State Seal Issue Survey

Student Handout D


What is the Constitution Revision Commission and why does it exist? Is it another effective means of holding government directly accountable to the people or is it a non-representative body making recommendations which are not necessarily the will of "the people"?

The Commission is comprised of appointed individuals. The Florida Constitution outlines the appointment of such individuals in Article XI, Section 2. The thirty-seven members of the Constitution Revision Commission will include

(1) the attorney general of the state;

(2) fifteen members selected by the governor;

(3) nine members selected by the speaker of the house of representatives and nine members selected by the president of the senate, and

(4) three members selected by the chief justice of the supreme court of Florida with the advice of the justices.

Public hearings will be held and recommendations filed for revisions to the Florida Constitution not later than 180 days before the next general election. If the Commission recommends revisions, the proposed constitutional amendments will be placed on the ballot for voters to ultimately decide.

In the 1978 elections, the voters rejected ALL eight proposed constitutional amendments placed on the ballot by the Constitution Revision Commission. However, time has shown that many of the Commission's recommendations eventually found their way into our constitution and statutes.

Potential Issues of the 1997/98 Commission

Several issues which may receive the attention of the 1997-98 Florida Constitution Revision Commission include:

  • The right to privacy - (Article I) focus on contraceptives, right to life, parental notification, etc.
  • Education Funding - focus on requirement of , adequacy, and sufficiency in education funding
  • Tax Structure and Revenue Sources
  • Cabinet Reform
  • Judicial Reform - examine one level trial courts; merit selection/retention

Getting Involved

  • Study the Constitution and its revision processes
  • Visit the Commission's Website
  • Keep aware of appointments to the Constitution Revision Commission
  • Find out when the public hearings will be held (1997)
  • Communicate your views (letters, e-mail, public testimony, etc.)
  • Review proposed constitutional amendments, discuss the issues in your community, and submit your views
  • Vote on the proposals on November 3, 1998

Citizen Initiatives

Reflecting the characteristics of a direct democracy, citizen initiatives provide an opportunity for Florida citizens to directly influence government by proposing constitutional amendments.

Is this in conflict with our representative democracy or is it a necessary way to provide checks and balances within the system?

What citizen initiatives have Florida voters passed? Here's a look at a few recent initiatives:

  1. Tax limit: two-thirds vote required for constitutionally-imposed taxes (Nov. 5, 1996)

  2. Fee on Everglades Sugar Production for conservation and protection of natural resources and abatement of water pollution in the Everglades (Nov. 5, 1996)

  3. Limiting marine net fishing (Nov. 1994)

  4. Limited political terms in certain elective offices (Nov. 1992)

  5. English is the official language in Florida (Nov. 1988)

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