1 STATE OF FLORIDA
CONSTITUTION REVISION COMMISSION
8 VOLUME 2 OF 2
10 DATE: March 17, 1998
11 TIME: Commenced at 1:00 p.m.
Concluded at 6:35 p.m.
PLACE: The Senate Chamber
13 The Capitol
REPORTED BY: JULIE L. DOHERTY, RPR
15 MONA L. WHIDDON
16 Division of Administrative Hearings
The DeSoto Building
17 1230 Apalachee Parkway
2 W. DEXTER DOUGLASS, CHAIRMAN
3 CARLOS ALFONSO
CLARENCE E. ANTHONY
4 ANTONIO L. ARGIZ
JUDGE THOMAS H. BARKDULL, JR.
5 MARTHA WALTERS BARNETT
6 ROBERT M. BROCHIN
THE HONORABLE ROBERT A. BUTTERWORTH
7 KEN CONNOR
8 SENATOR ANDER CRENSHAW (ABSENT A.M. SESSION ONLY)
9 MARILYN EVANS-JONES
BARBARA WILLIAMS FORD-COATES
10 ELLEN CATSMAN FREIDIN
11 WILLIAM CLAY HENDERSON
THE HONORABLE TONI JENNINGS
12 THE HONORABLE GERALD KOGAN
13 JOHN F. LOWNDES
14 JACINTA MATHIS
JON LESTER MILLS
15 FRANK MORSANI
ROBERT LOWRY NABORS
16 CARLOS PLANAS
JUDITH BYRNE RILEY
17 KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE
SENATOR JIM SCOTT
18 H. T. SMITH
ALAN C. SUNDBERG
19 JAMES HAROLD THOMPSON
20 JUDGE GERALD T. WETHERINGTON
STEPHEN NEAL ZACK
IRA H. LEESFIELD
22 LYRA BLIZZARD LOGAN
2 (Quorum taken and recorded electronically.)
3 SECRETARY BLANTON: Quorum call, quorum call. All
4 commissioners, indicate your presence. All commissioners,
5 indicate your presence.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. We have got to get going
8 SECRETARY BLANTON: Quorum call, quorum call. All
9 commissioners, indicate your presence. A quorum present,
10 Mr. Chairman.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. If we'll come to
12 order, please. All right. I was hoping Commissioner
13 Connor would be here because he was going to handle the
14 next proposal. Commissioner Riley.
15 COMMISSIONER RILEY: If I may have a moment of
16 personal privilege, Mr. Chairman.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Certainly.
18 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I would like to take just a
19 second and this opportunity to introduce my husband, Odin
20 Toness, sitting in the front row there, who was finally
21 able to come with me.
23 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Thank you.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Would you tell us whether he was
25 for men and women alike?
1 COMMISSIONER RILEY: He is for whatever I am for,
2 Mr. Chairman.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: He is a wise man. We all admire
5 his intelligence and good judgment.
6 Commissioner Connor, the next proposal is Committee
7 Substitute for Proposal 16 by the Committee on Ethics,
8 myself, and you were co-introducer. And rather than me
9 leave the chair, I was going to ask you to present it.
10 But we'll read it first and proceed from there. This is
11 Proposal No. 16, please read.
12 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
13 No. 16, Article VI, Section 7, Florida Constitution, and
14 Article XII, Section 23, Florida Constitution; providing
15 for public financing of campaigns for elective statewide
16 office and for spending limits.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And there is an Amendment No. 1
18 on the table by the Style and Drafting Committee,
19 Commissioner Mills. Commissioner Lowndes will handle
21 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Just to clarify, did you call
22 for five hands, sir?
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, I didn't. Five hands. We
24 got it.
25 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Thank you.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Thank you.
2 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: The only change Style and
3 Drafting has come up with is a change in the last sentence
4 of the proposal, and it's simply a matter of
5 clarification. The last sentence deals with protecting
6 those people who use public funds, to the same extent they
7 are currently protected under the existing law. And the
8 last sentence, as was originally drafted, said that they
9 were protecting people who agreed to spending limits. And
10 the Style and Drafting Committee felt it was more correct
11 to say we were protecting the people who used public
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. All in favor of the
14 amendment, say aye; opposed?
15 (Verbal vote taken.)
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment is adopted. We are
17 now then on Proposal No. 16, as amended by Style and
18 Drafting's suggestion. And, Commissioner Connor, you are
19 recognized to present this proposal.
20 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We read it. We started to read
22 it. Read the amendment first that we just adopted.
23 READING CLERK: By Committee on Style and Drafting,
24 on Page 1, Line 24, strike "has agreed to spending limits"
25 and insert "uses public funds."
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. That has been adopted.
2 Now, Commissioner Connor.
3 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4 Ladies and gentlemen, I was very, very disturbed to read
5 an article in the newspaper a week or so ago about the
6 tort reform debate in which a leader of my party made the
7 statement to this effect: We promised business that if
8 they voted for our folks this go-around, then we would
9 pass this tort reform legislation.
10 Now, ladies and gentlemen, even Vernon Jordan
11 understands that one shouldn't get a quid pro quo. And
12 yet the statement that was made in the newspaper about the
13 tort reform issue very simply was that if you vote for
14 this, we promise you we will give you that. Now that is a
15 classic quid pro quo.
16 In other words, if a special interest group will
17 support one group of candidates for a particular party,
18 then in exchange for that support, having made that
19 investment, they get a return on that investment by
20 stripping somebody else's rights from them. Now we all
21 know, those of us who have been exposed to government,
22 know that this kind of thing goes on all of the time.
23 Although it's usually not acknowledged with that kind of
24 forthrightness. But the effect is the same.
25 The effect is to strip the public of confidence in
1 the process. And because ordinary people believe that if
2 they aren't heavy hitters in the financial arena, that
3 they don't have a voice. That if they aren't prepared to
4 pony up with a check, that they are effectively
5 disenfranchised. The only thing that I regret about this
6 proposal is that it doesn't go far enough to apply to the
7 Legislature. It just limits it to statewide offices. So
8 in that respect, it is a very modest proposal.
9 But, frankly, Mr. Chairman and I want to be political
10 realists, and we know that at this point we don't have the
11 votes to expand the protection of the public in this
12 regard. I just want to encourage you in the strongest
13 terms to give the people a chance to say by their vote on
14 this constitutional provision that given the choice, we
15 prefer to use public finances to promote the public
16 interest in preference to special interest money to
17 promote special interests.
18 Because, ladies and gentlemen, as the tort reform
19 debate illustrates, in return for that investment in a
20 political campaign, what's typically being traded off is
21 other people's rights or other people's money. Because
22 those who invest in political campaigns are doing so as a
23 cost of doing business, expecting that if they ride the
24 right horse to office, they are going to get a return on
25 that political investment. And typically it's going to
1 come from the public treasury, whether it's in the form of
2 tax relief or special interest legislation or whatnot.
3 I urge you to support this important proposal to
4 restore public confidence in the electoral process. Thank
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Mills is next and
7 then Commissioner Wetherington.
8 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, in support,
9 democracy is not only for the rich. In Florida, if you
10 are running for statewide office, you had either better be
11 rich or know a lot of rich people. We have had very, very
12 positive experiences with General Milligan, who used
13 public financing, the Governor, who used public financing.
14 This simply is an honesty provision.
15 I agree with Commissioner Connor. If we would make a
16 good investment of public funds, it would be to remove the
17 influence of so many special interest groups from the
18 electoral process. This is a good start. Actually, I
19 think Commissioner Thompson, when he was Speaker, started
20 this out for statewide offices.
21 It is a good idea from a bipartisan point of view.
22 It keeps democracy available in a statewide sense -- and
23 this state is as big as many countries -- to people who
24 have the capacity to run for office, but maybe not the
1 This is an important, consistent electoral proposal
2 with the rest of our electoral proposals, all of which are
3 about open access to the process. Access to the process
4 isn't enough if you don't have the finances, and this
5 makes it publicly available. I encourage your support.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: There is an amendment on the
7 table by Commissioner Langley. I'll recognize you and you
8 can move the amendment and I'll ask them to read the
9 amendment and you move it. Would you read the amendment,
11 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Langley, on Page 1,
12 Line 21, delete "sufficient."
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. As I understand it,
14 you are just striking the word "sufficient."
15 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Yes, because of its -- and,
16 Members, because of its ambiguity. I don't know what
17 sufficient means and I don't want the Supreme Court to
18 have to decide what sufficient means. If we just put the
19 funding in there, then the funding will have to fit the
20 laws on spending limits and everything else. I meant to
21 talk to Commissioner Connor about it before I did it. Do
22 you have any objection to that?
23 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I don't. The only concern I
24 have, candidly, is that if we delete "sufficient" and
25 somebody comes back and reads these proceedings and they
1 say, Well, they deleted language that intended for it to
2 be sufficient, so it must have meant insufficient.
3 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: That's not the intent.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I introduced it and I think it
5 probably makes it constitutionally better language because
6 it says they shall do it. I don't think the word
7 "sufficient" necessarily adds anything as long as it's
8 understood it's not taking anything away to take it out.
9 Now, Commissioner Wetherington.
10 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: I'll just mention on
11 that, sufficient is obviously implied. If it's implied,
12 why not leave it there?
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I don't think it really makes
14 much difference to me personally, but I'm not going to
15 enter the debate at this point. All in favor of the
16 amendment, say aye; opposed?
17 (Verbal vote taken.)
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment carries. Now, as
19 amended, we are on the Proposal No. 16. Any further
20 debate on No. 16? Commissioner Thompson, you spoke before
21 I think. Commissioner Wetherington.
22 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Question. Commissioner
23 Connor, could you just explain to us how it works?
24 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Yes, sir. Under the current
25 system, in order to qualify for public campaign financing,
1 a candidate has to demonstrate that they have a certain
2 amount of traction and a certain amount of critical mass
3 in the marketplace, in the political marketplace. Once
4 they cross that threshold and demonstrate that they have
5 that traction, then they may get matching funds from the
6 state for contributions made by individuals to that
7 campaign up to $250.
8 And then that -- those contributions, ultimately,
9 have a certain limit. In other words, you can't get
10 beyond a certain amount. So, it's not unlimited
11 financing. And under this proposal, that methodology, as
12 I understand it, will continue to be carried forward,
13 unless there were some kind of change in the future. But
14 it points out that general law implementing this paragraph
15 shall be at least as protective of effective competition
16 by a candidate who has agreed to spending limits as the
17 general law in effect January 1, 1998.
18 So the present law and the present system would wind
19 up being the floor, if you will, for public financing.
20 The Legislature, by general law, could make more -- could
21 provide different provisions in the future, but not less
22 than the provisions that they currently have. Does
23 that --
24 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Yes. Why do we need it?
25 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: We need it because the public
1 has lost confidence in the electoral process.
2 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: How will this help
3 restore the public confidence is what I'm trying to get
5 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Because, in my estimation, what
6 this does is it helps level the playing field. It does
7 exactly what Commissioner Mills indicated. One, it
8 doesn't mean that you have to be a rich person or have a
9 lot of rich friends to run for public office.
10 And the general public, the people who aren't rich,
11 which is most of the folks here in the state of Florida,
12 feel, and I think properly so, that their voice has been
13 diluted by virtue of their inability to contribute
14 financially to the same extent as those who have special
15 interest money to support political candidates. And so
16 they have become cynical, withdrawn and apathetic,
17 believing in many respects that their vote doesn't make a
18 difference, because really it is a vote plus money is what
19 it takes to make it in today's political arena.
20 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Thank you.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Is there any further debate?
22 Commissioner Langley as an opponent.
23 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: This sounds like a great idea
24 and it is another curative measure that's going to make
25 everything fair and just and honest. The problem is
1 people are involved.
2 And the problem that I see with it is that there are
3 people that don't really like any politicians. Even when
4 you ran for governor, believe it or not, Kenny, there were
5 people that did not like you, and they don't want to
6 contribute to your campaign. And there are people out
7 there that run for office that have some ideas that are so
8 controversial and so much in opposition to what a person's
9 principles may be, now you are going to tax those people
10 and give it to politicians.
11 Many of them are just out there as gadflies, just
12 running. And yet we are going to make people who have no
13 interest in politics, who can't afford to pay the taxes
14 they pay, this money, folks, is real money. It's not
15 Monopoly money and it's not Scotty's money, it's real
16 money that is being taxed to give to politicians, much of
17 which is wasted in campaigns, if you have ever run one.
18 And it's just not right to make people participate in
19 somebody's campaign that is running on issues that are
20 absolutely contrary to their beliefs.
21 It's worked for 100 years. It's not perfect. Do you
22 think this cures this problem? Do you think the amendment
23 sounds good? So the big law firm of Mr. Lowndes with 85
24 law partners says, hey, guys, send Kenny Connor $100
25 apiece and they will match it. We just doubled our
1 contributions. Or the labor union does the same thing, or
2 the real estate office with 400 employees. Hey, guys,
3 that guy is all for real estate, send him $200 apiece and
4 the government will match it and give him $200 more.
5 It doesn't cure anything. It is a step in the wrong
6 direction. It is working, it isn't perfect, but it is the
7 best in the world. Why are we going to mess with it?
8 COMMISSIONER MORSANI: Commissioners, I rise in
9 opposition to this proposal for some of the same reasons
10 that I gave before, of course, but I have to differ with
11 our good friend Mr. Connor and -- Commissioner Connor.
12 You know, 30 years ago in the legislative body of
13 this state, it was comprised of 60 percent, or excess, of
14 lawyers. A decade ago, lawyers made up 44 percent of the
15 legislative body in the state of Florida. Currently it's
16 27 percent. That doesn't say that lawyers shouldn't be in
17 the Legislature. I'm only showing you that that's how
18 it's changed in the last 25 years.
19 And so today we are not electing people to the Senate
20 and the House of Representatives in our Legislature
21 because of, quote, any monies that are out there, they are
22 running in their local communities. Now the same thing is
23 in a statewide basis.
24 I -- you know, it's amazing, we have said in this
25 body a number of times, if anyone was to say how everyone
1 was going to vote in here, none of us know how anyone is
2 going to vote on these issues. That's our strength, and
3 not our weakness.
4 But I just think this is wrong. I believe that we
5 should not have public financing. I'm opposed to, on the
6 federal tax bill where you can just have, you know, one
7 dollar, checked off. I've never checked off that one
8 dollar and I don't plan on checking it off. And I don't
9 think we need to have public financing in our state. It's
10 wrong, it's not -- it's, as Commissioner Langley said,
11 it's worked for several hundred years, I would hope we
12 wouldn't change this system. I would urge you to vote
13 against this proposal.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Smith.
15 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise
16 to support this proposal. Please remember that this
17 government was established by the aristocracy of this
18 country. The Declaration of Independence was written by
19 the wealthy, wealthy white men who said they pledge their
20 lives and their fortunes.
21 One of the reasons, Commissioner Langley, that this
22 nation is so great is because it refuses to remain static.
23 It is alive, it's vibrant, not only constitutionally but
24 legislatively. Who would have thought just a few years
25 ago issues like flextime, issues like working women having
1 time off to care for their children? People said, We
2 don't need to deal with this issue, we have been doing it
3 this way for 200 years. We have to be flexible.
4 Your ability to serve your state, to serve your
5 county, to serve your city should not be dependent upon
6 the balance in your checkbook. We need to level the
7 playing field. I really respect those of you who say, I
8 don't want my money to go for a particular candidate, but
9 all of our tax dollars go to people or institutions or
10 organizations we don't like, in terms of subsidies, in
11 terms of who gets the tax breaks, in terms of a whole lot
12 of issues.
13 So this is not some new system that we are setting up
14 where our tax dollars are going to possibly candidates we
15 don't like. What we are doing is we are saying after 200
16 years of necessarily, by the way we have established
17 things, kind of limited the access to public service. Not
18 to public service, I take that back, to public office --
19 because everybody can serve. Limiting or marginalizing
20 the ability of people who are working-class people to
21 participate in politics, to participate in public office,
22 and thereby serve in public service.
23 The time for that should end. Is this a panacea?
24 Almost nothing that we are doing here is a panacea. What
25 we are trying to do in this relay race of justice is to do
1 our share to move our state one step further toward making
2 equal opportunity for all available, whether it is in the
3 area of education, whether it's in the area of
4 environment, or whether it is in the area of public office
6 And so while I share the concerns of the
7 commissioners who have risen to say they don't want their
8 money going to a particular candidate, I'm proud to
9 support this because I really think that working people
10 from my community and working people from your community
11 will have a better chance to step forward and serve and
12 not just allow service to public office holding to be for
13 the aristocracy. Thank you.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Corr.
15 COMMISSIONER CORR: Thank you. Just a quick question
16 for Commissioner Connor. Commission Connor, could this be
17 done without this amendment to the Constitution?
18 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: It can be done.
19 COMMISSIONER CORR: Okay. And it is an existing law,
20 already, right?
21 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: There is an existing law on
22 public financing, which is -- the vitality of which is in
24 COMMISSIONER CORR: To clarify now and to speak in
25 opposition. Two reasons to vote against this. The first
1 one is that it is already law. It can already be done,
2 it's already been done in previous campaigns in the
3 Legislature. Bob Milligan keeps being used as an example
4 of that. So that is the first reason to vote against it.
5 The second reason is that this is the wrong kind of
6 reform, if you can even call it reform. I think
7 Commissioner Langley said it best. What this does, it
8 doesn't limit the contributions or the interests of those
9 special interests and lobbyists, et cetera. All it does
10 is just add taxpayers' money to the mix. All it does is
11 add more money, it doesn't limit spending like the title
12 claims that it does.
13 So this would be one more in a series of, quote,
14 reform proposals about campaign financing that are brought
15 forth to the public. Year by year we hear about reform on
16 a federal level, on a state level, but it's always the
17 same. I agree as much as anybody on this commission, but
18 one of the greatest concerns we have in this process is
19 the way elections and campaigns are controlled by the
20 interests of those that hover around these lobbies out
21 here; whatever you want to call them, special interests or
22 whatnot. That's one of the greatest concerns we have.
23 I'm always baffled by how the public doesn't seem to
24 understand that and doesn't seem to rally around issues
25 like that. But for some reason, no change ever gets made.
1 So this starts to sound right, but it really does
2 nothing in the final analysis other than just add
3 taxpayers' money to the mix. I think it just is going to
4 add to the problem, make it even worse in the final
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further debate?
7 Commissioner Connor, if you would like me to, I would take
8 the floor on this since I introduced it.
9 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: That would be fine. I'd be
10 proud for you to close, Mr. Chairman.
11 (Commissioner Thompson assumes the Chair.)
12 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Douglass to
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have
15 heard the debate, I have heard it over and over. Those
16 that want money to run government oppose public financing,
17 they oppose any reform in campaign contributions. Those
18 who are committed to the vested interests running our
19 country, running our state take that position. That's not
20 to say that they are not sincere or that they have
21 deep-seated convictions that are not rooted in the greed
22 that is apparent in some of the people that invest in our
23 political process.
24 But it is to say that if we want to do something to
25 allow the people to vote on it, this is the only vehicle.
1 This is the only vehicle. They cannot vote on what's
2 before the Legislature. They cannot vote in that body
3 where so many interests have verged with financial
4 investments. But they have to do it with the people.
5 And I see nothing wrong with submitting this to the
6 people for including it in their Constitution as a
7 requirement that this be done in these elections. I agree
8 with Commissioner Connor, it would be better if we could
9 apply it to all elections. It would certainly go a long
10 way to clean the public's view of what's happening. The
11 big threat to our form of government today is the concept
12 of our citizens that our political leaders are not free
13 agents and are not agents of the people. I know that most
14 of them are, but the concept is they are not.
15 Therefore, I think it only appropriate that we afford
16 the opportunity to people to vote on this. And there was
17 another person who was elected with public financing that
18 everybody forgets and that's Commissioner Brogan, along
19 with Commissioner Milligan. And Commissioner Milligan, of
20 course, never would have won without it.
21 And all you do is you say, I'm going to comply with
22 the spending limits. And the other fellow says, okay, go
23 ahead. And the other guy says, I'm not going to comply.
24 The person that does comply is afforded public financing
25 beyond the amount set, which is $500,000 at the current
1 time in the governor's race.
2 So I think that if we really want to be a commission
3 that's remembered as thinking about the people, as
4 Commissioner Smith so adequately put it, then we should
5 vote yes on this and allow it to go to the ballot next
6 November. Thank you very much.
7 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: The gentleman having closed,
8 the question recurs on the adoption of Proposal No. 16.
9 The Secretary will unlock the machine and the members will
10 proceed to vote. All members voting.
11 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
12 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: The Secretary will lock the
13 machine and count the vote.
