instead, the restrictions regarding murder and sex offenses came about “as a result of polling, to try to position it (the amendment) to have a better chance of passage.”

Rouson told The News Service of Florida he believes voters may want “a period of redemption” before rights are restored to felons who’ve committed certain types of violent crimes. He wanted to give voters the opportunity to choose between his amendment and the citizen-backed proposal which made it onto the ballot.

“The goal is full restoration for everybody who has made a mistake and who has redeemed themselves, rehabilitated themselves and reentered society. We want them to be able to participate. I believe that the voters deserve this choice, but I don’t want to be an impediment or confuse people, nor do I want to be blamed if it goes down in flames,” he said.

Coalition wants more Constitution Revision Commission hearings

As the Florida Constitution Revision Commission begins its debate this week on a slate of constitutional amendments for the 2018 ballot, a group of Democratic-leaning organizations is calling for more public hearings.

The commission has already received more than 1,000 proposals from the public and is expected to extend the filing deadline, because of Hurricane Irma, to Oct. 6. The 37 members of the commission will have until Oct. 31 to file their own proposals under the new schedule, with seven commissioner proposals filed thus far.

The coalition, which includes the Florida Education Association, the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Florida AFL-CIO, the ACLU and other groups, in a letter today asked the commission to consider another round of public hearings around the state “after the full commission has determined, by majority vote, which proposals will be further considered.”

“As was evident during the first round of public hearings, Florida’s citizens are concerned about a wide range of issues in our state. A second round of hearings after many issues are eliminated will allow citizens the opportunity to make focused and in-depth public comment about issues that have been determined to have a real chance of making it to the ballot,” the letter said. “And commissioners will have the benefit of that comment before they take their final vote.”

Additionally, the coalition asked the commission to hold itself to a strict interpretation of Florida’s open-government laws, including prohibiting private communication between two commissioners when they are discussing proposals.

The Constitution Revision Commission meets every 20 years and has the unique ability to place constitutional amendments directly on the ballot. Any proposals placed on the 2018 general election ballot by the CRC must be approved by at least 60 percent of the voters to be enacted.

— By Lloyd Dunkelberger.

Schoolhouse Rock: How a CRC proposal becomes law

The Constitution Revision Commission released an “infographic” today, literally giving Floridians a “roadmap” for the process.

The commission, tasked with the once-every-20-years task of placing constitutional changes on the ballot, is giving the public until Sept. 22 to submit proposals.


Proposals approved by the 37-member commission will appear on the November 2018 general election ballot and, like all other constitutional amendments, require at least 60 percent approval for passage.


Groups demand more sunshine for Constitution Revision Commission

A coalition of left-leaning organizations and unions is decrying a decision by Constitution Revision Commission Chairman Carlos Beruff to hold a meeting of the full panel next week to vote on rules for the once-every-20-years overhaul of the state’s basic law.

A working group that had been named to make changes to the rules and propose them to the full CRC spent hours working on the document last week but only got about a third of the way through the assignment. So commission Chairman Carlos Beruff announced Friday in a letter that the entire commission will meet in Orlando and essentially start over with the initial draft.

“Your new plan for adopting rules undermines the work and recommendations of the Rules Working Group and it causes us to question whether your real motivation is to facilitate an end run around conclusions reached by a supermajority of the Group because those conclusions were not to your liking,” the coalition, which includes Florida branches of the ACLU, Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, and others, including Florida unions representing teachers and government workers.

The CRC should go back to the two-decade-old rules under which the last commission operated, suggested the group, which also includes Progress Florida, Mi Familia Vota, the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, and Florida Strong.

Read the full letter here.