The Opportunity to Change the Constitution Every 20 Years

. . . the single most important thing in this [1968] constitution is to recognize that conditions will change and that the people's demands for government will change.

Neither the Legislature nor the Executive should be allowed in the future to block constitutional amendment or constitutional revision. The people must be the repository of power to change the constitution.
Chesterfield H. Smith, in
a speech to the Florida legislature on January 10, 1967

Smith was describing one of the most innovative features of the draft 1968 Constitution, Article XI, Section 2, which now reads, in part:

". . . in the tenth year following that in which this constitution is adopted, and each twentieth year thereafter, there shall be established a constitution revision commission . . ."

Each constitution revision commission shall examine the constitution of the state, except for matters relating to taxation or the state budgetary process, hold public hearings, and, not later than 180 days prior to the next general election, file with the secretary of state its proposal, if any, of a revision of this constitution or any part of it.

The commission would consist of 37 members: the Attorney General, 15 members appointed by the Governor, nine appointed by the Speaker of the House, nine by the President of the Senate, and three by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

In 1988, the legislature and voters amended this section to establish a separate Taxation and Budget Reform Commission. It meets every 10 years to examine the state budget process, revenue needs, appropriateness of the tax structure, and governmental efficiency, and to propose changes to state statutes or the constitution. This commission is next scheduled to meet in 2000 and propose constitutional amendments, if any, to Florida voters in that year's general election.

In 1994, the legislature enacted a statute establishing the Article V Task Force to examine Florida's judicial system among other matters. It reviewed proposals to combine circuit and county courts into a single-tier trial court; the process of electing and retaining judges and justices, and their training, qualifications, and disciplinary process. The task force submitted its recommendations to the legislature in 1996.

Florida now has more than 2.3 million children enrolled in its schools.