14 READING CLERK: Twenty-four yeas, 12 nays,
15 Mr. Chairman.
16 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: So the measure goes to Style
17 and Drafting for future reference. Take up and read
18 Proposal No. 79.
19 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
20 No. 79, Article VI, Section 1, Florida Constitution;
21 providing that requirements for placing the name of a
22 candidate with no party affiliation or minor party
23 candidate on an election ballot must not be greater than
24 the requirements for major party candidates.
25 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. Commissioner Riley, is
1 this your proposal? All right. There is a Style and
2 Drafting amendment. Would you read the Style and Drafting
3 amendment, please?
4 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
5 Drafting, on Page 1, Lines 20-25, strike the underlined
6 and insert: "however, the requirements for a candidate
7 with no party affiliation, or for a candidate of a minor
8 party, for placement of the candidate's name on the ballot
9 shall be no greater than the requirements for a candidate
10 of the party having the largest number of registered
12 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. Show me five hands
13 right quick so we can get to the Style and Drafting
14 amendment. Thank you. Commissioner Lowndes to explain
15 the Style and Drafting amendment.
16 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: The Style and Drafting
17 amendment simply changed several prepositions. They
18 changed some "of" to "for" and some "from" to "of." And
19 they changed the word "shall" -- changed the word "must"
20 to "shall," feeling that shall was the better language in
21 the Constitution. It does not change the meaning or
22 there's nothing substantive with respect to it. They're
23 purely grammatical changes.
24 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Debate or questions on the
25 amendment? Debate or questions on the amendment? Hearing
1 none, all those in favor of the amendment say aye; those
2 opposed, say no.
3 (Verbal vote taken.)
4 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Show the amendment adopted.
5 Now we are on the proposal as amended. Is there debate on
6 the proposal as amended? Commissioner Riley, you are
7 recognized to close.
8 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I can open and close very
9 quickly. This has been unanimously voted on. I would
10 sincerely hope that there's not much that I can say that
11 can increase that number. So therefore I will remind you
12 that Florida has the most restrictive ballot access laws
13 in the nation, and this is our one opportunity to fix it.
14 And sincerely hope that we all continue to support the
15 idea of doing so. Thank you.
16 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: The lady having closed, the
17 question recurs on adoption of Proposal No. 79. The
18 Secretary will open the machine and the members will
19 proceed to vote. All members voting.
20 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
21 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: All members voted. The
22 Secretary will lock the machine and announce the vote.
23 READING CLERK: Thirty-three yeas, zero nays, Mr.
25 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: And so the proposal goes to
1 Style and Drafting. Take up and read Proposal 128 by
2 Commissioner Ford-Coates.
3 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 128, Article VI, Section
4 5 of the Florida Constitution; providing for primary
6 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Ford-Coates, you
7 are recognized to explain. Is there an amendment on Style
8 and Drafting? Need five hands. Seeing five hands, we are
9 on this measure.
10 Is there an amendment on the desk?
11 READING CLERK: Amendment on the desk, Mr. Chairman.
12 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Read the amendment.
13 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
14 Drafting, on Page 1, Line 8, strike everything after the
15 proposing clause and insert: Section 1. Section 5 of
16 Article VI of the Florida Constitution as revised by
17 amending that section to insert lengthy amendment.
18 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Who is going to explain that?
19 Commissioner Ford-Coates, you are recognized.
20 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Commissioners, this
21 amendment merely states more clearly what we intended to
22 do by this primary reform package. The new wording says,
23 If all candidates for an office have the same party
24 affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the
25 general election, all qualified electors, regardless of
1 party affiliation, may vote in the primary elections for
2 that office. I think it's fairly self-explanatory.
3 (Chairman Douglass resumes the Chair.)
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: On the amendment, Commissioner
6 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: If you want to go ahead and
7 adopt the amendment, I'll speak on the bill. Either one.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think we are on the amendment
9 at the moment; aren't we? Any discussion on the amendment
10 or debate? If not, all in favor of the amendment say aye;
12 (Verbal vote taken.)
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It carries. Now we are on the
14 proposal. The proponent of the proposal was Commissioner
15 Ford-Coates and you may proceed.
16 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Thank you, Commissioner.
17 I first of all want to thank Commissioner Mills for
18 working with me on this initial proposal. I appreciated
19 his help.
20 Commissioners, Proposal 128 returns to the people the
21 simple right to vote for their elected officials. Our
22 Constitution states, quite clearly, that there shall be a
23 general election to select our public officials. The
24 reality is that many times the public official is selected
25 in the primary because no one else has filed from another
1 party or as an independent. That means that only a
2 fraction of the public selects the public official.
3 In Pinellas County in 1996 more than 57 percent of
4 the electorate could not vote for their school board, tax
5 collector or clerk of circuit court. That's over half the
6 voters who had no opportunity to vote on these important
7 officials. Every public official should be acting in the
8 best interests of all their constituents and should be
9 elected by all their constituents. This proposal will
10 return the vote to all the electors.
11 I would point out that you have on your desk several
12 articles and editorials that have appeared around the
13 state on this issue. And one in particular, a Sarasota
14 Herald Tribune, was written last Saturday. And that
15 newspaper asked people to call my office and let me know
16 how they felt about this proposal. I want you to know in
17 that 24-hour period after this came out, of course we
18 weren't taking phone calls until Monday, we received over
19 150 calls, faxes and letters delivered in support of this
20 proposal in that very short period of time.
21 This is something that appeals to the average man or
22 woman on the street. They want to be able to vote for
23 their public officials. It is time to return the
24 franchise to those people.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Lowndes.
1 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Yes, I would like to speak in
2 favor of this proposal. You know, we just passed
3 unanimously a ballot access proposal. This is really
4 ballot access, it really is affording more people the
5 right to vote. And my sense is we passed the last one
6 unanimously, we should pass this one unanimously. Because
7 we are really giving more people the right to vote by
8 doing this. Thank you.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Langley and then
10 Commissioner Barkdull.
11 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: I rise in opposition. I don't
12 particularly like party politics, and you know, it's kind
13 of ugly sometimes, but it works. And it is a mechanism
14 that is set up from the very committee level to promote
15 anti-interest people and to promote a philosophy. And
16 between the parties, there are philosophical differences,
17 including the Libertarians or any other parties that may
18 come up.
19 But it's easy to see the problems with this proposal.
20 You have a county -- well, you know, when I first ran in
21 Lake County, the Republican registration was 28 percent.
22 And I still won, somehow. They didn't know me that well
23 then. You know, it's still possible to do that. The
24 registration now in Lake County is 63 percent Republican.
25 When I first ran -- I'll tell you-all a secret not
1 many people know. When I came back from Korea in 19, that
2 was this century, in 1957 --
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The war was over.
4 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: I know that, I was in
5 occupation. You-all made such a mess over there that we
6 had to clean it up.
7 But anyway, I came back and I had turned 21, and my
8 dad took me up to the county registrar's office, a lady
9 named Catherine Baker, she had been there for about 30
10 years. And I said I want to register Republican because I
11 had known General Eisenhower and I thought he was great.
12 Son, there ain't no use registering Republican in Lake
13 County, you would never get to vote. And so I registered
14 Democrat. Not for long, not for long.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Is it true confessions time?
16 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Yes, but it makes a point. It
17 is like the little puppies, at 10 days my eyes were opened
18 and then I went back to register Republican. Be that as
19 it may, Republicans didn't win many elections in those
20 days, but the philosophy of the Republican party developed
21 and caught the pleasure and the attraction of the middle
22 class people and we built a party in this state. And we
23 are still building a party in this state.
24 And now you want to destroy the party system. Give
25 ole' Slick Willie credit, he captured the middle, you
1 know, no strong Democrat and no strong Republican vote in
2 this country in 1996. He appealed to them. And that's
3 all well and good. What I'm saying is don't destroy the
4 party system. And in doing this, you are destroying the
5 party system.
6 Scenario: I'm running for Republican nomination,
7 have a record as a conservative, Democrats put up a
8 liberal Republican whom I could beat hands down in any
9 other election, but in the primary, all of the Democrats
10 in the county run out and vote for the liberal Republican.
11 Now what is the party philosophy? It's destroyed.
12 And that can happen the other way in Democratic
13 counties where the Republicans would put up a
14 conservative, very conservative Democrat and run out in
15 the Democratic primary, where there's very little turnout,
16 and vote in the conservative Democrat and destroy the
17 liberal bent of the Democratic party in that county.
18 You know, it's working like it is, again, and I
19 implore you that this is not a good idea. If you want to
20 vote in my primary, Ms. Ford-Coates, we'll let you
21 register and you can come vote. Thank you.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barton is next,
23 followed by Barnett and then Connor.
24 COMMISSIONER BARTON: Commissioner Langley has really
25 stated everything that I was going to state except that I
1 would remind you that the primaries are a process by which
2 the party selects their candidates. And it taints the
3 process when the people of other parties vote in those
4 primaries. I might add, too, I had the same experience in
5 1965 in Collier County when I went down to register. I
6 was a little tougher than you, I registered Republican
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barnett is next,
9 followed by Commissioner Connor.
10 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: I would like to speak in
11 support of this proposal. The issue to me -- and I have
12 voted against it consistently. I voted against this
13 proposal consistently, but I have been worrying and
14 thinking about it and I want to tell you why I now believe
15 that we should support it.
16 And it hasn't got, to me, anything to do with
17 Democrats or Republicans. I was born a Democrat, I'll
18 probably die a Democrat, but I vote often for Republicans
19 and I raised a Republican. My son is a Republican.
21 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: But to me, it is not about
22 party politics. Since I've been registered to vote, I
23 have only missed voting in one or two elections,
24 regardless of what it was. To me, the right to vote, the
25 privilege to vote in this country is one of the great
1 privileges we have in a free society. And I honor it and
2 I do my best to participate in the process.
3 And I have become convinced that Commissioner
4 Ford-Coates is right, that many, many times we are faced
5 with a situation, usually in local political issues, very
6 local races where many people cannot exercise that right
7 to vote. Too few people in this country today exercise
8 the privilege to vote for their elected officials. And if
9 this proposal in any way encourages more people to go to
10 the polls, it wouldn't matter to me which party, whether
11 it's Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian or whatever.
12 If it encourages people to go out and speak and
13 participate in the political process, then I think
14 whatever faults I thought it had are far outweighed by the
15 benefits of exercising our rights to elect our governing
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Connor.
18 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Ladies and gentlemen, this
19 proposal not only enhances voter turnout and participation
20 of people in elections, it enhances the party system.
21 Why? Because you are not required to choose between what
22 political party you are going to be a member of and
23 whether or not, on the other hand, you are going to be
24 able to vote in the election.
25 And that is the choice, the Hobson's choice, that we
1 give many voters today. We say, If you join this
2 particular political party, then you won't be able to play
3 a meaningful role in your community in the elections that
4 take place. That ought not to be.
5 Now what this proposal does is it allows people to
6 join the party that most, most nearly equates with their
7 own philosophy of principle, and enables them to
8 participate all the way through, even through the
9 election, where the primary election is in effect the
10 general election. It doesn't force them to join a party
11 as a matter of convenience, it enables them to join a
12 party based on conscience because they won't forfeit their
13 right to vote in the process.
14 I suggest to you, Mr. Langley, that if this provision
15 had been in effect for a longer period of time, Florida
16 would have moved toward Republican dominance long ago,
17 because the effect would have not been a chilling effect
18 preventing people from registering Republican because they
19 gave up their right to vote.
20 So if you support the party system and you believe
21 people ought to be aligned and affiliated with parties
22 that most narrowly mirror their consciences and
23 convictions, I urge you to support this proposal.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any further debate? If not, are
25 you ready to vote? Oh, excuse me. Commissioner
1 Ford-coates, you get to close.
2 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Thank you, my last chance
3 on the issue. Commissioners, let me give you some figures
4 to illustrate how this proposal will correct the problem
5 that we face in these so-called primaries.
6 If you have a voter pool of 100,000 adults, potential
7 voters, half are registered to vote, you have got 50,000
8 registered voters. If, as in Pinellas County, 57 percent
9 are not members of the majority party, we have 21,500
10 people who can vote in the primary. If there's a
11 50 percent turnout, 10,500 voters, then to win that
12 primary election all you need is 5,251 votes, that's
13 50 percent plus one. 5,251 votes in a population of
14 100,000 people could elect the public officials to serve
15 that area.
16 Is that the kind of mandate we want in Florida? I
17 submit to you it is not. We need to do everything we can
18 to increase voter participation.
19 In closing, with apologies to a good Republican,
20 Abraham Lincoln, let me take editorial license with his
21 good advice about how often you can fool the people and
22 say to you that today in the state of Florida we have
23 public officials elected by only some of the voters all of
24 the time. And we have public officials in Florida elected
25 by all of the voters only some of the time. It is time
1 that all our officials are elected by all of the voters
2 all of the time. Please vote for this good proposal.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We'll unlock the
4 machine and vote.
5 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has everybody voted? Everybody
7 has now voted. There are 37 votes cast. Lock the machine
8 and announce the vote.
9 READING CLERK: Twenty-five yeas, 12 nays,
10 Mr. Chairman.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That last little bit did it
12 there, Commissioner Ford-Coates. Those statistics won it
13 over. That is going to Style and Drafting for grouping.
14 We now move to Proposal 149 by Commissioner Scott.
15 Would you read it?
16 READING CLERK: Proposal 149, Article IV, Section 5,
17 Florida Constitution; providing for the candidate for the
18 office of governor to run without a lieutenant governor
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. This one passed 28 to 2.
21 If there's not five hands, it'll be sent to Style and
22 Drafting. Not seeing five hands, it's sent to Style and
24 (Off-the-record comment.)
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: If we don't get five hands
1 there's no amendment. It doesn't have one unless -- oh,
2 Style and Drafting has an amendment? We still need five
3 hands, I think.
4 (Off-the-record comment.)
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Style and Drafting all
6 raised their hands. Commissioner Scott, you were doing
7 good. Read the amendment, please.
8 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
9 Drafting on Page 1, Lines 21-23, strike the underlined
10 language and insert: "In primary elections, candidates
11 for the office of governor may choose to run without a
12 lieutenant governor candidate."
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: On the amendment. It is just a
14 style amendment is all, it doesn't change --
15 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. It does not
16 change the meaning at all.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott is a
18 proponent. Do you have any --
19 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I was not able to get to the
20 meeting last night, but Style and Drafting appears to me,
21 instead of saying "all candidates may" it just says
22 "candidates may." And the difference would be that they
23 all wouldn't have to choose to do it. So it just
24 clarifies that some may do it.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. So you support the
1 amendment. All in favor of the amendment, say aye.
3 (Verbal vote taken.)
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: As amended, any debate? If not,
5 if you're ready to vote, we'll vote. This is the one that
6 does away with the need for the governor to choose his
7 lieutenant governor's candidate in the primaries. He has
8 to still do it in the general election. Commissioner
9 Barkdull, you rise to a question?
10 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Yes, sir. Would Chairman
11 Mills or whoever from Style and Drafting is handling this
12 amendment. As I understand this amendment or the proposal
13 as it is now amended, we have several candidates running
14 in a primary for the office of governor, some of them can
15 select a lieutenant governor and I guess it'll be up to
16 the Legislature as whether they appear in tandem on the
17 ballot, and others that don't, which I'm trying to find
18 out whether that will change the way the ballot language
19 will be.
20 COMMISSIONER MILLS: This exactly tracks the intent
21 of the original language, which means you just have a
22 choice. You can run with or without.
23 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: That's the point I wanted to
24 be sure that everybody understood, that this is changing
25 it where some people may make a selection and others may
1 not. Now my question is, would they be in tandem, those
2 that had selected a lieutenant governor, would both names
3 appear or just the top man?
4 (Off-the-record comment.)
5 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes, that's exactly right, man
6 or woman. That since it, this only authorizes them to run
7 without it, it would be my interpretation that it would
8 remain, they would run in tandem on the ballot, if they so
10 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Then we would have possibly
11 one pair of candidates, a pair of females running in
12 tandem and a male running separately.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Only in the primary though.
14 COMMISSIONER MILLS: In the primary, correct.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You still have to have in tandem
16 in the general election. You shouldn't have said that,
17 that may appeal to a lot of people, Commissioner Barkdull.
18 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: It makes it an interesting
19 proposition. I just wanted to be sure everybody is as
20 interested --
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think so. We had a lot of
22 debate on this and it was adopted, 29 to 2. If you are
23 ready to vote we'll proceed to vote on the amendment,
24 proposal. Unlock the machine and let's vote.
25 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
3 READING CLERK: Thirty-one yeas, 2 nays,
4 Mr. Chairman.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We'll proceed to the
6 next proposal, which is by Commissioner Marshall, Proposal
7 No. 158. Would you read the proposal, please?
8 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 158, Article IX, Section
9 4, Florida Constitution; providing for nonpartisan school
10 board elections.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Are there any amendments?
12 READING CLERK: None on the desk.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: None on the desk. Now do we have
14 five hands to revisit this? It only got 21, but we still
15 have to have five hands to vote on it again. We have five
16 hands. It only got 21 votes, but we still have to bring
17 it up.
18 Commissioner Marshall is the proposer and you are
19 recognized, Commissioner Marshall.
20 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
21 Commissioners. I do believe in partisan politics, I
22 believe political parties and public policy are
23 strengthened by active participation in partisanship in
24 elections. I think that helps to strengthen public
25 policy, sharpens the debate, the contrast between
1 different political philosophies. But I think there are a
2 few occasions when public offices, officers' civic duty is
3 burdened by partisanship, and I think this is one of
5 I think school board members can function more
6 effectively, carry out their duties more faithfully if
7 they are elected in nonpartisan elections. I ask you for
8 a moment to think about the issues, the most prominent,
9 the most widely debated and discussed issues that school
10 board members are likely to take up. They would include,
11 for example, the establishment of school attendance zones.
12 There's a major article in this morning's Tallahassee
13 Democrat about the controversy that's in this community
14 over the assignment of students to particular zones within
15 the district.
16 Another issue would be teacher compensation, an issue
17 that school board members are burdened with that ought not
18 to be a matter of political consideration. Another would
19 be discipline of students, expelling students for
20 misbehavior. Another common issue would be the selection
21 of school sites when new school buildings are to be
23 The pernicious effects of making politicians into
24 those who set school board policy, who determine policy
25 for the school board, in other words, school board
1 members, I think, imposes on them a burden we ought not to
2 ask them to carry.
3 If an elected school board member, elected in a
4 partisan campaign, has to answer to the electors on such
5 issues as those I've just mentioned; the disciplining of
6 students, zoning, the selection of school board sites, I
7 think that imposes on those school board members a burden
8 that they ought not have to carry, and in many cases do
9 not want to carry.
10 A few minutes ago, Commissioner Langley -- is he
11 still in the room?
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: He's here.
13 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: A few minutes ago
14 Commissioner Langley made the following statement and I
15 thought so much of it that I wrote it down. He said, I
16 don't like party politics. And I would like to see the
17 hands of those who believe that. He then went into a
18 discussion of the means by which Commissioner Langley was
19 elected after he took off the uniform and decided to run
20 for public office.
21 I liked the description he gave several weeks ago
22 when he was attributing a quotation to a legislator from
23 the Panhandle named Billy Joe Rishe [phonetic], when he
24 said that Mr. Rishe described his success in politics by
25 saying, half the stuff my political opponents say about me
1 isn't true, later he said -- Commissioner Langley, can we
2 ask you to explain that, please?
3 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: What he said was, Them folks
4 back home telling lies about me, and half of them ain't
5 even true.
6 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: So I thought it might be
7 useful to explain Commissioner Langley's partisan views on
8 public service.
9 In any case, whether true or not, I believe we impose
10 a needless burden on school board officers who are elected
11 on partisan platforms. And I therefore urge you to vote
12 in favor of Proposal 158.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any further discussion on
14 Proposal 158? Any opponents or proponents on Proposal
15 158, nonpartisan election of school boards? If not, we'll
16 proceed to vote. Unlock the machine and we'll vote. If
17 you are not in the chamber, you better get here.
18 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, everybody was here. They
20 are not here. They are now here. Lock the machine and
21 announce the vote.
22 READING CLERK: Twenty-three yeas, 13 nays,
23 Mr. Chairman.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: By your vote you have sent 158 to
25 Style and Drafting for inclusion on the ballot.
1 Incidentally, that changed right at the end there in case
2 you-all weren't looking.
