Danielle Neal (intern)
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January 31, 2018

Procedural Issues, Lack of Transparency Continue at Florida CRC

Early in 2017, the state convened its third Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The CRC was developed in 1969 as a response to significant Florida Constitutional Amendments, and has since sent 17 proposed amendments to the Florida ballot for voter consideration.

The intent of the CRC is for citizens to have a high level of input in the constitutional revision process. Proposed amendments can be brought forth by both commissioners themselves, and by citizens whose proposed amendments receive commissioner sponsorship. In theory, this means that Floridians have a say in the future of the Florida Constitution.

In reality, it is clear that Floridians must go out of their way to assess the issues being brought forth in the CRC in order to give any considerable input. Meeting materials that provide background information and analyses on the proposed amendments are often not released in time for committee members to be able to study and be fully informed before the meetings themselves. Thus, there is a considerable delay in the CRC process itself as members are unable to prepare for deliberation. This lack of timeliness likely leads to uninformed votes on important parts of the Florida constitution. As these constitutional amendments have widespread impact, it is important that members have the time to make these crucial decisions from a fully informed place.

Unless considerable changes are made to the CRC process, meaningful public involvement is unobtainable. If indeed public involvement is an important part of the CRC process, and there is no pre-ordained agenda, then the commission should institute the modifications noted above.