Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Florida Supreme Court nixes request to hear challenge of 6 constitutional amendments

Posted By on Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 3:07 PM

  • Photo via Photo via Florida Constitution Revision Commission
The Florida Supreme Court rejected Tuesday former Chief Justice Harry Lee Anstead's request for oral arguments to challenge six amendments proposed by the state Constitution Revision Commission.

Among the amendments was Amendment 8 – which would allow charter school organizers and affiliates to bypass local school boards' approval on certain issues, circumventing local control. Bundled together in the amendment was a provision that would limit school board members to eight-year terms, as well as a proposal that would require the Florida Legislature to file legislation to "promote civic literacy in schools."

Saying the amendment's packaging prevents voters from opting for a simple "yes" or "no" at the ballot box, Anstead and former elections commissioner Robert Barnas contended that the six measures are unconstitutionally bundled.

The Supreme Court has sent the matter down to the Leon County Circuit Court for further consideration.

"The transfer of this case should not be construed as an adjudication or comment on the merits of the petition nor that the petition has been properly denominated as a petition for write of quo warranto," the justices wrote. "The transferee court should not interpret the transfer of this case as an indication that it must or should reach the merits of the petition."

The court's removal of Amendment 8 from the November ballot follows its decision to remove Amendment 6 on Monday. As a result, the court has scheduled oral arguments for the Amendment 8 case for Sept. 5. Florida Secretary of State Ken Dentzer has appealed the removal in an effort to return the question to the general election ballot.

In May, the CRC – a 37-member commission that convenes once every 20 years to propose changes to the state Constitution for voter consideration – approved the amendments, following a controversial months-long process.

For more on how the CRC works, click here.

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