3 The next proposal is Committee Substitute for
4 Proposals 172 and 162 by the Committee on Legislative
5 Affairs, Article III, and Commissioners Thompson and
6 Evans-Jones. Would you read the amendment, please?
7 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
8 Nos. 172 and 162, a proposal to repeal Article III,
9 Section 16, Florida Constitution, relating to legislative
10 apportionment and create Article II, Section 10, Florida
11 Constitution; providing for a commission to establish
12 legislative and congressional districts; providing for the
13 appointment of members to the commission; requiring that
14 the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court fill certain
15 vacancies on the commission; requiring meetings and
16 records of the commission to be open to the public;
17 providing certain exceptions; requiring that the
18 commission file its final report with the Secretary of
19 State within a specified period; requiring that the
20 Supreme Court determine the validity of the plans;
21 providing for the Supreme Court to establish the districts
22 under specified circumstances; providing for the
23 assignment of senatorial terms that are shortened as a
24 result of apportionment; deleting requirements that the
25 Legislature apportion the state into legislative
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. This is Commissioner
3 Evans-Jones on the proposal.
4 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Can we have your
6 attention please?
7 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: I'm just briefly going to
8 go through the steps. I think most of you have been here
9 and --
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Excuse me, I didn't ask for the
11 five hands. Okay, you have the five hands. Now, excuse
12 me for interrupting.
13 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: That's fine. I just
14 briefly want to walk you through the proposal. How many
15 commissioners? There are nine. The commissioners are
16 appointed. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of
17 the House, and the minority leader of the House and the
18 minority leader of the Senate will each appoint two
19 people. Those eight people will then elect their
20 chairman. If they can't decide on a chairman, then the
21 Supreme Court justice, Chief Justice, would make the
23 Are there any restrictions on who could be on the
24 commission? Yes, there are restrictions. Commissioners
25 should not be an elected public official, party officer,
1 lobbyist, legislative employee, congressional employee, or
2 relative of the Florida Legislature or member of the U.S.
3 House of Representatives. Additionally, they would take
4 an oath not to run or lobby for two years. And that is a
5 healthy thing, Commissioners.
6 Would the commission have standards to go by? And
7 this is very, very important. The commission would be
8 required to use sensible and fair redistricting standards
9 in drawing the maps. Those standards are, and I want you
10 to really listen to this very closely, shall have equal
11 population, shall be composed of contiguous territory and
12 districts shall not be drawn to dilute minority voting
13 strengths. And that is extremely important.
14 Could you challenge this? Yes. Would single-member
15 districts be required? There would be 120 members of the
16 House and 40 of the Senate. Would these meetings be open
17 to the public? Yes, they would. And this is very
18 important because they have never been noticed before, any
19 of the meetings. They are always held very privately.
20 And I think it's important that the public would be able
21 to have an input and would know what's going on.
22 I think another very healthy thing would be the
23 public hearings that would be required so that people will
24 be able to give their input as far as to this
25 reapportionment commission.
1 I think that there have been a lot of people here who
2 have been pressured by one thing or another to vote for or
3 to vote against this. And I think that you have to
4 understand that we are not here as Republicans and we are
5 not here as Democrats. We are here as citizens of the
6 Constitution Revision Commission with an obligation to the
7 citizens of Florida and not to our party. And I think you
8 should remember that.
9 What we are simply trying to do is to have equity in
10 the process. You cannot expect a member of the
11 Legislature not to be tremendously concerned with their
12 own seat. That's just a fact of life, whether it be when
13 the Democrats are in control or whether -- when the
14 Republicans are in control. It is unrealistic to think
15 that they will not use their power.
16 If you have fairness and equity, I sincerely believe
17 that the best candidates will win and I think that's very,
18 very important for the citizens of Florida. We have
19 gotten a lot of editorial support throughout the state for
20 this process. I think the people are really very confused
21 about the political process. They really don't trust the
22 politics and the politicians. I think this will be a
23 wonderful step forward to let them understand that we can
24 rise above petty partisan politics and that we can do what
25 is indeed the right thing to do.
1 I urge you very strongly to try to put your partisan
2 feelings behind you, to try to remember that you are here
3 to serve the people of Florida and not necessarily your
4 particular party. And I just urge you, plead with you,
5 please, please vote yes.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Scott,
7 you rise as an opponent?
8 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Commissioners, there are a lot
9 of reasons -- I was commenting to somebody today that one
10 of the big differences between this commission and the
11 Legislature is that we only argue these things once. So
12 now we have been there two or three times, but I hope you
13 will give me your attention for a minute.
14 Diversity. You know, who is going to know what's
15 best for Miami or Pensacola or Jacksonville or Tampa? The
16 diverse groups that we send here, their geographic and
17 historical and cultural communities of interest, who best
18 knows that other than someone who is elected to office?
19 Equal representation, let's talk about equal
20 representation for a minute. This bill would allow four
21 people to pick all of the memberships and they will be
22 evenly divided and you can bet that they are going to be
23 evenly divided party-wise and you can bet that they are
24 not going to be able to easily select a chairman.
25 I just think that that -- letting four leaders, and
1 having been one of them, to pick people, even if you try
2 to get a diversity, I mean, you could get a diversity by
3 race, but who knows if the person that may be black or may
4 be Hispanic is going to know anything about the inner
5 areas of Jacksonville or the Tampa Bay area or Miami.
6 Accountability. The Legislature is accountable. We
7 had an experience, it's been discussed by Commissioner
8 Crenshaw and others, with a 20/20 Senate. And we had
9 difficulty with reapportionment and I know Commissioner
10 Zack was there for that. But that's passed now. So that
11 was one bad experience. I don't think you should take
12 this away from the Legislature.
13 One of the things that I have to say to you that's
14 different is this, minority districts. Now I want to tell
15 you that I don't know if I could qualify as an expert, I
16 certainly should qualify as an expert client on behalf of
17 the Florida Legislature and the minority members with the
18 lawsuits that we've been through.
19 When we started, and the lawyers in here will
20 understand, we had the Shaw case and the Miller case and
21 the Bush case and others. They have thrown out all the
22 minority districts in this country. And the first one
23 that they upheld -- why did they throw them out, first of
24 all? Because they were able to show that race was, that
25 other considerations were subordinate to race. That race
1 was the predominant factor. Okay.
2 We went to the federal court in Tampa. Now that I've
3 dropped all my papers but I can remember it anyway what
4 they said because I was there. What they said was -- this
5 is the big factor with us is that the Legislature has
6 approved this, deferring to the Legislature. They
7 deferred to the Legislature in these other cases.
8 Now in our argument in the U.S. Supreme Court, in our
9 argument in the U.S. Supreme Court, what we said was we
10 did not make race the predominant factor. We said that
11 unlike -- we said that this case does not involve the
12 critical factor identified in the Shaw and the Bush case.
13 In both those decisions the court made clear that the key
14 defect was that race had been the factor that could not be
16 Now you may think, and I know the intentions are
17 good, that where it's been written into this bill that
18 there will be minority districts and except for that
19 requirement, along with a couple of others, then we are
20 going to have, follow geographic boundaries and so forth.
21 This is a total -- if you trust me on anything -- a total
22 setup for a Fourteenth Amendment challenge. If this is
23 the law of Florida, and there is a plan enacted under
24 this, it will clearly be thrown out. And there will be no
25 deference to the Legislature.
1 What we were able to do is say, Look, we have got
2 this community of interest, and we -- while race is a
3 factor, it was not the predominant factor.
4 Now the courts have deferred to the Legislature. All
5 of the things we do up here, we could raise taxes, we
6 could do, double the sales taxes and eliminate all the
7 tax, all exemptions for services, we could effect -- you
8 know the saying, all of us that have been here know that
9 life, liberty and property is in jeopardy when the
10 Legislature is in session.
11 We can do all of those things, but now this one thing
12 that's probably the heart of all of it we are going to
13 take that away from the people who are elected and give it
14 to an apportionment board. I would urge you and I'm very
15 sympathetic to, I know that Commissioner Evans-Jones has
16 strong beliefs on this and has for some time, but this is
17 a serious matter, it will adversely affect the minority
19 We now, I went through this before with you, we have
20 five members of the Senate, let them sit at the table.
21 Let them sit at the table, even though there are only five
22 out of 40 or 17 out of whatever in the House, out of 120.
23 Let them have a chance to say what's best for Jacksonville
24 and for Tampa and for Miami.
25 So, you know, this is an idea that, like some others,
1 that sounds good on its face but it is the heart of
2 democracy and I would urge you to defeat this proposal.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Sundberg. Six
4 minutes used by the opponents, five by the proponents. Go
5 ahead, Commissioner Sundberg.
6 COMMISSIONER SUNDBERG: In favor of the proposal. It
7 has been written that no person is so blind as one who
8 will not see. How is it that we are incapable of seeing
9 what apparently everybody in the state of Florida sees
10 quite clearly? In all the public hearings there was
11 absolute support for this proposal. I heard, I can recall
12 no dissenting voice. Everybody thought it was a good
13 idea. The editorial support has been uniformly in favor
14 of this. The Sun Sentinel says, Of the six things which
15 are essential for this commission to address, that one of
16 that six is this proposal.
17 The Palm Beach Post says, Redistricting is too
18 important to be left to active politicians, not
19 politicians, active politicians. A Legislature full of
20 people trying to nail down their jobs or move up to better
21 ones is of no earthly use to the taxpayers. How is it
22 that we cannot put this on the ballot to let the people
23 out there vote in favor of it?
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Wetherington. In
1 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Yes. I have great
2 respect for the Legislature and for legislative process.
3 One of the hallmarks, however, of proper legislation and
4 one of the things that is important in all government is
5 the problem of conflict of interest that we all deal with
6 and have to deal with on a daily basis. It seems to me
7 that there is a very strong and significant conflict of
8 interest that's built into the legislative decision
9 concerning the apportionment.
10 And that this conflict of interest, although you
11 can't totally eliminate all aspects of conflict of
12 interest you can always make a case, but basically the
13 substance of this conflict of interest can be eliminated
14 by having an independent group who don't have the conflict
15 of interest make these decisions which will give, to a
16 great extent, confidence on the part of the public.
17 Because one thing that's great about a jury, you can
18 fault the jury system in a lot of ways, but one thing
19 that's great about the jury system is the feeling that it
20 is impartial. And that whether they are right or whether
21 they are wrong you have got an impartial, you have got a
22 decision without conflict of interest. That's one of the
23 things that we are very careful about eliminating when we
24 pick a jury.
25 And I think that that's the major factor here. It is
1 not that the Legislature is not very capable and not very
2 competent, they are extremely capable and very competent.
3 But this is an area where the appearance and perhaps the
4 reality of conflict of interest is so substantial that I
5 think that it overshadows the good work that the
6 Legislature intends to do. And we can correct that by
7 having this well-thought-out proposal adopted. Thank you
8 very much.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Thank you. Commissioner Mathis,
10 are you an opponent?
11 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: Opponent.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Beg your pardon?
13 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: Opponent.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are recognized.
15 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: I don't want to go back to
16 backroom deals. And lofty language offers no security for
18 The legislative process in doing apportionment
19 probably isn't pretty, it isn't well thought out, probably
20 gets a little ugly, but I can elect and have a voice by
21 putting elected officials who have a voice in that
22 process. I am not that comforted by lofty language and
23 lofty goals. My grandaddy told me somebody promised him
24 40 acres and a mule. That doesn't mean he got it. Let
25 those people who are elected represent their constituents
1 in this reapportionment process.
2 Conflict of interest, are we going to take that a
3 step further? Are we going to say the Legislature has
4 such a conflict of interest that they can't make their own
5 rules of procedure? There is an inherent conflict in that
6 also but we have delegated to the Legislature certain
7 powers and responsibilities. We have certain safeguards
8 and safety nets if they fail to meet those
9 responsibilities. But that does not mean that nine people
10 are going to be able to do it better than those who have
11 been elected to serve the constituency of all of Florida.
12 I am not going to say that there aren't problems, and
13 there are some in this room that know the problems much
14 better than I. But neither are there, are we going to
15 eliminate all of those problems with nine people. And to
16 tell you the truth, I feel safer with the ugly process,
17 not so pretty, maybe not so well done, but I feel safer
18 with the diverse body of legislators that Commissioner
19 Scott referred to making those decisions because a
20 diversity of Florida is represented at the table. They
21 are sitting there and helping to make those decisions.
22 So I would say that, let's leave this with the
23 Legislature and let the Legislature reform the process, if
24 in fact -- I think that's what we heard at the public
25 hearing that there needs to be some reforms. But I don't
1 think that nine people are going to be able to do it any
2 better than the Legislature.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Zack.
4 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. With
5 all due respect, Commissioner, I always prefer a pretty
6 process, one that's open to the light, one that's ethical
7 and one that can be seen by everyone who cares to look at
9 The process of reapportionment is done at 1:00, 2:00
10 in the morning on computers, with people who have a vested
11 self-interest in saving their seat. I believe enlightened
12 self-interest is one of the great motivating forces in the
13 world; however, I don't believe it belongs in the
14 reapportionment process.
15 In this vote in the final analysis is a vote of
16 philosophy. It is a vote to determine whether people who
17 have a conflict of interest, inherent conflict of
18 interest, they can't avoid it, should draw those seats or
19 whether it should be an independent commission that has
20 public hearings like we had throughout the state, that
21 gives input from all segments of the state and draws the
22 best districts possible without regard to the fact of who
23 might be the opponent in that district.
24 As I mentioned to you-all before, this process has
25 become so sophisticated that the information given to the
1 people drawing those districts will tell you when they
2 voted, how they voted and what they had for breakfast that
3 morning, where their opposition lives.
4 If the group that doesn't like them voted against
5 them last time, do you think that if an opponent, possible
6 opponent is going to run, that that district just might
7 have a little curve to avoid that opponent running in
8 their district? Do you think that a pocket of voters who
9 are opposed to the way a legislator voted might just be
10 drawn out of that district? Of course that is what
11 happens, and will happen unless we have an independent
13 I know that the issue regarding whether or not we
14 have a Fourteenth Amendment challenge is an important
15 issue, and properly raised. But what this says is that
16 that commission may not draw districts in a manner that
17 dilutes the voting strength of any racial or language
18 minority group. That is precisely what the case law says.
19 That is what DeGrandi [phonetic] stood for, that is what
20 Shaw stands for, that is what Miller stands for and that
21 is what the law is. Whether we're there or not that is
22 the law of this country.
23 There will be the same minority districts no matter
24 which proposal we have. It is just a question of who
25 draws the districts.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner West,
2 you are an opponent? You have two minutes.
3 COMMISSIONER WEST: Thank you. I'll -- I certainly
4 won't take that much time. I have nothing but the utmost
5 respect and personal regards for Commissioner Evans-Jones,
6 tremendously creative. And in talking with her about this
7 particular thing, we tried to iron out some differences.
8 I'll tell you why I oppose it is because it is not the
9 legislators drawing special districts for themselves, it
10 is really the people.
11 I mean, as Commissioner Mathis mentioned, to me the
12 whole issue is accountability. Who do those nine people
13 have to answer to? They don't have to answer to anybody.
14 Who do those legislators have to answer to? They have got
15 to go up every two years or four years or whatever it is,
16 they have to go up and get re-elected.
17 And I would just strongly urge you to realize that as
18 we go to these public hearings that we have been in, let
19 me tell you one of the major themes that has been woven in
20 and out. And that is the theme of accountability. If you
21 were to go to the Floridian public, voting public and ask
22 them, Do you want to have a say-so or do you want this
23 commission appointed? I'm telling you what, you are going
24 to get a strong backlash.
25 And, again, I just urge you to vote for
1 representation where the elected officials are the ones
2 that are accountable that will be drawing the districts.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Smith,
4 30 seconds. All the time is up on both sides. You have
5 30 seconds.
6 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Mr. Chairman, in 30 seconds let
7 me just say that this has been one of the more troubling
8 decisions for me because Commissioner Scott and others
9 have brought up concerns about minority districts.
10 What I did was I had the staff to give me the debate
11 on tape that transpired at the time that the opponents of
12 this proposal were in the minority, and I listened to the
13 entire debate. And after listening to the entire debate
14 and reading the case law, I was convinced by the
15 then-minority position that this is definitely the right
16 thing to do.
17 I think Commissioner Crenshaw and others made a very,
18 very powerful argument as to why, notwithstanding who was
19 in the majority, that this matter should be handled by an
20 independent panel. And it is not nine commissioners, it
21 is 17 commissioners. And I think this will go a long way
22 toward us giving confidence in the people to our electoral
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. To close,
25 Commissioner Evans-Jones.
1 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2 Commissioners, I think this is probably one of the most
3 important votes that you are going to cast today. We do
4 have 17 members and the reason that we increased it was to
5 answer some of the problems that people wanted more people
6 who could have diversity. And I think that will give the
8 And I think the other thing that you have to remember
9 is if they, if the Legislature had done such a good job,
10 why did it have to go to the Supreme Court? They have not
11 done such an excellent job and we need to recognize that.
12 I can tell you, Commissioners, that it takes an enormous
13 amount of the legislators' time during a reapportionment
14 session. And everything, everything else takes a complete
16 And why? Because they are looking after their own
17 seat, where they are going to run, where they are going to
18 run in the future. And if you think for a single second
19 that it is not going to be a partisan, whether it is the
20 Democrats or whether it is the Republicans who are in
21 charge, it is not going to be fair, it is not going to be
23 And I challenge you, I really challenge those of you
24 who -- I know you have had your arms twisted, I have had
25 mine twisted. Where did it go? It is still here. I am
1 going to live and survive and I am going to do what I
2 really think is the proper thing to do. And I ask you to
3 do that same thing.
4 I know that the public would be so appreciative of a
5 commission who could lift themselves up just a little bit
6 above the partisan level and for people to have the
7 courage to do what they really think is the right and
8 proper thing to do. I have been working on this for many,
9 many years. It is something, its time has come. The
10 Legislature is full of self-interest, and it will always
11 be that way.
12 And you say, well you have 160 members who are going
13 to be involved. My friends, forget that. You have about
14 one or two who are going to make all of the decisions. In
15 this case you have got nine and that's really a whole lot
16 better. Why do I keep saying nine, 17, 17. And I think
17 that you will find that this is indeed the way to go.
18 I don't think that we want to operate on a
19 don't-get-angry, let's-get-even philosophy. I think
20 that's beneath us to do that as Republicans. And I think
21 that we can be better than that. And I challenge you to
22 vote yes on this very, very, very important proposal.
23 Thank you.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Debate is closed.
25 Open the machine and we will proceed to vote.
1 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
4 READING CLERK: Twenty-two yeas, 15 nays,
5 Mr. Chairman.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And everybody voted. We move on
8 to the next proposal, 155, by Commissioner Scott, passed
9 29 to 1. Read it, please.
10 READING CLERK: Proposal 155, a proposal to revise
11 Article III, Section 16, Florida Constitution; providing
12 for the Legislature to apportion the state into
13 single-member senatorial districts of contiguous territory
14 and single-member representatives' districts of contiguous
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Are there five hands? If not, we
17 will go forward. There is not. This will be referred to
18 Style and Drafting for inclusion in the package.
19 Now we go to Proposal No. 59 by Commissioner Zack.
20 Would you read it, please?
21 Wait a minute, excuse me. Commissioner Barkdull, I
22 didn't mean to slight you. Commissioner Barkdull's
23 Proposal No. 123. Do we have five hands on that? It was
24 passed 20 to 9. Read it, please.
25 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 123, a proposal to
1 revise Article XI, Florida Constitution; repealing Section
2 6 relating to the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Do we have five hands
4 on that? We have an amendment so we better have five
5 hands from Style and Drafting. We do. Two amendments on
6 the table. The first amendment is by Style and Drafting.
7 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, I would suggest
8 you take up the Barnett and Nabors' amendment first
9 because --
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Amendment No. 1 will be the one
11 by Barnett and Nabors. Would you read it, please?
12 READING CLERK: By Commissioners Barnett and Nabors,
13 on Page 1, Lines 9-10, strike said lines and insert:
14 "Section 1. Section 6 of Article XI of the Florida
15 Constitution is revised by amending that section to read."
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. The amendment will,
17 we will take that up first and then the other amendment,
18 depending on what this one does; is that correct?
19 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: That's correct.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioners Barnett and Nabors,
21 one of you want to present your amendment? This isn't a
22 matter we have already voted on; is it, this amendment?
23 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Not in the form it is in now.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. How do I interpret that
25 answer? We have, but not quite like this?
1 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Something like that.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection we will proceed
3 with the Barnett and Nabors' amendment. You are
4 recognized, Commissioners, one of you.
5 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I'll
6 be glad to explain this amendment. As most of you know, I
7 have argued several times as this has come -- as a
8 proposal to eliminate the Tax Commission has come before
9 this body about my belief that we need to maintain this
10 mechanism in our Constitution so that we will have an
11 opportunity to, in a systematic, routine and thoughtful
12 way to consider revisions to our tax structure and
13 importantly to our budget structure.
14 A number of concerns have been raised by members of
15 the commission about the timing of this proposal, about
16 the timing of the work of the Taxation and Budget Reform
17 Commission, about the voting process, the cumbersome
18 voting process.
