The six-hour hearing, which began at 1 p.m. at Nova Southeastern University, was the first of five public hearings scheduled across Florida by the 37-member commission — an appointed panel that meets every 20 years and has the power to place state constitutional amendments on the 2018 general election ballot. (For a more in-depth explainer on the CRC, click here.)
But as has become a bit of a habit for the 2017-2018 commissioners, there seems to be a glitch in exactly how much they really want public input, considering several factors that stand out in the current schedule.
Besides the Feb. 20 meeting at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, the rest of the planned hearings skip over some of the state’s largest metro areas, such as Miami, Tampa and Orlando. Instead, expect to see these scheduled hearings take place in other cities like Melbourne, Pensacola and St. Petersburg.
Going further, if you’d actually like to catch a public hearing and provide your input on proposals that could very well determine your future as a Floridian, you better take a vacation day at work or skip school, because every single meeting is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on a Monday or Tuesday.
In addition to today’s hearing in Fort Lauderdale, other public hearings will include: Feb. 19, at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne; Feb. 20, at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville; Feb. 27, at the University of West Florida in Pensacola; and March 13, at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.
May 10 is the final deadline for the CRC to decide upon which proposals will appear on the November 2018 ballot. Here are a few of the remaining proposals that are still up for public debate, per the News Service of Florida:
—- Proposal 4, by Commissioner Roberto Martinez of Coral Gables, that would remove the state Constitution’s so-called “no-aid” provision, which relates to public spending on religiously affiliated groups.
—- Proposal 33, by Commissioner Erika Donalds of Naples, that would require all school superintendents to be appointed.
—- Proposal 43, by Donalds, that would impose an eight-year term limit on school board members.
—- Proposal 29, by Commissioner Rich Newsome of Orlando, that would require businesses licensed in the state to use E-Verify or a similar system to prevent hiring undocumented immigrants.
—- Proposal 41, by Commissioner Bill Schifino of Tampa, that would increase the mandatory retirement age for judges to 75, up from the current 70.
—- Proposal 54, by Commissioner Frank Kruppenbacher of Orlando, that would eliminate the “certificate of need” regulatory process, which can restrict construction of hospitals, nursing homes and hospice facilities.
—- Proposal 65, by Commissioner Lisa Carlton of Sarasota, that would ban vaping in workplaces, similar to the state’s workplace smoking ban.
—- Proposal 67, by Commissioner Tom Lee of Thonotosassa, that would ban live greyhound racing.
—- Proposal 83, by Commissioner Nicole Washington of Miami Beach, that would provide constitutional authority for the state college system, while keeping the colleges under the supervision of the state Board of Education.