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Jax Daily Record Monday, Apr. 23, 201805:20 AM EST

Eight proposed changes to state constitution placed on ballot

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Florida Constitution Revision Commission adjourns after considering hundreds of changes.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission adjourned after more than a year of administrative and public hearings and deliberation on more 792 changes to the state constitution proposed by the public and 123 submitted by commission members.

Eight proposed revisions will be submitted by May 10 to the secretary of state for inclusion on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. In order to become law, a provision must be approved by at least 60 percent of voters.

Revision 1 would amend the constitution to establish additional rights for victims of crime;  create a new section to require state courts and administrative law judges to interpret statutes during litigation between the state and private parties rather than deferring to a state administrative agency’s interpretation; and create a new section to raise the mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 years to 75.

If Revision 2 is approved by voters, it would create a single State College System supervised by the state Board of Education comprising all public colleges and universities; require minimum vote thresholds for higher education boards of trustees and boards of governors in order to authorize new fees or increase existing fees; and establish the rights of survivors of first responders and military members to state-funded death benefits.

Revision 3 would establish a term limit of eight years for school board members; specify which schools are operated by local school boards; and require civic literacy education in public schools “to ensure that students enrolled in public education understand and are prepared to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens of a constitutional republic.”

If Revision 4 is approved by voters, the constitution would be amended to prohibit drilling for exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas in coastal waters; and establish a general prohibition on the use of vapor-generating electronic devices (e-cigarettes) in enclosed indoor workplaces.

Revision 5 would require the Legislature to convene for regular session on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each even-numbered year (it would continue to convene the first Tuesday after the first  Monday in March in odd-numbered years); establish the Office of Domestic Security and Counterterrorism within the Department of Law Enforcement; require, rather than authorize, the Legislature to provide for the Department of Veterans Affairs; and remove authority for a county charter or a special law to provide for choosing certain county officers in a manner other than election.

Proposed Revision 6 would remove an existing provision that authorizes laws that regulate or prohibit ownership, inheritance, disposition and possession of real property by aliens who are not eligible for citizenship; provide that repeal of a criminal statute would not affect the prosecution of any crime committed before such repeal; and delete an obsolete provision requiring development of a high-speed rail system.

Revision 7 would prohibit a member of the Legislature or a statewide elected office from representing an entity or individual for compensation before their previous state body for six years after leaving office, increased from the current two-year prohibition.

If Revision 8 is approved, greyhound racing and wagering on greyhounds and other dogs would be prohibited after Dec. 31, 2020.

Visit flcrc.gov to read the entire text of each revision.

The commission will next convene in 2037 to consider revisions that will appear on the 2038 ballot.

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