19 What you have before you is a proposal that is really
20 the, I think the good work of Commissioner Nabors. I wish
21 I had thought of it because I strongly support it. And
22 what this does is two things. One, it continues to
23 eliminate the cumbersome voting process that is in the
24 current Constitution. It continues to have a two-thirds'
25 vote for any product of the Taxation and Budget Reform
1 Commission, but that language that requires a majority
2 vote of each of the groups from the various appointing
3 bodies has been eliminated. And I think there is general
4 agreement that is a very cumbersome and unworkable
6 The other thing this does that I think is very
7 important and addresses concerns of Senator Scott, I hope,
8 and others is rather than being a commission that meets
9 every ten years, and the next meeting to begin in two
10 years, what this proposal does is make the Taxation and
11 Budget Reform Commission meet every 20 years. And it
12 schedules it so that it will meet in the ten-year interval
13 when the Constitution Revision Commission is not meeting.
14 So the Constitution Revision Commission would meet,
15 ten years later the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission
16 would meet, and ten years later the commission would meet
17 again. It would roll over on a 20-year process. And
18 under that scenario, the Taxation and Budget Reform
19 Commission would not meet again until the year 2007.
20 So that is the gist of the amendment. It is an
21 effort to address some of the concerns people had, but it
22 is also an effort to continue what I think is a very
23 important and necessary mechanism in our Constitution to
24 address our tax structure and our budget structure. And I
25 ask your support of that amendment.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. On the amendment,
2 Commissioner Barkdull.
3 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I think it is a friendly
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any further discussion on the
6 amendment? If not, all in favor say aye; opposed?
7 (Verbal vote taken.)
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment is adopted. Now on
9 the proposal as amended, you were the proposer?
10 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I was the proposer but now
11 with the amendment that Commissioner Barnett has explained
12 I would move the adoption of the proposal as amended.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are not going to move the
14 other amendment? There is another amendment on the table.
15 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: It is not needed,
16 Mr. Chairman.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Will somebody withdraw it? It is
18 withdrawn by Style and Drafting. Now does everybody
19 understand what the proposal now provides? Commissioner
20 Nabors, maybe you can explain it in a few short words.
21 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Let me -- everybody pay
22 attention. Let me tell you why I think this is very
23 important. All of the structural reasons that
24 Commissioner Barnett talked about are in place. There is
25 still a two-thirds' vote, we have taken away the weighted
1 vote for the House and the Speaker.
2 But the most fundamental thing is we have delayed
3 this -- the convening of this body until the year 2007 and
4 it meets every 20 years. So it meets in the decades in
5 between Constitution Revision Commissions. And I think it
6 is fundamentally important.
7 One of the frustrations I have in this process, as
8 all of you know, on my Proposition 6 we didn't deal with
9 tax reform in a fundamental way. This would allow that to
10 be done 10 years from now with a new commission that's
11 dedicated to tax reform. As I said when I closed my
12 debate on Proposition 6, without this, we really don't
13 have a vehicle until 20 years from now to deal with tax
14 reform because of things dealing with issues like the
15 sales tax if you believe the Legislature won't do it with
16 a constitutional amendment, you have the single subject
17 matter that's going to bar voter initiative.
18 All of those who feel guilty, and there are many of
19 you, for voting against my Proposal No. 6, who are not
20 going to be able to sleep at night because of that guilt,
21 you can relieve a lot of your feelings by voting favorably
22 on this amendment.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Anybody else want to
24 discuss sleep? Commissioner Connor.
25 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I'd like to ask a question of
1 Commissioner Barnett.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Certainly. Commissioner Barnett
3 yields to your question, sir.
4 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Commissioner Barnett, is the
5 effect of this amendment, does it mean that it would be
6 easier for the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission to
7 put a proposal on the ballot than it currently is?
8 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Yes.
9 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Thank you.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further?
11 Commissioner Evans.
12 COMMISSIONER EVANS: I have a concern, I don't know
13 if it is a question or just a concern, maybe it is a
14 question for Commissioner Barnett about changing it from
15 90 days to 180 days. My concern is that people who have
16 an interest in educating the public will have only,
17 basically only 90 days' notice that something is going to
18 go on the fall ballot to get their educational materials
19 together, to find the money to place ads and so forth.
20 And this will be in the heat of all of the other
21 elections, too, just the final tail end, 90 days. So I'm
22 wondering about why has it been changed from 180 to 90.
23 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: I think the reason,
24 Commissioner Evans, was to make it consistent with the
25 same type of treatment for the proposals of the
1 Constitution Revision Commission.
2 COMMISSIONER EVANS: We did not change that though
3 for this commission. We did not change it.
4 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: That was my understanding as
5 the reason was to keep that consistency there. We would
6 leave it at 180 if you wanted to offer, you know, an
7 amendment to the amendment to keep it at 180. It was
8 designed for consistency in the Constitution.
9 COMMISSIONER EVANS: Okay. Then may I offer that
10 amendment then to -- because we did not change it with the
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You can offer it, but you have
13 got to put it in the table in writing. Commissioner
15 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: May I suggest that we, for a
16 short period of time, temporarily pass that because there
17 is another scribner's problem with this that's got to be
18 pointed out.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does anybody object to
20 temporarily passing and coming back to it after they get
21 the amendment straight correcting the scribner's problems?
23 Okay. We will go to Proposal No. 59 by Commissioner
24 Zack. Would you read it, please? There is one amendment
25 on the table. Hold it.
1 (Off-the-record comment.)
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. I was wrong. It is
3 No. 152 by Commissioner Barkdull.
4 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 152, a proposal to
5 revise Article XI, Section 2, of the Florida Constitution;
6 amending the deadline by which the Constitution Revision
7 Commission must file any proposed revision of the
8 Secretary of State.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. There are no
10 amendments on it. It passed 29 to nothing. If there is
11 no show of five hands, we will proceed to the next one and
12 this one will be sent to Style and Drafting for inclusion
13 on the package. Therefore it is done that way, it is
15 Now if I can find the next one, 59 is the next one by
16 Commissioner Zack. Would you read 59, please?
17 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 59, a proposal to revise
18 Article X, Section 13, Florida Constitution; relating to
19 suits against the state; providing for arbitration of
20 certain tort claims; providing a limit on the waiver of
21 sovereign immunity for claims submitted to arbitration.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. There is an
23 amendment. But first of all we need five hands, a Style
24 and Drafting amendment. All right, we have five hands.
25 We will proceed. Read the amendment, please, moved by
1 Commissioner Mills, or Commissioner Lowndes, excuse me.
2 It should be amendment --
3 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
4 Drafting, on Page 1, Lines 17-24, strike the underlined
5 language and insert: "When a tort suit for which provision
6 has been made by general law claims damages in excess of
7 the amount permitted by the limited waiver of sovereign
8 immunity established by general law, the claimant may
9 elect to submit such claim to arbitration in lieu of a
10 trial by judge or jury, in accordance with procedures
11 established by general law. Sovereign immunity is waived
12 for such arbitration decisions to the extent of five times
13 the limited waiver of sovereign immunity established by
14 general law."
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We are on the
16 amendment. Commissioner Lowndes, please.
17 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: It is a Style and Drafting
18 amendment, Mr. Chairman. And there are certain phrases
19 and clauses which have been added to what existed
20 initially to clarify the situation. The phrases are, for
21 which -- "a tort suit for which provision has been made by
22 general law." And that addition is to clarify the
23 proposition that this amendment doesn't create any new
24 rights to bring suits against the state.
25 The second addition is on the third line, it is "in
1 lieu of trial by judge or jury." And that's to clarify
2 the point that if a claimant selects arbitration, the
3 arbitration is in lieu of the claimant's right to a trial
4 by judge or jury in the matter.
5 And the third change is in the fifth line.
6 Previously the amendment, the proposal dealt with
7 $500,000. Rather than putting $500,000 as a figure in the
8 Constitution, it was felt that saying five times the
9 limited waiver of sovereign immunity, which today would be
10 $500,000, but which would be increased or decreased if the
11 limited waiver was changed.
12 Those are the three changes which were deemed by
13 Style and Drafting to be nonsubstantive. I'll be happy to
14 answer any questions on them.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Zack.
16 COMMISSIONER ZACK: I don't understand why this was
17 done. You know, this is different than what we came out
18 with. I thought Style and Drafting is supposed to change
19 the style and drafting, not make a whole new proposal.
20 And this is a completely different proposal.
21 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: In what respect?
22 COMMISSIONER ZACK: In every respect. You had a
23 $500,000 per occurrence, I mean, per incident waiver of
24 sovereign immunity under the old proposal. Here the
25 Legislature could reduce the amount of sovereign immunity
1 to 20,000, five times that is back to 100,000 in an
2 arbitration provision. That's not what was intended.
3 And frankly this allows -- it appears to me to allow
4 more games to be played as opposed to less games. And the
5 whole idea was not to have any more games with the claims
6 bill process and to make it a clean, straight-up $500,000
7 for anybody who gets injured in the state of Florida based
8 on an arbitration-type proceeding.
9 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Your point is that the change
10 is the five times the limited immunity rather than the
12 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Right. I think the change goes
13 to the essence of the original proposal as opposed to
14 merely being a change.
15 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: But that is the issue you are
16 raising, that change?
17 COMMISSIONER ZACK: I don't understand how that is a
18 style, that is a point of clarification or point of
19 information. To me --
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Since I suggested it, I would
21 certainly rule it was all right.
22 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Well that doesn't surprise me.
23 And I understand --
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Enlightened self-interest.
25 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Enlightened self-interest. But
1 if somebody would be kind enough to explain to me --
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'll explain to you why I
3 suggested it. Number one, I don't think you should tie
4 into the Constitution an amount, period. And what that
5 does is put what it is now. And if the Legislature
6 chooses to go up or down, this will go up or down, which
7 was really I think the intent of most of those who
8 supported this.
9 There may come a day when, you know, $100,000 may be
10 too much, those of us that lived during the Depression and
11 can remember it and the deflation periods. But there also
12 will come a day when the $500,000, if we continue to do
13 what we have done for the last ten years, will be woefully
14 inadequate. And there is no escalator in here. And this
15 way it is automatic and the Legislature only has to deal
16 with the basic problem under this proposal. My suggestion
17 was that it made it fairer and better constitutional
19 COMMISSIONER ZACK: I appreciate the explanation of
20 the philosophy.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I felt it was not a change in the
22 bill, the proposal. That's the proposed amendment anyway
23 from Style and Drafting. Any more discussion on that?
24 Commissioner Nabors.
25 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Commissioner Lowndes, to make
1 sure I understand this provision. Let's say the
2 Legislature by general law wanted to have the monetary
3 limit the same. Say they wanted to raise the tort limits
4 to 500,000. Under this proposal there would be an
5 automatic then five times for the arbitration; is that
7 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: That's correct.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further questions
9 on the amendment? If not, we will vote on the amendment.
10 All in favor of the amendment say aye; opposed?
11 (Verbal vote taken.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Unlock the machine and let's vote
13 on the amendment.
14 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
17 READING CLERK: Seven yeas, 24 nays, Mr. Chairman.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment fails. Any further
20 READING CLERK: None on the desk, Mr. Chairman.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are back to the proposal,
22 which is truly the way you had it, Commissioner Zack. And
23 it is your proposal and we call on you.
24 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
25 I guess if any one of us was driving a bus down the
1 street and we had had too much to drink, went on the other
2 side of the road, and ran into a carload of children and
3 an adult and left some of them as paraplegics, killed
4 others, and we would very much like to have no
5 responsibility to respond by way of a money judgment under
6 that scenario.
7 It is unfortunate, it would be unjust, and it should
8 be illegal. It is clearly morally wrong. The fact of the
9 matter is that's exactly the right that the sovereign has
10 in the state of Florida. And it goes back to common law
11 England, which we are not going to have time to go back
12 that far. Needless to say, it is an absolute right to
13 immunity, which was waived in a very limited manner in
14 1983 to the extent of $100,000.
15 You have heard the testimony that in today's dollars,
16 based on inflation and the cost of medical care, that that
17 amount of money is at least $250,000 today if you equal
18 that benefit. Are Floridians today entitled to at least
19 the same type of benefits as those in 1983?
20 Well, what this proposal does is it allows a
21 replacement for what has been described by everyone who
22 has participated in the process an abusive, political
23 manipulated process called the claims bill. And as we
24 know, and we heard the President say and we know from the
25 people that have administered the claims bill process this
1 last year, there have been no claims bills. And the
2 reason for that is that they looked back at the previous
3 claims bills and there was quite an odor that was arising
4 from that process.
5 What we try to do here is to layer on top of the
6 $100,000 cap a $400,000 claims bill in effect. Where you,
7 an injured person, can use an arbitration process, a judge
8 appoints three arbitrators, this is not a complicated
9 process, it is done everyday in every court in the state
10 of Florida, and allow those three individuals to decide up
11 to $500,000 what the claim is worth.
12 Now, that carload of people, had it been a private
13 individual, a quadriplegic today by the normal life
14 expectancy, a young one, is about $10 million if not more.
15 You are talking about probably $30 million worth of
16 medical care and treatment. The maximum those people will
17 get is $500,000 each.
18 It is not a big change. What it is is giving the
19 people of this state a sense of fairness because this
20 is -- all it becomes in the final analysis before you cast
21 your vote, a balancing between the government's desire to
22 protect itself and the innocent victims' ability to
23 recover some limited amounted of money if in fact the
24 government is wrong.
25 Now in the first meeting of our subcommittee I asked
1 all the insurance people who were in attendance, and I
2 assure you there were many, give us some idea what the
3 cost will be to government. It is a legitimate concern.
4 And it is you know, we have had a number of amendments
5 that have reduced the potential amount of recovery. We
6 have heard from not a single representative of the
7 insurance company in any of our public hearings as to what
8 the cost of this increase will be so that we can determine
9 how to balance those respective interests. So I decided
10 to go find out for myself.
11 And I can tell you that the parade of horribles that
12 we have heard about, the bankruptcy of cities, bankruptcy
13 of states has not occurred. That there is no sovereign
14 immunity in many, many states including the notoriously
15 litigious state of California, the state of New York, the
16 state of Arizona, the state of Georgia, Ohio, Louisiana
17 and Michigan, just to name a few.
18 I also tell you that in Texas where they have a
19 $250,000/$500,000 cap, the per capita premium difference
20 between the state of Florida -- by the way, the state of
21 Florida with the $100,000/$200,000 limit, per capita cost
22 is $10.33. Texas, it's a whopping $11.30. California
23 that has no cap, none, zero, the entire $30 million would
24 be recovered in the example I explained, their citizens
25 really come out of pocket big time, $2, $2.
1 Now there has got to be a renewed sense of fairness
2 that the people of our state feel about government. And
3 every time that there is a wrongful act for which they are
4 barred, and an unjust result, it diminishes their respect
5 for government. And I suggest to you $2 a year, at most,
6 is not a lot to pay to renew that respect.
7 (Commissioner Thompson assumes the Chair.)
8 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. Proponents have how
9 much time left? Four minutes okay. Commissioner
10 Wetherington, for what purpose?
11 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: I would like to speak in
13 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: You are recognized.
14 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: And I would like to point
15 out that this is a relatively modest proposal and the
16 insurance figures that were being thrown out are very
17 significant because as you know about insurance
18 underwriting, one of the things that the insurance people
19 look at is predictability. And that's where caps are
20 critical because under this proposal, you would still
21 retain that predictability.
22 Remember, it is only going to be a small percentage
23 of your cases that are going to go over $100,000 anyway.
24 For example, in the studies that we did over the years in
25 Dade County, 60 percent of the cases are resolved, in
1 terms of jury verdicts, for between zero and $25,000. It
2 is only when you get into the top 10 percent of tried
3 cases that you get over 100- or $250,000.
4 Also, another factor that would be very comforting to
5 insurance companies in this particular situation is the
6 fact that for the larger claims, you are using an
7 arbitration procedure which some people, some defendants
8 find more comforting rather than juries, I don't
9 necessarily agree with that but some of them do. They use
10 arbitration in the disputes between insurance companies
11 and private companies constantly.
12 So I don't think that there is any huge, massive
13 concern here about bankrupting the treasuries because of
14 the availability of insurance, because the predictability
15 remains there. And also it does address to some extent
16 those terrible cases, although they are a small percentage
17 of the cases, where you have catastrophic losses and where
18 the amount of money that you are giving is still of a
19 relatively minor nature because medical expenses can be a
20 half a million dollars in a given case.
21 This is a very thoughtful proposal that Commissioner
22 Lowndes has come up with. And it balances I think all of
23 the factors that should be taken into consideration in a
24 measured waiver of sovereign immunity. The Legislature
25 can increase this if it wishes to. And I think that based
1 on everything that I have heard, it is a very responsible
2 proposal, one that we can endorse with comfort and be
3 proud of doing so. Thank you.
4 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Further debate? How many
5 more minutes do the proponents have? One more minute for
6 the proponents, if anybody wants it. Anybody wish to
7 speak in opposition? Commissioner Nabors, you are
9 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Mr. Chairman, let me make
10 several points about the proposal. The first is is that I
11 don't think anybody should be misled that this proposal
12 eliminates claims bills. I don't think that that's really
13 been purported. Under the Constitution, you can still
14 have a claims bill whether you go the route of arbitration
15 or whether you go the route of the traditional tort trial
16 because the Legislature inherently has the power to give
17 claims bills. So this is not going to eliminate claims
18 bills. So you can put that aside.
19 So then you ask yourself the question, Well, why are
20 we doing this in the Constitution and what does it do?
21 The difficulty I have with this and why I am opposed to it
22 is you create two for compensation. One is traditional
23 tort with a jury trial for 100,000, basically, the other
24 is arbitration for 500. Why is that different? I would
25 argue that -- to me that is an arbitrary difference that
1 we made which is fundamentally a legislative decision,
2 which is my principal opposition.
3 These are classic legislative decisions that have to
4 be made. Maybe it is more appropriate for the Legislature
5 to have the compensation amounts the same when you resort
6 to jury trial or arbitration. Why are we trying in the
7 Constitution to deal with fundamental issues like
8 sovereign immunity which inherently involves trade-offs in
9 terms of how it is conducted and where the burden of the
10 law falls?
11 It is inconceivable to me that 22 members of this
12 group will feel comfortable dealing with sovereign
13 immunity in the Constitution in this specific way, and yet
14 not feel comfortable dealing with the issue of wrongful
15 death, which we voted down. The same philosophical
16 underpinning allies this proposal as it does the wrongful
17 death issue.
18 I'm very sympathetic to the issue of plaintiffs'
19 recovering their damages. Although I represent local
20 governments, I am also a member of the trial, Florida
21 Trial Lawyers Association as well. But the problem is
22 we're trying in the Constitution, after four or five steps
23 at the last exit, to come up with a proposal to deal with
24 an issue which is fundamentally legislative. So I would
25 urge you to vote against it.
1 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Scott, for what
3 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: To speak against it.
4 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: You are recognized.
5 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Just briefly. We debated this,
6 I think, a couple weeks ago when we were here and I just
7 can't understand -- when we were early on here started
8 voting 26 to 4 we voted against taking away a right to a
9 jury trial on much less consequential matters than what we
10 are talking about here.
11 What you are doing here is putting this into an
12 arbitration process, not a jury trial. I really think it
13 is a bad idea, I think it is going to be very difficult
14 and it should be dealt with by the Legislature. The exact
15 same issue we have had time and again here about going in
16 and picking one thing and putting it in the Constitution.
17 The Legislature can deal with this, and we should not put
18 this into the Constitution and do away with the right to
19 trial by jury. So I would urge you to vote against this
21 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Further debate? Commissioner
22 Anthony, in opposition.
23 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Thank you, Mr. Chair, I
24 appreciate it. I have listened to the arguments and
25 thankfully the last meeting that we had I was not here to
1 hear some of the debate, but I will tell you that it seems
2 as if this proposal will not die. Looking at the minutes
3 of the last meeting, the proposal had not gotten enough
4 votes and then somehow it was reconsidered and brought up
5 again, the issue of sovereign immunity.
6 We have wrestled with this issue over and over trying
7 to find a way to make it look good so that all of us can
8 get the number of votes to move it toward the Constitution
9 and the citizens of Florida. As late as today we got
10 another proposal, another amendment to try to get more
11 support for this issue. It is so obvious by the number of
12 gyrations, the number of amendments that have been
13 proposed that this is not good public policy and this
14 would not be good for our Constitution or our citizens.
15 A modest proposal, Commissioner Wetherington said. A
16 modest proposal to a small city as South Bay can mean
17 clearly a tremendous impact on the level of service and
18 the quality of service to my citizens, to our community,
19 to the citizens of the state of Florida. Modest it may be
20 in the eyes of those who made this proposal, but I would
21 say tremendous impact, if you will, on local government.
