Florida's constitution commission suggests September deadline for public proposals

Floridians who have ideas for changing the state Constitution would have until Sept. 22 to submit proposals, under a tentative plan advanced Wednesday by a committee of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission.

The commission's Rules and Administration Committee also voted to set an Oct. 24 deadline for proposals submitted by the commission's 37 members, after an Oct. 10 deadline for submitting draft proposals.

The deadlines for the public and commission proposals will have to be ratified by the full commission, which will meet Sept. 19 in Tallahassee.

But the calendar recommended Wednesday by the Rules and Administration Committee outlines a potential path for the commission, a unique body that meets every 20 years and has the power to directly place proposed constitutional amendments on the November 2018 ballot.

In addition to the Sept. 19 meeting, the full commission will also meet Oct. 17 in Tallahassee.

Otherwise, this fall will be devoted to seven weeks of meetings by 10 committees that will debate constitutional proposals assigned to them. The committee meetings will begin in September, with the final meeting week in mid-December, although it could be extended.

Tim Cerio, chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee, said the tentative plan is to have the committees debate the proposals through December and then have the commission hold a series of public meetings across the state early next year on the proposals that have cleared the committees.

“The public can have an opportunity to comment because there is a more narrow focus,” Cerio said.

After the public hearings, the full commission would then take up the measures sometime after the Legislature's scheduled adjournment in early March, Cerio said.

For the public proposals, the Sept. 22 deadline is only one hurdle they will face.

Each proposal must then win a commission sponsor as well as support from at least nine other commission members before it becomes a measure that would be referred to one of the 10 committees for further consideration.

Cerio said he expects the full meetings of the commission on Sept. 19 and Oct. 17 to be used to review the public proposals. But he said even if a public proposal does not gain a sponsor or the support of 10 commission members, the measure could be introduced later by individual commission members.

Thus far, more than 1,000 public proposals have been submitted to the commission, including some 400 that are listed on the commission's website.

Some of the measures are being sponsored by residents of other states. Cerio said that is allowed under the commission's rules.

“Any member of the public can file a proposal,” Cerio said. “We want to provide a lot of access to this.”

The CRC's website is at https://www.flcrc.gov and it includes a link for submitting public proposals.


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