22 The assumption that one who may have committed an
23 act, that may be considered wrong by Commissioner Zack, to
24 have been drunk and driving a bus and run over someone and
25 they become a quadriplegic is a horrible assumption on
1 behalf of the local government employees because I will
2 tell you that that may have happened once.
3 But to assume that local government employees who
4 have had such an occurrence were in that state is not a
5 good assumption. Local government provides public
6 training, safety training for our employees. And I'm
7 going to stop there on that issue.
8 But what is more important here is that as a public
9 official, making a decision in a public body, when someone
10 comes before me tonight at my commission meeting, if I can
11 make it back, they will say, There is a pothole in the
12 road on Southwest 7th Avenue. And perhaps I need to buy
13 five police cars and I tell my administrator, Look, next
14 month we will cover that pothole. Right after that
15 meeting someone uses my testimony of the fact that I
16 recognized that that pothole was there, and they had an
17 accident, and they sue us based upon those statements.
18 I say to you that the sovereign immunity in the
19 statutes that we have today works. The process works. It
20 may not be the best process for those who are litigators,
21 but I will tell you that it is the best process that
22 protects and provides an opportunity to those citizens who
23 are wronged and it also provides an opportunity for local
24 government to be able to provide the level and quality of
25 service that they demand in our state.
1 I beg you today to oppose this amendment, or whatever
2 amendment may come up at our next meeting or another
3 amendment that may come up five seconds from now. I don't
4 know what's going to happen with the proposers of this
5 process because we have had five amendments,
6 Commissioners. How many more can they provide to you to
7 make you vote no? Vote no. It is not good for our
8 Constitution, it is not good for citizens, and it is not
9 good for this commission to support this proposal.
10 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. Commissioner Zack, you
11 have two minutes to close.
12 COMMISSIONER ZACK: Commissioner Anthony, the process
13 remains exactly the same, exactly the same. If you are
14 not liable, you don't pay anything, zero, nada. This is a
15 process by which, if you are liable, you get some modest,
16 and I use the word modest form of justice. What are we
17 doing here? What are we doing right now by your voting
18 yes? What you are doing is allowing the citizens of this
19 state to tell you to speak in one voice as to what they
20 expect of their government, what responsibility they
21 expect their government has to them, and that they are
22 willing to pay the $2 or $1 a year for that additional
24 Each of us has uninsured motorist coverage on our
25 policy, we pay another $50, $100, or $200 a year for that
1 coverage because we are concerned what happens if somebody
2 with no insurance runs into us. The citizens of Florida I
3 assure you want to have the right to vote as to whether
4 they are willing to pay an extra dollar, or two dollars to
5 be protected in the event that there's an accident where
6 someone is found by arbitrators, not a runaway jury,
7 arbitrators to be wrong, and to a limited extent.
8 You know, since the beginning of this proposal I have
9 heard from lobbyists who said, Legislators are going to
10 change this, you are never going to get to reach this when
11 it comes to today, this date. They said, It's going to be
12 changed, we are going to take care of it, we know there is
13 a problem. I see a number of them sitting there who told
14 me that. It's not changed, not going to be changed, we
15 have to do something about it today to allow the citizens
16 to make this decision. Please vote yes.
17 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: So the question recurs on the
18 passage of Proposal No. 59 to the Committee on Style and
19 Drafting. The Secretary will unlock to machine and the
20 members will proceed to vote. Have all members voted?
21 All members voting.
22 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: The Secretary will lock the
24 machine and announce the vote.
25 READING CLERK: Thirteen yeas, 21 nays, Mr. Chairman.
1 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: So, the proposal fails
2 passage. Pick up and read the next proposal. Proposal
3 No. 40.
4 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 40, Article IX, Section
5 4, of the Florida Constitution, authorizing certain
6 counties to be divided into more than one school district.
7 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Is there an amendment on the
9 READING CLERK: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
10 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Read the amendment.
11 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Butterworth, on Page
12 1, Lines 19 and 20, delete those lines and insert: County
13 may be divided into two or more, but no more than five
14 school districts. No district may have fewer than 25,000
15 students, as.
16 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. First of all, let me
17 see five hands to take up the proposal. Okay. I see five
18 hands. Commissioner Butterworth is now recognized on his
20 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Mr. Chairman, thank you
21 very much. All Commissioners, it seems that there are two
22 things that were bothering a number of us in reference to
23 this proposal, and that was that a county may be
24 subdivided into too many districts, and thereby, having,
25 perhaps, maybe 15, 20 districts in one county. That would
1 be totally inappropriate.
2 Therefore, I suggest that we limit that a county can
3 be divided into, if they choose to divide, to between two,
4 but no more than five, but that each district may have no
5 fewer than 25,000 students. I think that this will
6 resolve some of the problems that some of us had.
7 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. Is there a debate on
8 the amendment offered by Commissioner Butterworth? Debate
9 on the amendment? Hearing none, the question recurs on
10 the adoption of the amendment. All of those in favor of
11 the amendment, say aye. Those who oppose it, say no.
12 (Verbal vote taken.)
13 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: The proposal is adopted.
14 Now, we are back on the proposal as amended. Are there
15 further amendments on the desk?
16 READING CLERK: None on the desk, Mr. Chairman.
17 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. Is there debate on the
18 proposal as amended? Hearing none -- excuse me,
19 Commissioner Anthony, for what purpose?
20 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: I am sorry, we are on Proposal
21 No. 40, correct?
22 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Yes, and it was just amended
23 by an amendment by Commissioner Butterworth.
24 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Yes, I saw that. If no one
25 else wants to talk in opposition to this proposal.
1 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: You are recognized.
2 COMMISSIONER ANTHONY: Mr. Chairman, looking at the
3 proposal, and in regards to dividing it into more than one
4 school district really does concern me, a person from a
5 rural community, a very wealthy community such as Palm
6 Beach County. South Bay is located in rural Palm Beach
7 County, western. Three communities consist of the Glades
8 community. And with being in such a county, having
9 districts that represent just that area will not provide
10 the quality, I don't think, as well as the level of
11 education that all of Palm Beach County would receive.
12 It also concerns me that what we may be doing here is
13 further segregating our counties and our communities. And
14 if we are going to looking toward the year 2000 and trying
15 to find ways to further engage our kids in education that
16 is cost-cutting as well as futuristic, I don't think that
17 this cutting it up to districts will do that.
18 I've had a number of calls, not from administrators,
19 because, in fact, if we get and we cut up into more
20 districts, what we are going to have are more
21 administrators, and not more teachers, and not more
22 classrooms and not better educational literature, but in
23 fact, what we are going to have is that we may have a
24 higher administrative cost brought down to us. But what I
25 have heard is from some citizens who have just been
1 concerned about the practical implication of this
3 So, I ask that you look at the proposal and gauge
4 whether or not it really will improve the quality of our
5 education in this state of Florida. Mr. Chairman, thank
7 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Wetherington,
8 for what purpose?
9 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: (Inaudible response.)
10 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I was going to let you close,
11 is that okay? Oh, you have never explained it. I'm
12 sorry, well, why don't you go ahead and explain it, and
13 Commissioner Anthony said more than likely he'll just
14 change his whole attitude on it.
15 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: I knew I could count on him
16 to do that. Commissioners, you are generally familiar
17 with Proposal 40. And on February the 9th, 22 of the 32
18 members present voted in its favor. Since then, the
19 education establishment and especially the teachers'
20 unions have expressed their displeasure over Proposal 40,
21 as they were expected to do that.
22 A school board member of Pinellas County described it
23 as an evil thing which people should not be committed to
24 vote on, but she didn't explain on why giving citizens the
25 chance to vote on how their schools should be organized is
2 Opponents to Proposal 40 have mentioned the increased
3 costs associated with more school districts, as
4 Commissioner Anthony just did, adding more school board
5 members and another superintendent for each district. Let
6 me address that by putting it in the terms of the school
7 district that I know best, Leon County, and give you some
8 numbers to see how such a measure would change things,
9 change costs in Leon County.
10 Leon County's school budget is just about a quarter
11 of a billion dollars right now, $250 million. There are
12 33,000 students in Leon County, K-12, and if you divide
13 $33,000 into $250 million, then you get about $7500 per
14 student as the annual cost of education. Now that
15 includes debt service and Federal aid and some other
16 things, so it's not to figure what the school people
17 mostly identify as operating costs. But let's take the
18 $250 million, there are five school board members in Leon
19 County, their total salaries come to $130,000, but they
20 meet and travel and have other operating expenses, so
21 let's throw another $100,000 in for that.
22 And then let's add the superintendent, another
23 superintendent, round it off to $100,000, that would be
24 $330,000. If you divide $330,000, the costs of the
25 increases that might be called for in this proposal by
1 250 million, the operating cost for one year of Leon
2 County schools, you will get a little over 1 percent.
3 That would be the cost of duplicating that administrative
4 structure, about 1 percent, a little over 1 percent. And
5 so, if you divided Leon County into two districts, you
6 would have to say 2« percent as an increase in costs.
7 What about the savings in cost that result from the
8 reduced bureaucracy? Well, rather than to speak to that
9 in numbers, let me quote again, as I did on February the
10 9th, a report in the Orlando Sentinel on the attempts to
11 reduce the administrative structure in Orange County. The
12 quotation is that in Orange County, a school principal
13 reports to a senior director, who reports to the associate
14 superintendent, who reports to a deputy superintendent,
15 who reports to a superintendent. That's what happens in
16 the large counties.
17 Commissioners, the current issue of Education Week
18 carries an article that ought to interest all of us.
19 Education Week is the journal that comes as close as any
20 to being the newspaper of record of American public
21 education K-12.
22 It reports this week, a copy that reached me two days
23 ago, on the third international mathematics and science
24 study, which it describes as the largest, broadest and
25 toughest study of student achievement ever completed. Of
1 the 21 countries that took place in the science and math
2 sections of that study, our seniors ranked 18th. The bad
3 news, Commissioners, is that we were behind, these are our
4 graduating seniors in science and math, we were behind the
5 Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland,
6 Norway, France, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Austria,
7 Slovenia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Russian Federation,
8 and the Czech Republic. The good news is we were ahead of
9 Lithuania, Cyprus and South Africa.
10 You have not heard me speak in these terms before
11 because I'm not a public school basher, I have too much
12 invested in the public schools, but those, Commissioners,
13 are the facts, and there's no denying those facts. So you
14 say, and I say, that something simply must be done,
15 something must be done to rescue public education in
16 Florida. We owe it to the state, our consideration of the
17 State's economy, and most of all, to the sense of
18 self-realization and fulfillment of our young people.
19 Because that loss is simply incalculable.
20 The conditions in which our schools are in trouble me
21 greatly, the conditions in which the tests show that our
22 seniors do better only than those in Lithuania, Cyprus and
23 South Africa. With the division of the large school
24 districts, will the large school districts into smaller
25 units cure this problem? Of course not. Would doing so
1 bring about a sudden and dramatic change resulting in
2 short-term improvement? Perhaps not. But a recognition
3 that the problem exists and a place to start in addressing
4 it is paramount in importance, and that's what we are
5 looking for today, we are looking for alternatives to
6 improve a very ineffective public school system.
7 Under Proposal 40, Commissioners, the Legislature
8 would enact a special law calling for setting up a special
9 commission, a special commission of citizens from the
10 district to suggest how we might be redesigned into
11 smaller, more discrete units. The citizens, before they
12 vote, would familiarize themselves with the plan proposed
13 by the commission and they would have the chance to amend
14 it. They would be provided answers to such questions as,
15 What happens in the division of debts, and buses, and
16 buildings and the legal costs for writing new contracts
17 and all of that.
18 On the basis of the plan before them they would vote
19 it up or down. After they knew the specific solutions to
20 specific problems, they would have the opportunity to
21 reject it if those problems are too difficult to solve.
22 And in some counties, I believe there would be, I suspect
23 that the commission would come back with a report that the
24 voters would say, that's too complex for a change to be
25 made. In other cases, in other school districts, I
1 believe that the commission would come back with a report
2 saying it is a reasonable thing to do and therefore, the
3 populous, the people, would have a chance to vote on it.
4 We might take a moment to look at what -- at the
5 situation for the school organization in other states.
6 Again, I think I reported some of these data to you on
7 February the 9th, but Florida is alone among the populous
8 states in this country on the number of school districts
9 that the public school system is divided into.
10 We inherited this system from the 1947 Legislature
11 when it was deemed to be a wise move to set up a
12 county-wide system. Times have changed. What the 1947
13 and subsequent legislators did to make more functional a
14 dysfunctional school system is a record that we can all be
15 proud of, but that was then and this is now. Other
16 states, Alabama has 127 districts, Georgia has 181, North
17 Carolina 119, Texas 1,044, New York 711, and so on, Ohio
19 Now, what those states have decided is that it's
20 important for the neighbor school concept on which our
21 system was devised in this country, to remain intact, to
22 have school districts close enough to the voters so that
23 they have some input on policy. The situation that we
24 have today in Dade County is where nine school board
25 members respond to 350,000 students and their families.
1 Reduced to its simplest terms, Commissioners, the question
2 is this, are we willing to have the people of Florida
3 consider a new system for the organization of our schools,
4 or are we unwilling to have them consider any change in
5 organization with consequence for the next 20 years,
6 because if we do not approve this measure, they will have
7 no opportunity to do that.
8 In looking at the editorial comments, I saw an
9 article in one of the around-the-state papers that talked
10 about this being a trivial change that could be made by
11 the Legislature. It cannot be made by the Legislature.
12 We have the unique situation of having our Constitution
13 tell us how many school districts we may have. And that,
14 Commissioners, is unique among the states in this country.
15 It cannot be handled by fine-tuning, as one of the
16 newspapers said, it is a constitutional issue.
17 With those arguments, I implore you to address this
18 as one of the most important issues. In fact, really, the
19 only issue of real substance in the whole realm of
20 education. And I know there are other proposals,
21 including one that has to do with the Cabinet system. I'm
22 talking about operational matters for school systems. And
23 with that, I earnestly solicit your positive vote. Thank
24 you very much.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Marshall has taken
1 all of the proponents' time. Now, he'll have two minutes
2 to close and he can share that time with someone if he
3 wishes. Commissioner Smith, for what purpose?
4 COMMISSIONER SMITH: I rise to oppose the proposal.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are recognized.
6 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This
7 proposal will not only divide school districts, but more
8 ominously, it'll divide communities. It will divide rich
9 from poor, black from white, those whose native tongue is
10 English, and those whose native tongue happens to be
11 something other than English.
12 This debate concerning this issue really reinforces
13 the good feeling that I have about this process, because
14 although Commissioner Marshall and I are diametrically
15 opposed, his discussion has been honest and yet
16 passionate. And he honestly told us that he can't look
17 you in the face and tell you that dividing the school
18 districts will make the bottom-line education for our
19 children pass those countries that he named. He honestly
20 admitted that he can't tell you that we would have an
21 immediate positive impact with regard to this.
22 So, the question recurs, as the Chairman likes to
23 say, then why should we do it? I submit to you that
24 probably the most compelling evidence I've seen in terms
25 of education was presented to the Education Committee by
1 Commissioner Marshall, it was extremely compelling. Maybe
2 for Commissioner Jennings it wasn't new because she's
3 worked at this a long time, but it was shocking to me.
4 And what I did as I tried to reassess whether I was
5 doing the right thing, because Commissioner Marshall has
6 forgotten more about education than I'll ever learn and
7 he's very sincere in his support for this proposal and so,
8 I said, We'll consider it. And what I did, I went back to
9 the information that he provided. And when I saw the
10 states that had many more districts like Alabama and
11 Georgia, what I did was, I looked at those states and how
12 their students were performing and how our students were
13 performing. And some of them were performing better and
14 some of them were performing worse. So, that didn't give
15 me any comfort that dividing into more school districts
16 would give us better performance for our students.
17 Additionally, with regard to this proposal, please
18 understand the following: One, it will definitely
19 increase the number of administrators. Two, it will
20 definitely increase the number of politicians. Three, it
21 will not add one new teacher. Four, it will not add one
22 new school. Five, it will not result in smaller
23 classrooms. Now, if this was a smaller class size
24 proposal I would proudly support this with my friend
25 Commissioner Marshall.
1 And clearly, if you look at the housing patterns in
2 the large areas, whether it's Palm Beach, Broward, Orange
3 County or Dade County, and you start dividing these school
4 districts up with the segregated housing patterns, we
5 can't help but move further toward resegregating our
7 Additionally, it's going to cause some serious
8 concerns about the ability to redesign the debt structure.
9 My daughter is in public school in Dade County, she goes
10 to Carver, which is a magnet school for languages. Who
11 gets the magnet schools? I mean, how are they going to
12 decide that? And if we decide to divide the school
13 districts up, try to visualize this, try to visualize your
14 county if it's large divided in half. Okay, do you see
15 any new schools? You see a line, do you see any new
16 schools? What do you see? You see more politicians. You
17 see more administrators. You see more costs.
18 I cannot fathom how in the world you can balance that
19 with the knowledge that we have that's going to further
20 resegregate the system, rich and poor, brown and black
21 versus white, that we move forward with this proposal. I
22 agree with Commissioner Marshall, this is one of the most
23 important proposals that we have because it demonstrates
24 what we shouldn't be doing for the 21st century, we should
25 be bringing our people together not intentionally driving
1 them apart, based on economics, or based upon color, or
2 based on language. Please vote no.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Further debate?
4 Commissioner Mathis.
5 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: I reluctantly speak as an
6 opponent to this proposal. I have great respect for
7 Commissioner Marshall and I, like Commissioner Smith, know
8 that Commissioner Marshall knows more about education than
9 I ever want to know or I'm going to know, but I do know
10 about my kids. And Commissioner Marshall also referred to
11 Orange County. And I was concerned, so I went to those
12 people who are in my direct community.
13 And I visited with Superintendent Dennis Smith and
14 Susan Arken who sits on the school board in our area. And
15 while Orange County used to be very administrative and top
16 heavy, they are moving toward a flat organization. And
17 Superintendent Smith didn't have to wait for the
18 Legislature to break the district down into more workable
19 areas, he did it administratively.
20 He's broken the Orange County district into five
21 areas. There are about 160 administrators that will
22 probably be looking for new jobs soon. He's been able to
23 bring enthusiasm, he's flattened out the organization,
24 brought in more accountability, empowered parents. And
25 he's at the schools.
1 I understand that there are problems with our
2 schools, but we don't want to divide our communities in
3 order to solve a problem, because I think what we would
4 really be doing here is creating additional problems. The
5 results that we are looking for can be achieved
6 administratively, without the risk of duplicate expenses,
7 without the risk of underserving students who have special
8 needs, and without the risk of creating haves and
9 have-nots and uneven allocations of resources. I
10 reluctantly but strongly urge this commission to vote no
11 on this proposal.
12 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Freidin, for
13 what purpose?
14 COMMISSIONER FREIDEN: I rise in opposition.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. One minute is what the
16 opponents have left.
17 COMMISSIONER FREIDEN: With a tremendous amount of
18 respect to Commissioner Marshall, I must oppose this for
19 reasons that you have heard me state before. This is not
20 a governance issue, this is not an education improvements
21 issue, I'm afraid it is a move to establish districts that
22 represent pockets of people instead of the multicultural
23 and multi-socioeconomic society that I think we all want
24 to be living in.
25 Smaller is not better. New Jersey and New York have
1 numerous, hundreds of school districts. They have
2 actually, in both of those states, they have actually
3 passed legislation to allow the state to take back over
4 school districts to make them smaller again.
5 Texas has over 1,000 districts and they don't have
6 any better educational results than Florida does.
7 California has over 1,000 districts, and things are so bad
8 there that they offer no extra services to students other
9 than what they can get private funding for.
10 Smaller districts lose economies of scale,
11 administrative costs will rise, there will be more
12 superintendents, more people to run different purchasing
13 departments, different transportation systems, different
14 food service departments, different record-keeping,
15 different hiring, and all of those departments require
16 supervision. I urge you to oppose this proposal.
17 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. All time for debate
18 has expired. Commissioner Marshall to close. You have
19 two minutes, you can yield some of that time, if you would
21 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Commissioner Smith pointed
22 out that I claimed there would be no immediate impact of
23 this resolution, and indeed I did. And if anybody has a
24 solution that would develop an immediate impact and
25 improve our public schools, please tell me what it is
1 because I want to support it.
2 The problems that we are having in public schools
3 were not generated in one year or one decade, nor will
4 they be solved that quickly. What the adoption of
5 Proposal 40 will do will make schools more responsive and
6 more accountable, and it, Commissioner Smith, could very
7 well result in short-term, in fewer administrators,
8 reduced class size, more teachers, and all of the good
9 things that we want to achieve.
10 As regard to cost, the short and flip answer to the
11 cost of the transition is that, I have no idea how it's
12 going to work and that is the joy of this proposal. There
13 is a commission established that addresses those issues,
14 and once addressed, a plan is laid before the people and
15 they can vote it up or down.
16 All you are doing by voting yes on Proposal 40 is
17 giving the people an opportunity to say whether they want
18 to adopt a new plan or whether they don't. I think that
19 pretty well summarizes it. Mr. Chairman, I do appreciate
20 the accolades about your respect for my knowledge and
21 education, and of course, that ought to dictate that you
22 vote yes on Proposal 40. Thank you very much.
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Gentleman having closed, the
24 question recurs on adoption of Proposal 40. The Secretary
25 will unlock the machine and the members will proceed to
1 vote. All members voting. All members voting.
2 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The Secretary will lock the
4 machine and announce the vote.
5 READING CLERK: Eight yeas, 26 nays, Mr. Chairman.
6 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Proposal No. 40 is not sent
7 forward. Now, I think we want to go back to Proposal No.
8 123 that has to do with the Tax Commission and was
9 temporarily passed. Did we have an amendment pending, as
10 I understand it?
11 READING CLERK: On the desk.
12 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. And then there's
13 amendments to the amendment, I think. There's two
14 amendments to the amendment, I think. And we'll read the
15 first amendment to the amendment, if you will.
16 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Evans on Page 2, Line
17 18, strike 10 and insert 20.
18 (Chairman Douglass resumes Chair.)
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. The amendment to the
20 amendment. Is that what this is? That was the amendment.
21 All right, so we have adopted the first amendment. And we
22 need to reconsider that, so there can be two amendments
23 placed on it, I'm told. Commissioner Barkdull, you move
24 to reconsider it?
25 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I move to reconsider the vote
1 by which we adopted the first amendment.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. All of those in
3 favor, say aye. Opposed?
4 (Verbal vote taken.)
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It's adopted. Now, we will
6 reconsider it, is that right? All of those in favor of
7 reconsideration, say aye. Opposed?
8 (Verbal vote taken.)
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now, where are we now, on the
10 amendment; is that right? We are on the amendment, and
11 there's an amendment to the amendment. And that's by
12 Commissioner Evans; is that correct? All right, there's
13 two amendments.
14 Okay. The first amendment to the amendment by
15 Commissioner Evans. Perhaps it might be appropriate to
16 reread the amendment so we'll know what it is that we are
17 amending now. Is that okay, Commissioner Barkdull?
18 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Yes, this is just the one
19 that corrects the scribner's error and moves it from 10 to
20 20 years.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: This amendment is, all right,
22 that's Commissioner Evans' amendment, moves it from 10 to
23 20 years and corrects the scribner's error. All in favor,
24 say aye; opposed?
25 (Verbal vote taken.)
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment to the amendment is
2 adopted. Now, there's another amendment to the amendment.
3 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Back to 180 days we have to
4 file -- the Commission would have to file with the
5 Secretary of State rather than 90, and it puts it in line
6 with what the Revision Commission has to do and so forth.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Is that -- read it.
8 Okay, let's do some reading here.
9 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Evans, on Page 3,
10 Line 9, delete all of said lines and insert: "Or
11 budgetary laws of the state not later than 180 days prior
12 to the general."
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. That is the amendment
14 to the amendment. Any discussion? All in favor, say aye.
16 (Verbal vote taken.)
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment to the amendment is
18 adopted. Now, we are on the amendment as amended to the
20 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Correct.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Whose amendment is it?
22 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: It is Barnett and Nabors',
23 and it is a friendly amendment.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You have discussed it already,
25 have you not, Commissioner Barnett? Is everybody ready to
1 vote on the amendment to the proposal as amended? We are
2 not voting on the proposal, we are voting on the amendment
3 as amended to the proposal. Does everybody understand?
4 All right. Let's unlock the machine and vote.
5 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
8 READING CLERK: Thirty yeas, zero nays, Mr. Chairman.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now, we are on the
10 proposal as amended. That's Commissioner Barkdull's
11 proposal. You have the floor.
12 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: What this does now will
13 continue the Budget and Tax Reform Commission. It will
14 meet every 20 years. It meets on the 10 years different
15 from the Constitution Revision Commission, and it does not
16 require the excessive number of votes to get a matter on
17 the ballot, it requires just two-thirds of the entire
18 commission. And I would urge its adoption.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any discussion? If
20 not, we'll -- Commissioner Connor.
21 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I have a question.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay.
23 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: If we vote no on this proposed
24 amendment, does that leave us with the status quo of a
25 prospective commission as it presently exists?
1 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: That's my understanding, it
2 would leave the Constitution just like it is.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Does everybody
4 understand now that we are voting on the proposal as
5 amended relating to the Finance and Budget Commission, Tax
6 and Budget Commission? Unlock the machine and let's vote.
7 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
10 READING CLERK: Thirty yeas, one nay, Mr. Chairman.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. By your vote you have
12 approved and sent forward to Style and Drafting 123 for
13 including on the proposal ballot.
14 All right. The next one is Proposal 157 by the
15 Committee for Education and Commissioner Mills. There's
16 an amendment on the table. Would you read it?
17 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
18 157, a proposal to revise Article IX, Section 1, Florida
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. There is an amendment
21 and it's a Style and Drafting amendment. Oh, I need five
22 hands before we reconsider this. We have it. Thanks.
23 Now, read the Style and Drafting amendment, please.
24 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
25 Drafting, on Page 1, Lines 13 through 25, strike all of
1 said lines and insert lengthy amendment.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Mills.
3 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, we have just had a
4 discussion on the importance of education. As I think we
5 know, the most important issue to the public that we
6 intend to send these proposals to is education. This
7 proposal, the reason that I suggest we raise five hands,
8 it was almost unanimous before. This is the definition of
9 the term adequacy.
10 And Commissioner Thompson, and I believe it's
11 Commissioner Connor as well, brought up a salient point
12 that was actually reinforced in our public hearings, which
13 is to say that the purpose of public schools is not only
14 to prepare people for higher education but to prepare
15 people to serve in the democratic society to compete in
16 the economy of the state of Florida and the world.
17 So that's simply what this does, it clarifies that
18 language so that you don't have the confusion that we had
19 before that related to the higher education.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: This is on the amendment.
21 Commissioner Scott has a question.
22 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Commissioner Mills, could you
23 explain to me how this is a Style and Drafting amendment?
24 I mean, it is totally different, totally changed, it talks
25 about a democratic society and all kinds of things. I
1 mean, what does that have to do with Style and Drafting?
2 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, that's fine, we'll change
3 it to -- because actually the purpose was to define the
4 object of K through 12 and, if you don't think it is a
5 Style and Drafting amendment, that's fine.
6 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Well, as Chairman, do you think
7 it is? Do you think that is a Style and Drafting change?
8 It is all new words, all new lines, different global
10 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, it's not all new lines.
11 I'll be glad to argue it separately, it doesn't make any
12 difference. It's actually narrower than the previous
14 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Well, it concerns me that this
15 is put out here as a Style and Drafting amendment. I
16 mean, that's supposed to be language -- I mean, all of
17 this stuff is going back to Style and Drafting. I am
18 concerned that, you know, it's going to be --
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: As I understand it, he's going to
20 relieve you of any consideration and offer it as his own
21 amendment. And I regret that you weren't at Style and
22 Drafting to tell them that yesterday since you are on the
24 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Well, I regretted it too if I
25 knew they were going to --
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You might have heard of this.
2 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, if I
3 knew that they were going to go off and rewrite stuff in
4 Style and Drafting.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do you want to respond to that,
6 Commissioner Mills?
7 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, Mr. Chairman, this
8 amendment, in no major way changes what's going on here.
9 I don't think -- want people to get uneasy about what
10 Style and Drafting has done because we have been
11 insidiously careful about protecting the intent of this
12 particular amendment, corrected amendment, that actually
13 Chairman Douglass drafted on the floor. And one of the
14 problems was, with all good intent on the floor, it's
15 impossible to get the wording precisely correct. But I'm
16 perfectly willing to argue this as a separate amendment.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. We'll treat it as
18 Commissioner Mills' amendment one to the proposal. And
19 you may proceed from there. You may speak in favor of the
20 amendment, Commissioner Mills.
21 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, Mr. Chairman, the object
22 of doing this was, again, in response to Commissioner
23 Thompson and I think it was Commissioner Connor's concern,
24 about identifying higher education as the only purpose of
25 K through 12. K through 12 has other purposes which this
1 defines, and the language is precisely identical to the
2 previous language.
3 This language was suggested at the hearing, I
4 believe, by Tara Sessoms [phonetic], former Chairman of
5 the Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Legislature and
6 Speaker. This simply adds the terms, To participate in a
7 democratic society and to successfully compete in a global
9 The object of this was to provide purposes that would
10 apply generally to citizenship as opposed to solely be
11 limited to access to higher education.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any discussion on the amendment
13 to the proposal offered by Commissioner Mills?
14 Commissioner Scott.
15 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: She was up first.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Evans.
17 COMMISSIONER EVANS: I rise to oppose the amendment.
18 The language to participate in a democratic society and to
19 successfully compete is a global economy is straight out
20 of the outcomes-based education language that this is a
21 religious issue. There are a lot of people who do not
22 want to see our country move to the one world government
23 type of mentality. And to put this kind of issue into our
24 Constitution is quite egregious as far as -- as what we
25 are truly trying to teach our children. Am I on the wrong
1 amendment? To participate in a democratic society and to
2 successfully compete in a global economy, straight out of
3 outcomes-based education, is quite a great concern for a
4 lot of people. A lot of people do not believe that our
5 public education should be spending money to promote
6 religion, and this puts it in the Constitution that we
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott, you wanted to
9 be in opposition, didn't you? Commissioner Mills.
10 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Mr. Chairman, both to respond to
11 those comments and any unease. The substance of that
12 proposal is -- ends with the word education and I have no
13 problem striking the language that prepares students to
14 participate in a democratic society and successfully
15 compete in the global economy. And then that language,
16 Commissioner Scott, is precisely the same as it was
17 before, except it doesn't mention higher education.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further
19 discussion on the amendment? If not -- Commissioner
21 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, Commissioner Kogan needs
22 to introduce that amendment, which I accept, which would
23 strike everything after education.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, put it on the table, the
25 amendment to the amendment. We have been doing real well,
1 I hope we can not get tangled up if we can avoid it and
2 keep moving along. We have done very well so far. We are
3 seeming to run into a little snag here and there now.
4 Have you got the amendment on the table? It is a slow
5 table, Commissioner Mills.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Let's temporarily pass it and
8 move on to the next one. The amendment to the amendment
9 has got to be drafted. Without objection we'll move on to
10 the next proposal.
11 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: The next proposal is 166,
12 this is the one I mentioned earlier this morning. It's
13 out of line, I move that we temporarily pass it.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You had already moved it to the
15 other part of the special order in your report. And I
16 ruled that when you did.
17 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: All right. Then the next
18 matter will be 181.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's correct. The next
20 proposal for consideration is No. 181 by Commissioner
21 Brochin. Would you read the proposal, please?
22 READING CLERK: Proposal 181, a proposal to revise
23 Article IX, Section 1, Florida Constitution.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Brochin,
25 you are recognized.
1 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: Thank you. Proposal 181 deals
2 with expressing the fundamental value of the people of our
3 state to be the education of their children. The very
4 first thing I did when I was appointed to this Commission
5 was to go back and read all of the Florida Constitutions.
6 And lo and behold, back in the Constitution of 1868 buried
7 there, you will find the following language: It is the
8 paramount duty of the State to make ample provision for
9 the education of all of the children residing within its
10 borders without distinction or preference.
11 That's essentially the language that's before you
12 today, extracted from the 1868 Constitution.
13 Last time we voted on this, it passed overwhelmingly
14 by 19 to 5, and therefore, I would urge your approval at
15 this point.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do we have five hands to revote
17 on this? Thank you, we do.
18 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: The intent, and I do want to
19 be clear on the intent, is as follows: One, it is to
20 allow the people of this state to say through its
21 Constitution, through its document, that it has
22 fundamental values, and one of those fundamental values is
23 the education of its children.
24 Two, it is to allow the people of this state, through
25 the Constitution, its document, to instruct its state
1 government that its paramount duty is to provide an
2 adequate, adequate education for its children.
3 Three, it is to tell by the people of this state,
4 when they move forward in the education of our children,
5 whether it's through vouchers, whether it's through
6 charter schools, whether it's through private schools,
7 public schools, that all children, all children in the
8 state will move there together.
9 The other thing that I did when I joined this
10 Commission was to write down a series of factors as to
11 what would be appropriate for amending our Constitution,
12 and this falls squarely within those factors. We cannot
13 argue here today that Proposal 181 is legislative in
14 nature. We cannot say that Proposal 181 is something that
15 the Legislature, the Governor, or the courts should take
16 care of.
17 Proposal 181 is quintessential constitutional
18 language that sets forth, in clear and unambiguous terms,
19 the high value of education that we place on our
20 Constitution for education. Now, when we arrived here,
21 there were a lot of things in our Constitution that set
22 out rights, next of kin, access to courts, and I could go
24 When we also arrived here, our Constitution does
25 mention children, it talks about children and how we are
1 supposed to punish them, Article I, Section 15.
2 Otherwise, you don't find children in our Constitution.
3 And the time, I believe, has come now to place it there so
4 that we are sure that the education of our children for
5 the future is preserved. And I urge your adoption of this
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Morsani,
8 do you rise in support or opposition?
9 COMMISSIONER MORSANI: I rise in support.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are recognized, sir.
11 COMMISSIONER MORSANI: I would hope that you would
12 all vote for this proposal. I picked up something that I
13 thought you might like to hear. There once was a pretty
14 good student who sat in a pretty good class and was taught
15 by a pretty good teacher who always let pretty good pass.
16 He wasn't terrific at reading, he wasn't a whizbang at
17 math, but for him education was leading straight down a
18 pretty good path. He didn't find school too exciting, but
19 he wanted to do pretty well, and he did have trouble with
20 writing and nobody taught him to spell. In doing
21 arithmetic problems pretty good was regarded as fine.
22 Five plus five need not always add up to 10, a pretty good
23 answer was 9.
24 The pretty good class they sat in was part of a
25 pretty good school. And the student was not an exception,
1 on the contrary he was the rule. The pretty good school
2 that he went to was there in a pretty good town, and
3 nobody there seemed to notice he could not tell a verb
4 from a noun. The pretty good student, in fact, was a part
5 of a pretty good mob, and the first time he knew what he
6 lacked was when he looked for a pretty good job. It was
7 then that he saw the position, he discovered that life
8 could be tough, and he soon had a sneaky suspicion pretty
9 good might not be good enough.
10 The pretty good town in our story was part of a
11 pretty good state, which had pretty good aspirations and
12 prayed for a pretty good fate. There once was a pretty
13 good nation, pretty proud of the greatness it had which
14 learned much too late, if you want to be great, pretty
15 good is, in fact, pretty bad.
16 I recommend that we pass this proposal.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Alfred Lord Tennyson
18 has given us the word here. Now, is there any further
19 discussion on this amendment -- proposal, excuse me. If
20 not, we'll proceed to vote. Unlock the machine.
21 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: People are absent from the
23 chamber. Well, I don't think we have to wait on them to
24 get back. Lock the machine and announce the vote.
25 READING CLERK: Twenty-eight yeas, one nay,
1 Mr. Chairman.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: By your vote, you have approved
3 this for Style and Drafting to place on the ballot. Now,
4 we'll go back to Proposal No. 157 which we left waiting on
5 Commissioner Kogan's amendment to the amendment.
6 Commissioner Kogan, let me have them read that. And this
7 is the amendment to the amendment.
8 Now, for the benefit of those that might have been
9 out of the chamber, this is the amendment that relates to
10 the proposal on, aspirational statement on education and
11 adequate provisions that were raised at the last phrase in
12 the amendment, needed to be changed, and Commissioner
13 Kogan has offered an amendment. Would you read the
14 amendment, please?
15 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Kogan on Page 1, Line
16 6, delete and insert, strike "that prepares students to
17 participate in a democratic society and to successfully
18 compete in a global economy."
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And then insert, no, not insert
20 anything, just a period. Is that it, Commissioner Kogan?
21 Okay. Everybody understand the amendment to the
22 amendment, it is to strike that sentence. All right. All
23 in favor, say aye. Opposed?
24 (Verbal vote taken.)
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It carries. Now, we are on the
1 amendment as amended to the proposal. Commissioner Mills,
2 do you want to close on that?
3 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I just move it.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Move on the amendment to the
5 proposal. All of those in favor of the amendment, say
6 aye. Opposed?
7 (Verbal vote taken.)
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We are now on the
9 proposal as amended. Commissioner Mills.
10 COMMISSIONER MILLS: I simply move it, Mr. Chairman.
11 This defines adequacy in a way that gives us an
12 opportunity to elevate our vision of our school system.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Is there anybody that
14 wants to speak to this? All right. If not, open the
15 machine and let's vote.
16 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Lock the machine and
18 announce the vote.
19 READING CLERK: Twenty-eight yeas, two nays,
20 Mr. Chairman.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. By your vote, you
22 have sent this to Style and Drafting for inclusion on the
23 ballot. We now move to Committee Substitute for Proposal
24 66 by the Committee on Judicial. And Commissioner
25 Wetherington. Would you read it, please?
1 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal No.
2 66, a proposal to revise Article V, Sections 10 and 11,
3 Florida Constitution.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. This is the opt-in,
5 opt-out merit retention, and it was adopted 24 to 7. Are
6 there five hands to reconsider this? If not, it's adopted
7 and sent to Style and Drafting for inclusion on the
8 ballot. Now, we move to crime and punishment, Proposal
9 No. 24 by Commissioners Rundle, Mills, and Butterworth.
10 Would you read it, please?
11 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 24, proposal to revise
12 Article IV, Section 8, Florida Constitution.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner -- which
14 one of you wants to take this? Commissioner Mills. There
15 is an amendment on the table. This is by Style and
16 Drafting. It is an amendment that's being offered by
17 Commissioner Mills on behalf of Style and Drafting.
18 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Commissioner Mills on behalf of
19 Style and Drafting.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Correct. And would you -- let me
21 let her read it. Okay, would you read the amendment?
22 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
23 Drafting, on Page 2, Line 20, strike all said lines and
24 insert, no persons sentenced to state prison shall be
25 released for any reason prior to serving almost 85 percent
1 of sentence imposed unless granted clemency. State
2 prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment shall be
3 incarcerated for the rest of their natural life unless
4 granted clemency.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Before we go forward,
6 are there five hands to redo this? There are five hands.
7 All right. Proceed on the amendment to the proposal.
8 This is the stop proposal, is that it?
9 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. This simply
10 strikes out the language in the first two sentences which
11 some folks believed were editorial comment. Not that I
12 don't agree with that, but --
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Does anybody want to
14 discuss the amendment or any questions? All right. If
15 not, all in favor of the amendment to the proposal, say
16 aye. Opposed?
17 (Verbal vote taken.)
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment is adopted. Now,
19 we are on the proposal. Commissioner Butterworth is
20 recognized to present the proposal as amended.
21 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Mr. Chairman, before I do
22 that I would like to present an amendment which I think is
23 being passed out now. If it would be appropriate, I would
24 like to just discuss the amendment first. It's very, very
25 simple. What the amendment does, and a lot of concern
1 that people have is, are we really locking in the
2 Legislature over a number of years, perhaps a number of
3 crimes that perhaps we really don't wish to have people
4 being locked into 85 percent of service or time to be
5 served; therefore, what the amendment will do will be to
6 only require the 85 percent to the persons who were
7 sentenced to state prisons for a violent crime.
8 And I believe this does take care of a number of
9 concerns that people have had over the last number of
10 weeks. And I would urge the adoption of that particular
11 amendment, which you should have.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Let me have her read the
13 amendment, please, by Commissioner Butterworth. Would you
14 read the amendment?
15 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Butterworth, on
16 Page 1, Line 1, after the word "present," insert "for a
17 violent crime."
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Everybody heard him
19 explain it, I think. Any discussion? Commissioner
21 COMMISSIONER MORSANI: Question of Commissioner
22 Butterworth. As a percentage of our population, prison
23 population, what is -- how many violent crimes versus
24 other crimes?
25 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: 312 to 16.
2 COMMISSIONER MORSANI: You are a lot of help. I
3 mean, are most of the people in prison for violent crimes?
4 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Nowadays most people are
5 in prison for violent crimes. In the past, years gone by,
6 they were not. What this would allow is that if there is
7 a crunch, that the Legislature would be able to deal with,
8 if they have to release people early, would be able to
9 deal with the issue of the nonviolent offender, but we'll
10 be sending the message out for the violent offender, if
11 you are convicted of a violent offense in the state of
12 Florida, you are going to spend 85 percent of your time in
13 a prison unless of course you receive some type of
14 clemency by the Governor and the Cabinet.
15 But I believe this goes a long way in resolving some
16 of the concerns and there were people who did have an
17 order to bring more support to what I think is a very,
18 very fine amendment.
19 COMMISSIONER MORSANI: I do have questions on the
20 proposal, but we are not there yet, we are on the
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. On the amendment,
23 questions from Commissioner Smith to Commissioner
25 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Commissioner Butterworth, with
1 regard to the definition of violent crime, is it defined
2 the same as violent crime is defined with regard to
3 habitual offender statutes, or what specifically is going
4 to be the definition?
5 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: That would be left up to
6 the Legislature as to the definition, or the courts will
7 probably, the courts or the Legislature would do it. I'm
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Rundle.
10 COMMISIONER RUNDLE: I believe that violent crimes is
11 defined in state law as part one crimes, so I think
12 there's already by law a definition of what constitutes
13 violent crimes. I think that's right.
14 COMMISSIONER SMITH: My question is, with regard to
15 part one crimes, are those definitions, the definition of
16 those crimes included in violent crimes, are they the same
17 as those identified in the habitual offender statute,
18 which can cause you to double or triple a person's
19 sentence? Does anybody know that?
20 If you don't, I'm not trying to put anybody on the
21 spot, I'm trying to follow up on Commissioner Morsani,
22 because based on what the violent crimes are and what the
23 population of the prison is, in terms of percentage of
24 violent crimes, we can tell whether we are really taking
25 the handcuffs off of the Legislature or whether we are
1 just making pretty handcuffs.
2 COMMISIONER RUNDLE: The way I view this, for those
3 of you who don't know, the habitual offender statute deals
4 with those that commit certain crimes within a certain
5 period of time over a number of years, so they get an
6 enhanced penalty. The habitual violent offender provision
7 would deal with some of the same violent acts that you
8 would have in part one crimes, robbery, kidnapping, some
9 of those kinds of things. But it wouldn't necessarily
10 mean that you would be sentenced under the HVO.
11 In other words, being sentenced under the Habitual
12 Violent Offender Act would require that you have committed
13 certain offenses, again, over a certain number of years,
14 that you are in fact a career criminal according to the
15 definitions in Florida state statutes. You might not be a
16 habitual violent offender, still commit a violent crime,
17 and then this would apply to you.
18 And for those of you who don't know, the Habitual
19 Violent Offender Act as well as GORIT [phonetic], do
20 provide for an 85 percent time served now. I hope that
21 answers your question on that.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now we are still on
23 the amendment. Commissioner Wetherington on the
25 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: On the amendment. A
1 question for Commissioner Butterworth.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right.
3 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Is battery a violent
5 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: I would think that would
6 be a violent crime, sure.
7 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: If I spit on you, that's
8 a battery, under the law that's a battery.
9 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Based upon what you are
10 convicted of, if it is a violent offense then it would be
11 85 percent.
12 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: So if I spit on somebody,
13 that's a violent crime and I have got to do 85 percent,
14 whatever the circumstances are, right?
15 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: You have served on the
16 bench much longer than I have. I don't know how many
17 people you have put in prison for spitting on people. I
18 have not had the opportunity to --
19 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: I'm trying to use an
20 example that violent includes a tremendous number of
21 things, including battery. And now if that was on a
22 police officer, then it would be a felony. If you commit
23 battery on a police officer, that is a third degree
24 felony, you can send somebody to five years in the state
25 penitentiary, unless they have changed that the last time.
1 So if I spit on a police officer, I have got a
2 five-year felony, I am going to serve 85 percent of a
3 five-year felony under that sentence under this proposal,
5 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Commissioner, under the
6 present law of the state of Florida if you are convicted
7 of any offense and you receive time, you are going to be
8 serving 85 percent of that time. What this does, it puts
9 in the Constitution 85 percent of violent only. The way
10 it is drafted now it would be 85 percent of any crime.
11 Spitting on a police officer may not end up being a
12 violent crime under the laws of Florida.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Nabors.
14 COMMISSIONER NABORS: I'd like to speak against this
15 amendment at the appropriate time.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The appropriate time is now or
18 COMMISSIONER NABORS: All right. I didn't know if
19 they were still asking questions.
20 Quickly, with all due respect to Commissioner
21 Butterworth, what bothers me about this amendment, so you
22 know where I'm coming from and why I'll vote against the
23 proposal, is I think this is inherently legislative. As
24 we deal with the definition of what is violent, we talk
25 about it in terms of what legislation says. You have got
1 to remember, we are putting this in the Constitution.
2 Legislation can come and go. We use the term "violent"
3 and we try to explain it in terms of what the legislation
4 says from time to time.
5 To me this is underscores why this proposal or this
6 public policy should be done by the Legislature and not in
7 the Constitution. I urge you to vote against the
8 amendment because it's vague in terms of the
9 constitutional standard and ultimately I would have to
10 urge you to vote against the proposal.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull.
12 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I want to speak briefly in
13 favor of the amendment.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Speak away.
15 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Without the amendment the
16 Legislature is going to be locked in in the future as far
17 as adjusting any sentences. And with the amendment, if
18 there is a problem which can arise, the Legislature can
19 redefine what is a violent crime, as I understand what the
20 amendment would do.
21 Otherwise, until such time as the Legislature changes
22 anything and we pass this the way it is, somebody that
23 commits a crime, a violent crime as defined today, is
24 going to do 85 percent of the time. But there may become
25 a time in the future when the Legislature for one reason
1 or another in its wisdom decides to redefine violent
2 crime, and that's within their prerogative.
3 And I think that this is a good amendment which would
4 put the Legislature in a position that has to fund the
5 cost of these operations to be able to control somewhat
6 what they are going to have in the way of population.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any more discussion on the
8 amendment? Commissioner Connor was next.
9 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Mr. Chairman, I am not prepared
10 to accede to the notion that the Legislature necessarily
11 is the one that decides what a violent crime is. Without
12 a definition in the Constitution and without a reference
13 to a statutory provision, which Commissioner Barkdull has
14 pointed out previously is not good constitutional
15 practice, I think the courts have the discretion to
16 determine what's a violent crime.
17 And so, Commissioner Morsani, with all due deference
18 to my colleagues who suggested that to the contrary, it
19 strikes me that the courts are going to be the ones who
20 decide what the meaning of the terms of the Constitution
21 is, where a definition is not spelled out and where no
22 reference to a definition is spelled out.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We have used up the
24 time on this amendment. Are you ready to vote? Yes, you
25 can close. Well I think all the time is up. Proponents,
1 opponents, proponents and you can close.
2 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Commissioners, I am
3 personally in favor of the proposal as it is, but I do
4 believe that this amendment will make it better insofar as
5 being able to pass it here as well as having the
6 Legislature be able to work within it.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We will proceed to
8 vote on the amendment. Everybody understand? Unlock the
9 machine and let's vote. This is the amendment, not the
11 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
14 READING CLERK: Twenty-eight yeas and 5 nays,
15 Mr. Chairman.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now we are on the proposal which
17 is by Commissioners Butterworth, Rundle and Mills. Who is
18 going to present the proposal? Commissioner Rundle.
19 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: Fellow commissioners, we are
20 getting to that part of our program where we are
21 addressing issues of public safety. And let me just point
22 out to you there are only 2 out of these 44 proposals that
23 deal with the issue of crime and public safety.
24 And I think most of you know that when you talk to
25 citizens around the state of Florida, or we're trying to
1 recruit citizens to the state of Florida, there are
2 basically two things on their minds; crime and education.
3 And so of all the proposals we are coming up to the only
4 two that at least address an issue that's very important
5 to the citizens of the state of Florida.
6 This particular proposal, to give you just a brief,
7 brief history, if you will recall, we spent a decade
8 suffering as a state with our early release policy from
9 our state prisons. We have suffered also in our courts
10 because our judges who take due time, who listen to
11 argument, weigh everything, make a decision on what the
12 appropriate sentence is for a particular defendant is
13 completely gutted through whatever policy the state
14 Legislature has in place at that time.
15 Yes, it is true, the state Legislature did finally,
16 after people like you met at our hearings -- and by the
17 way there is a whole bunch of them up here that have made
18 this trip yet again because they were victims of Florida's
19 policy -- they started an initiative process. And both
20 the first time and the second time they have a cumulative
21 number of around half a million citizens that already
22 support the initiative process.
23 But what it did was it forced the Legislature to go
24 ahead and enact the 85 percent provision, which they could
25 change tomorrow or they could gut in any way they want
1 with gain time and incentive time, provisional credits.
2 They have called it everything imaginable in the last
4 People keep saying, It doesn't belong in the
5 Constitution. I never quite know what that means because
6 to me the Constitution is what the people wish for. There
7 is a lot of aspirational language that's in our
8 Constitution. Of the 44 proposals, I asked my legal
9 staff, tell me which ones must be done in the Constitution
10 and which ones can be done legislatively. And upwards of
11 50 percent of all the proposals we are considering can be
12 done legislatively.
13 But I don't have a problem with that, I think that's
14 okay. If it is important to the people of the state of
15 Florida, then it belongs in our Constitution. This is one
16 way to protect it.
17 One last thing please think about. The Senate
18 unanimously voted, even after it was state law, to put it
19 on the state Constitution, to leave it to the people, to
20 put it on the ballot so it can be voted in. The House was
21 about to do the same thing except someone came along and
22 increased it from 85 percent to 100 percent so it died.
23 If your Legislature believes that it should be in the
24 Constitution, your citizens up there believe it should in
25 the Constitution, why shouldn't we allow them that option
1 to vote it in? I urge you please to support this, we are
2 very close to our 22 votes. Thank you.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner
4 Wetherington and then Commissioners Smith and Brochin.
5 Commissioner Wetherington.
6 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: I speak in opposition
7 with the greatest friendship and respect for both
8 commissioners that are sponsoring this. But something I
9 read interestingly in the Houston Chronicle Monday,
10 March 16, as follows out of Santa Ana, California: A man
11 who stole four chocolate chip cookies from a restaurant
12 must serve 26 years to life in prison under the state's
13 three strikes law.
14 Judge Jean Reinheimer [phonetic] refused Friday to
15 reduce the sentence given in 1995 to Kevin Webber, 34,
16 previously convicted of a burglary and assault with a
17 firearm. "I just see no reason to say Mr. Webber is
18 anything other than the three strikes defendant the people
19 and the Legislature had in mind when they enacted this
20 law," the judge said. Three strikes laws mandate tough
21 punishments after third conviction.
22 Now presumably this defendant who stole four
23 chocolate chip cookies from a restaurant under the
24 85 percent rule would be serving 85 percent of 26 years to
25 life. Obviously, you get the feeling that this is not a
1 sentence that I am particularly in agreement with. There
2 are a lot of sentences that come out and a lot of
3 circumstances that come out where you can get some very,
4 occasionally, although usually we get good sound
5 sentences, but you can get some very skewed results for
6 lots of reasons in the criminal justice system.
7 The idea, on a situation like this, of having a
8 constitutional requirement of serving 85 percent of the
9 time no matter how ridiculous the sentence is, in my mind
10 is unthinkable. I don't want to go into the problem that
11 we have with this massive building up of the jail
12 overcrowding that we are having now and that we are going
13 to continue to have in the future.
14 To remove any ability to deal with that problem other
15 than the continuing warehousing of people, irrespective of
16 whether or not they have been rehabilitated or are capable
17 of being rehabilitated, regardless of the circumstances
18 underlying the sentence, whether it is a horribly just or
19 unjust sentence, to my mind is unthinkable.
20 And I understand the motives, and the frustrations
21 with law and order but this is -- this would be, in my
22 judgment, a totally arbitrary, unworkable solution. It
23 would be impractical, we could not afford it and even if
24 we could afford it to say automatically that there is
25 no -- there is nothing built in for good time, there is
1 nothing to help the prison officials with respect to
2 giving somebody some hope, there is nothing in there of
3 rehabilitation, we completely wipe everybody off, there is
4 no possibility of reform is to me a bad, unjust thing to
5 do and I oppose it.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Smith
7 and then Brochin.
8 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise
9 to oppose this proposition. And let me just assist my
10 good friend Commissioner Wetherington with the four
11 chocolate chip cookies, which is not a violent crime.
12 That individual had tried to run out of the store and a
13 police officer tried to catch him and he pushed him,
14 that's a battery on a police officer and then that would
15 be a violent crime and therefore even with the amendment,
16 the Butterworth amendment, he would be subjected to 26
17 years having to serve 85 percent.
18 We have done a lot of bashing of our Legislature and
19 I rise to commend the Legislature for responding to STOP
20 and passing the legislation that requires 85 percent of
21 time. This is a legislative responsibility.
22 And Commissioner Rundle states that 50 percent of our
23 proposals can be handled by the Legislature, and
24 50 percent must be in the Constitution. But there is a
25 difference between those that can be handled by the
1 Legislature and those that have been handled by the
2 Legislature, which is in fact this particular proposal.
3 Secondly, we know for a fact that the Legislature is
4 not going to downgrade sentences. We haven't seen that.
5 The Legislature is not saying, We are going to, the
6 15-year minimum mandatory sentences and 5-year minimum
7 mandatory, 3-year minimum mandatory sentences, habitual
8 offender, violent offender, life sentences, we are going
9 to reduce them back. Politicians can't run on an
10 I'm-reducing-sentences platform. We know that it won't
11 work in Florida.
12 And so what we are doing is we're crippling the
13 ability of the Legislature to be able to deal with the
14 kind of problems that can arise by this type of draconian
15 legislation. Let me just tell you this, Commissioner
16 Rundle is right. The people will vote for this. If you
17 made all violent crimes life felonies, the people will
18 vote for it. We need to bring some kind of sanity to this
19 debate and to this discussion.
20 We need to provide some discretion. We need to
21 provide some compassion and some understanding. If you
22 look at the sentences in Florida we have some of the
23 toughest sentences in the country, maybe surpassed by
24 Texas. But what are we doing? We are feeding raw meat to
25 people who are hurt. And I think that we need to bring
1 some intellectual sanity and honesty to the process.
2 And I implore you, we were 14 votes before that voted
3 no, we need 16 votes today. And I urge those of you on
4 the fence to think about the fact that it has already been
5 fixed by the Legislature. Please, let's not write this in
6 our Constitution. If we are going to do that, let's also
7 write in the Constitution that all life, all violent
8 felonies will do life imprisonment. All people with
9 mandatory sentences, you do everyday, if we really feel
10 that way.
11 And I don't think we really feel that way. And I
12 don't think we have to pander to the public because most
13 of us are not running for anything except for the respect
14 of the people of the state of Florida. Please vote no.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: How much time? Opponents have
16 about used up your time. Commissioner Brochin, are you a
17 proponent or opponent?
18 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: I am an opponent.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are going to wind up the
21 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: If I ever run for public
22 office I am going to right now make three campaign
23 pledges; one, I'm going to amend the wrongful death
24 statute and take care of age. Two, I'm going to remove or
25 lift the caps on sovereign immunity. And, three, I'm
1 going to pass a law that says that people should spend
2 100 percent of their time in prison because this proposal,
3 as well intended as it is, has the point of truth in
5 But the problem is we are not the Legislature, and I
6 am not running for office, and this is already the law in
7 the state of Florida. Not only is it the law in the state
8 of Florida, we are proposing a number, 85 percent to go
9 into our Constitution. And respectfully, you do not place
10 those sort of tight and narrow restrictions in a document
11 that should lay out some broad, overriding principles on
12 how to govern, not specifically micromanage the way
13 government is to be run.
14 So in my humble opinion, it does not meet any of the
15 tests for what the Constitution Revision Commission should
16 be doing, except that it does have the more than distinct
17 possibility of being approved. But as Commissioner Smith
18 adequately said or aptly said -- well adequate is still a
19 good term, you know -- we need to bring some intellectual
20 honesty to it.
21 And to put 85 percent, or any number like that, in
22 terms of how prisoners should go and for how long is a
23 mistake that we may not be able to correct. Whereas, the
24 Legislature who has put it into our law and who meets
25 every year and can meet more often if necessary has that
1 sort of flexibility that is necessary and that is why I'm
2 voting against it.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. The proponents have
4 some more time left. Commissioner Mills.
5 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, let me tell you, what I
6 think I'm hearing here, it is like the guy that's beaten
7 up on the side of the road and folks walk over to him and
8 say, Gee, you look like you have been badly beaten up by
9 those two guys over there. What can we do to help those
10 two guys over there? We are talking about trying to make
11 criminals serve the time that they are entitled to. And
12 they have earned.
13 And I hear judges talk about sentencing and saying
14 they are ridiculous sentences. If they are ridiculous
15 sentences, they are giving them. All this does is say you
16 are going to serve 85 percent of whatever ridiculous
17 sentence that you happen to determine to give.
18 Now talk about the Legislature. Why we need to do
19 this? The Legislature would never do that, not so. 1987,
20 take you back, that Legislature was certainly not elected
21 on being weak on crime. That Legislature was confronted
22 with a federal order which said, We are going to empty
23 your prisons unless you do. And by statute, in this
24 section, they said, We are going to start releasing
25 prisoners, whoever gets there.
1 Commissioner Butterworth had a great point. If
2 you're going to release people, let's release people who
3 we have examined. And now this is limited to violent
4 offenders. Think about this. What we did in 1987 was
5 what these people, the victims were talking about. We
6 released people because we didn't think ahead.
7 This in the Constitution means the Legislature cannot
8 open the back door. They have got to plan ahead because
9 we in the Constitution have told them that if you pass a
10 statute that says everything that's illegal, convict
11 somebody and a judge imposes a sentence, however
12 ridiculous, they are going to serve 85 percent of that.
13 What could be more honest? The whole rest of the system
14 is moving. The whole rest of the system can be changed.
15 This one part cannot. And will the Legislature do it?
16 History speaks. The Legislature did it. In 1987 we
17 started letting people out.
18 And this would compel the Legislature to look ahead
19 in terms of corrections. If you don't want to let people
20 out, build a prison. This is -- the citizens of this
21 state deserve an honest system where if you are sentenced,
22 you do the time. That's very simple. If you don't want
23 to do the time, don't pass the statute, don't sentence
24 them. Once they are sentenced, this honestly says, You
25 will do 85 percent of your sentence. That's all it does.
1 And it should be in the Constitution. Why? Because
2 the Legislature will, will have to and will release
3 people. This will make that, make the Legislature look
4 ahead in a way that the Constitution only can do.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Butterworth.
6 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to
7 assure Commissioners Wetherington and Smith that I just
8 contacted Secretary Singletary at the Department of
9 Corrections and we have nobody doing jail time for
10 stealing four cookies. I have also contacted my good
11 sheriffs from Citrus and Pinellas County and they advise
12 me that they have nobody serving time in their respective
13 jails for stealing four cookies.
14 But if in fact we did, there is a safety valve in
15 this amendment, this proposal, which says that the
16 Governor and Cabinet, if there is an unjust circumstance,
17 they can correct it through clemency.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. It is time to close.
19 Anybody want to close or is there a close by any of the
20 proposers? If not, then we are prepared to vote. Open
21 the machine and let's vote.
22 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
23 (Off-the-record comment.)
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: If everybody has voted that's
25 going to vote, then lock the machine and announce the
2 READING CLERK: Twenty yeas, 11 nays, Mr. Chairman.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We will move to
4 Proposal No. 167 by Commissioner Rundle.
5 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 167, a proposal to
6 revise Article VIII, Section 5, Florida Constitution.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner -- there
8 is an amendment being offered -- do I have five hands on
9 this? Yes, we do. Okay. There is an amendment on the
10 table. Commissioner Smith?
11 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Would you record me as no on the
12 last vote? I didn't vote. I pushed my button but it
13 didn't -- I pushed it, but it didn't register.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Without objection, Commissioner
15 Smith -- we all knew you were no, we just didn't get you
16 down. So you will be recorded as voting no. That was the
17 other vote I was looking for because I have been counting
18 how many is voting. But if you don't vote, that in effect
19 is a no vote on these votes.
20 The amendment -- first of all, read the proposal.
21 Did we read the proposal? Now the amendment is offered by
22 Commissioner Connor. Would you read the amendment,
24 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Connor, on Page 1,
25 Line 10, through Page 2, Line 3, strike all of said lines
1 and insert lengthy amendment.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Connor
3 to explain the amendment. This is a fairly, it is not
4 lengthy, but it is long enough that he is going to need to
5 explain it.
6 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Well it is certainly
7 straightforward, Mr. Chairman. Ladies and gentlemen, the
8 whole rationale that's been put forth to us behind CRC
9 Proposal No. 167 has been to close the so-called gun show
10 loophole. And we have heard all kinds of explanations
11 about how that gun show loophole is being abused and how
12 it threatens the citizens of Florida. And as a
13 consequence of that loophole, we need 167 to close the
15 The fact of the matter is, ladies and gentlemen, if
16 you will take a look at CRC 167, it doesn't even reference
17 gun shows. It doesn't even mention the word. There is no
18 provision whatsoever in CRC 167 that will result in any
19 penalty or any violation of the law as a result of selling
20 a gun at a gun show, plain and simple.
21 Now Florida has a state preemption statute. And
22 historically what we have done in order to assure
23 uniformity throughout the state is to follow that state
24 statute. Now if you really want to close the loophole at
25 gun shows, then I have given you the opportunity to do so
1 by positing this amendment.
2 And basically what it provides very simply is that
3 any person engaged in the business of selling or dealing
4 in firearms at gun shows, exhibitions or flea markets or
5 on their premises must be a licensed firearm dealer. Now
6 what this means is this protection and this provision is
7 even broader than gun shows because we pick up flea
8 markets and their premises.
9 If you follow this through, you will see that
10 "engaged in the business" means a person who devotes time,
11 attention and labor to dealing in firearms as a regular
12 course of trade or business, with the principal objective
13 of livelihood and profit, through the repetitive sale --
14 excuse me, through the repetitive purchase and resale of
16 Now what the term does not include is a person who
17 makes occasional sales, exchanges or purchases a firearm
18 for the enhancement of a personal collection or of a hobby
19 or makes an occasional sale of all or part of a personal
20 collection of firearms. Now Judge Barkdull and
21 Commissioner Langley both registered concern and expressed
22 concern about that.
23 Now this is an opportunity to put your money where
24 your mouth is if you really believe that the problem is
25 gun shows and you want to close the loophole on gun shows.
1 Can this be done by the Legislature? You bet it can. In
2 fact, Senator Gutman and Senator Thomas both have
3 identical bills that have been put forward by the
4 Legislature. I have advocated all along that this is a
5 problem amenable to a legislative solution. And the fact
6 that there are bills now pending, supported by the NRA,
7 affirmed by Unified Sportsmen of Florida, and promoted by
8 Marion Hammer, who is the president of those, have
9 advocated the passage.
10 So what I want to do is give you the opportunity, if
11 you really want to do it and if you really are concerned
12 about gun shows and closing the gun show loophole, to pass
13 this proposal. You certainly will usurp the prerogative
14 of the Legislature in doing so, but we don't seem to have
15 much problem in doing that all day long as far as that
16 goes. But this will address that problem. And 167 as
17 presently framed does not do one thing about gun shows and
18 you are kidding yourself if you think to the contrary.
19 Just read the language. Thank you.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Connor, I had one
21 question on the amendment, I won't leave the floor, I am
22 not speaking for or against this.
23 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Yes, sir.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does your amendment close the
25 loophole where individuals go to gun shows and swap or
1 sell or exchange firearms --
2 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Yes, sir.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- like the McVeighs and those
5 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Well it does not -- I refer you
6 to Page 2, Mr. Chairman, the language commencing at the
7 end of page, of Line 2 on Page 2. The term does not
8 include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges or
9 purchases a firearm for the enhancement of a personal
10 collection or for a hobby, or makes an occasional sale of
11 all or part of a personal collection.
12 And I would make this observation in this regard,
13 Mr. Chairman. One of the things, frankly, that I think
14 you need to understand is that presently if you violate
15 the law that's in existence with respect to the sale or
16 exchange of firearms without getting the background check,
17 that is a felony in Florida. Now what the Proposal 167
18 does is to bat that issue down. And it is a federal
19 crime, by the way, for a licensed dealer to do it at a gun
20 show, it is also a felony.
21 Now what we are talking about is batting this down to
22 the counties where they can make it a misdemeanor for what
23 is otherwise punishable as a felony under federal law.
24 That's a rather curious position to be in, as I perceive
25 it, but if you want to close that loophole that's the way
1 to do it.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The reason I ask that is when I
3 read that, that seemed it me to exclude from the gun show
4 regulations so to speak, anybody that wasn't a licensed
5 firearm dealer or where their principal objective is to
6 profit through repetitive sales. And isn't one of the
7 things we have heard in public hearing, which I know you
8 wanted to address, that people go to these gun shows and
9 swap with people who are not licensed firearm dealers and
10 all this or others and that that was the loophole that was
11 causing a lot of problems? And I know you wanted to
12 address that.
13 And it just seems to me, and the reason I asked you
14 that question, that you might need to add a little
15 language to that.
16 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Mr. Chairman, on Line 3
17 exchanges is included. It says, "a person does not
18 include a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges or
19 purchase of firearms for the enhancement of a personal
20 collection or for a hobby." And so I think that exchanges
21 which are for a personal collection, or for a hobby, would
22 be exempted out. And I think that's an appropriate
23 exemption here. But those who are engaged in repetitive
24 purchases or resales for profit, this takes care of them.
25 The Legislature is prepared to pass this bill out.
1 As I say, it has the support of the NRA. It did not have
2 the support of Commissioner Rundle, which is the only
3 reason it hasn't advanced down the path at this point.
4 But you can do it here or you can do it in the
5 Legislature. Frankly, I think it is better to do it in
6 the Legislature but let's not kid ourselves about what 167
7 does. It doesn't do a thing about gun shows, not a thing.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Lowndes
9 has a question.
10 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Commissioner Connor --
11 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Yes, sir.
12 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: -- what does "their premises"
13 refer to? What does the "their" refer to? What is the
14 antecedent of that pronoun?
15 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Gun shows, exhibitions, flea
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does that answer your question?
18 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Yes, thank you.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Smith.
20 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Question, Mr. Chairman.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You may.
22 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Mr. Connor, you are very, very
23 particular about words, as you have demonstrated
24 throughout this process. What does the word "occasional"
25 mean? Does that mean you can sell your guns three times a
1 year, five times a year, seven times a year?
2 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I think occasional means
3 whatever the dictionary definition of occasional is.
4 Frankly I think that's a term that is capable of being
5 defined. It means every now and then, irregular. It is
6 not repetitive, as is indicated here.
7 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Well, aren't you a little
8 concerned that in terms of the enforcement of this
9 provision a person who was legitimately attempting to be
10 in compliance with the law would not know whether or not
11 participation in three gun shows as opposed to five gun
12 shows could cause him to run afoul of the law and would
13 place in the hands of police officers or a sheriff, who
14 may not like you or may not like what is going on, the
15 unbridled discretion to make a determination of what is --
16 you know, he could say, Billy Bob, I saw you here at the
17 last gun show. This says occasional. Looks to me, Billy
18 Bob, you are here at every gun show. Put your hands
19 behind your back, you are going with me.
20 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I am certainly amenable to
21 language that would be occasional but not to exceed X
22 number a year. I am certainly not averse to that. But
23 the point here is to protect those who really are not
24 engaged in the business from running afoul of the law in
25 that regard.
1 And where we define repetitive purchase and resale of
2 firearm, where we talk about repetitive resale of
3 firearms, I think that shows that what we are trying to
4 except out from the definition of dealer is a person who
5 comes and makes an occasional transfer, sale or exchange.
6 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Second question, Mr. Chairman,
7 and that's it for me. If in fact I was a part of some
8 black militant group who had as its mission to overthrow
9 or destabilize the government and I had, I was a convicted
10 felon, would I be able to go into a gun show and with my
11 record buy a gun from someone who is making an occasional
12 sale because that person would not run a background check
13 on me?
14 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I think the answer to that is
16 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Thank you.
17 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: And guess what? You can do
18 that under 167 as framed now.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any -- the amendment we are on is
20 Commissioner Connor's amendment. Anybody want to speak on
21 the amendment? Commissioner Rundle.
22 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: I'd like to speak against the
23 amendment. As Commissioner Connor knows, we have had many
24 discussions about this, this language does not close the
25 loophole for precisely the reason that Commissioner Smith
1 just pointed out. Your problem isn't your licensed
2 dealers. It is those that are occasional private
3 collections that can go to as many gun shows and sell as
4 many firearms without any background checks and without a
5 requirement that there be a waiting period. And that's
6 where the abuse is coming in.
7 This is no more than a restatement pretty much of
8 what the law is today that still allows the problems that
9 you have seen on your tape and that you have heard about
10 occurs because of this kind of language. So again, you
11 know I really urge you not to fall into this trap, I think
12 that it is a trap. I think it is just a restatement of
13 the problem, it is not a solution to the problem.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further?
15 Anything further on the amendment? Does everybody
16 understand we are voting on Commissioner Connor's
17 amendment which I guess in effect is a strike-everything
18 amendment. Commissioner Connor can close.
19 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I'll close on it by withdrawing
20 it, with this understanding, and help you understand this.
21 This is uniquely a legislative issue. This matter can be
22 solved. These items can be defined.
23 Now we make, I believe, a grave error in including
24 167 on our ballot proposals. And it will be a major drag
25 factor. It will -- this was not a proposal that emanated
1 out of the public hearings, it was not one that the public
2 requested that it be filed. Many people have very strong
3 convictions about it.
4 To Commissioner Rundle's great credit, she has
5 focused attention on this issue, the Legislature is
6 prepared to deal with it, the NRA is prepared to support
7 an appropriate way to close this loophole, we should not
8 burden our Constitution with it. And with that I'll
9 withdraw the proposal, Mr. Chairman.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well without objection your
11 proposal or amendment will be withdrawn and we will revert
12 to the proposal in its original form. And we are dealing
13 of course with Proposal 167.
14 Now, Commissioner Rundle, would you like to open on
15 the proposal?
16 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: Yes, sir, I'd be delighted to.
17 But I believe an amendment has been filed.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Is there another amendment that's
19 been filed?
20 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: Commissioner Smith?
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I haven't been handed one.
22 (Off-the-record comment.)
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: There are no amendments on the
25 COMMISSIONER RUNDLE: We had a miscommunication
1 breakdown there.
2 I would like to -- maybe while I'm talking
3 Commissioner Smith or somebody, we want to add the
4 language. You-all may remember, the last time we
5 discussed this, Commissioner Smith said he would come back
6 and he would add the language criminal record, criminal
7 history so there was no confusion about medical records
8 and mental health records.
9 At that time, however, we didn't know what the exact
10 correct language was. We have since discovered what that
11 is and I believe it is criminal history records that we
12 would like to amend to this proposal.
13 While Commissioner Smith works on that, because we
14 understood that last time that we were going to add that
15 to this proposal, let me just say a few things. I know I
16 don't need to go into the merits of this proposal, I don't
17 think anybody knows about gun laws and the loopholes more
18 than all of you. You have really become great students on
19 the law and I can see just by the debate we had on that
20 amendment that you fully understand the problem.
21 We can't at a local level -- and one reason I made it
22 a local option for local communities was so that we
23 weren't imposing on rural areas or other communities
24 throughout this state a law that may not be a problem for
25 them. This is for those areas where it is a problem,
1 where arms trafficking and illegal firearms is a problem,
2 where gun shows occur every other weekend in their
4 In Dade County and six other urban areas it is a
5 problem for them. And really it is only up to that local
6 community, that local government, they are going to have
7 to vote for it, decide what language is correct for them.
8 And it really only does the waiting period three to five
9 days, background check on all firearms, carry concealed
10 permit persons are still exempt, and it is to places where
11 the public has access. And we have heard a lot about that
12 discussion. It is school gymnasiums, school grounds,
13 civic centers, it could be hotels where people have public
15 And so we really define this in a very narrow way.
16 Don't let the, you know, the vocal minority confuse us on
17 this issue. It is not going to be a drag factor. Three
18 out of four Floridians support this, we tested the
19 language. They supported it previously in 1990 by
20 84 percent and I believe they will do it again.
21 So you know what it doesn't do. It doesn't interfere
22 with anyone's right to carry firearms, it doesn't have
23 anything to do with moving from one county to the next and
24 having inconsistent laws, it has nothing to do with
25 purchase. I'm sorry, it has nothing to do with
1 possession, it only has to do with purchase.
2 And so with that I ask you please, I think 20 of you
3 did this last time, this is a public safety issue for a
4 lot of communities. Remember the problems that we have in
5 our urban areas. We have these gun bazaars that we have
6 got to do something about. It is not going to solve all
7 the problems, but it is one source that you can do
8 something about.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. There is an amendment
10 on the table by Commissioner Smith. Read the amendment,
12 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Smith, on Page 1,
13 Line 25, delete "background" and insert "criminal history
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We have discussed the
16 amendment. Do you want to briefly discuss it again just
17 to say that this takes care of that situation?
18 (Off-the-record comment by Commissioner Rundle.)
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. All in favor of the
20 amendment say aye; opposed?
21 (Verbal vote taken.)
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment carries. We are
23 now on the proposal as amended. Is there further
24 discussion or debate on the proposal as amended?
25 Commissioner Langley, you are an opponent?
1 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Yes, sir.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are recognized.
3 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: As a free-living, red-blooded
4 American, I oppose this. You know, we used to have a guy
5 in the House named Ray Maddox from Polk County. He would
6 always get up and give these big patriotic speeches. And
7 so to save time, we would say, just say No. 4, Ray, or say
8 No. 3, Ray. And it would save about ten minutes of his
9 oratory. And I feel like saying I just wanted to give
10 No. 4 again to tell you that this is not going to do one
11 whit of good.
12 Unfortunately, Commissioner Rundle, the crooks aren't
13 going to abide by this law, just like they don't abide by
14 the present law. You are making laws that are going to
15 affect honest, free, fair, ordinary citizens and not do a
16 darn thing for the criminal because he is not going to pay
17 any attention to this. He is breaking the law right now
18 and he will continue to break the law.
19 And, again, it depends on which side of the issue you
20 are on on these things when you say, why not let the
21 Legislature do this. This is truly a legislative matter
22 and the Legislature could let the counties do this on a
23 countywide level. Why not let the Legislature do that who
24 will have a much better grasp of the situation? And if
25 this is necessary, let them decide that after the proper
1 debate and the proper public hearings and everything that
2 goes into the making of law.
3 But again, sure, you are going to tie the hands more
4 of honest people who have some reason to own guns, to buy
5 guns and to sell guns. And the criminals will go on
6 buying theirs on the street corner and doing whatever they
7 want. So please don't pass this.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Freidin.
9 Commissioner Morsani, you are next.
10 COMMISSIONER FREIDIN: As a wanna-be free-living,
11 red-blooded American, I was walking -- you will recall
12 that I told you the story about the gun show that is close
13 to my house. Well since our -- since we also discussed
14 this, there was another gun show at Dinner Key Auditorium
15 and I think it was the last weekend in February, first
16 weekend in March, something like that.
17 And I gave serious, I had serious pause when I went
18 on my Saturday morning walk, but I decided out of
19 curiosity I would go anyway. Because you will recall that
20 the last time I had been on my Saturday morning walk
21 during a gun show I had seen these young men dressed in
22 combat fatigues playing war games with the guns they had
23 just purchased or were carrying into the convention
25 Well I decided out of curiosity to go again. And
1 this time I wore my flak jacket, but this time, and this
2 is not a joke, this is not lighthearted, this time I saw
3 in the public parking lot, right in front of the gun show,
4 a van that had pulled up with a sign that said, Guns For
5 Sale. And they were actually selling guns out of this
7 And they were, this is not something that I want in
8 my neighborhood. And I don't think this is something any
9 of you want in your neighborhoods. This is dangerous.
10 This is uncontrolled. This is not criminals selling to
11 each other on the street corner, this is the organized
12 selling of guns, for profit, in a way that is totally
13 unregulated and uncontrolled in our state and it must be
14 stopped and this proposal will stop it.
15 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Connor.
16 Commissioner Morsani, I'm sorry.
17 COMMISSIONER MORSANI: Very briefly. This is very
18 simple. We vote for the proposal, but if the Legislature,
19 they have 60 days to change the law, and if they pass it
20 by May the 4th, we will take the proposal out. And so we
21 challenge the Legislature today to pass legislation to
22 close this loophole and then we will not put this on the
23 ballot or we wouldn't suggest this to our citizenry and we
24 will take it off by May the 4th.
25 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Connor.
1 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Mr. Chairman, I had made that
2 suggestion earlier in a private meeting with Commissioner
3 Rundle and with Marion Hammer and with other interested
4 parties. And so far at least there hasn't been much in
5 the way of support for really closing the gun show
6 loophole, so-called loophole, but rather the appearance to
7 me, at least seems to me that the real goal is to pass a
8 constitutional amendment, regardless of what the
9 Legislature does.
10 I would say to Commissioner Freidin, it sounds like
11 what you need to do when a van pulls up and is selling
12 guns at the gun show with a big sign, Guns For Sale, you
13 need to call your state attorney. And you need to tell
14 your state attorney that federal law requires that anyone
15 engaged in the business of selling firearms is to be
16 licensed by the federal government.
17 And the only exemption, Commissioner Smith, this is
18 in the federal law, would seem somehow to have made it
19 even with the language of occasional, it says the only
20 exemption is, and I quote, A person who makes occasional
21 sales, exchanges or purchases of firearms for the
22 enhancement of a personal collection, for the enhancement
23 of a personal collection or for a hobby or makes an
24 occasional sale of all or part of a personal collection of
1 Now what Commissioner Freidin has identified as a
2 problem is an enforcement problem. You put up a sign,
3 Guns For Sale, you need to call your state attorney and
4 then they won't have to be amending the Constitution to
5 take care of the problem.
6 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Commissioner Scott.
7 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I have an inquiry of the Chair,
8 Mr. Chairman. Commissioner Morsani stated about if
9 something happened in Legislature we can take it off. And
10 I just want to clarify that basically 22 votes is going to
11 be required again after disposed of by Style and Drafting
12 regarding the grouping. So that would be available if
13 this proposal did get 22, it could still be taken off
14 because it is going to require another 22 votes. I
15 discussed this with the chairman of the Style and Drafting
16 and he agrees with that interpretation. I mentioned it to
17 you earlier, but I just wanted to make sure that we are
18 clear on that.
19 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well we better let the real
20 chairman answer that question.
21 (Chairman Douglass resumes the Chair.)
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. The rules -- what you
23 have to do is vote against the grouping. And if you amend
24 the grouping it takes 22 votes. That's the way the rules
25 were adopted, that's the way they are. And so you will --
1 that's correct, if you have 22 votes you could single one
2 off and then vote on it again.
3 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, any proposal,
4 grouping, whatever, is going to require 22 votes. That
5 was our understanding because this came from Style and
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's true. Any grouping will
8 require 22 votes. The proposals in the grouping will all
9 require the same vote, 22 votes. But we are not going to
10 vote on them individually again under the rules, unless
11 they are a single item. That's the way the rules were. I
12 asked that question earlier today and that's it. But this
13 is not the time to take that up, I don't think.
14 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Well it is because,
15 Mr. Chairman, with due respect, because Commissioner --
16 you have agreed, you solved the problem because
17 Commissioner Morsani said if the Legislature did something
18 before May whatever we could act on it.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think we can do that, but this
20 particular one I think so far looks like it is going to be
21 all out there by itself anyway.
22 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: But whether it is out there by
23 itself or not it is still a grouping. You see what I am
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It is subject to getting the 22
1 votes in a group or by itself if it is a single amendment,
2 that's true. The other thing is I presume that by
3 unanimous consent we could withdraw it anyway if the
4 Legislature did what you said, provided the sponsors
5 agreed with that, Commissioner Langley.
6 Let's proceed, if we could, on the proposal and we
7 will worry about 22 votes after we get them. All right.
8 Is there any further debate, discussion on this proposal
9 No. 167 as amended? If not, we will proceed to vote.
10 Open the machine and let's vote.
11 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Has everyone voted?
13 Commissioner Smith, did you get recorded this time? It is
14 Commissioner Hawkes that's left us. Lock the machine and
15 announce the vote.
16 READING CLERK: Twenty-four yeas, 11 nays,
17 Mr. Chairman.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: By your vote you have moved this
19 to Style and Drafting for the grouping. Now we will move
20 to the next proposal, which is under Tax and Budget, and
21 it is Proposal Nos. 49, 103 and 185 by the Committee on
22 Finance and Taxation and Commissioners Anthony, Henderson
23 and Mills. And there are no amendments on the table.
24 Would you read it, please.
25 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
1 Nos. 49, 103 and 185, a proposal to revise Article VII,
2 Section 3, Florida Constitution.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. There is an amendment
4 on the table, but first of all, do we have five hands?
5 This one was voted out 28 to 2. Do we have five hands?
6 If we don't get five hands, it will just go forward. You
7 do not have five hands.
8 This is Proposal Nos. 49, 103 and 185 by the
9 Committee on Finance and Tax, revising the requirements
10 for exempting municipally-owned property, et cetera. And
11 it passed 28 to 2. And I asked if there were five hands.
12 There are six hands. Okay. Now we can proceed with this
13 and I'll ask that, first of all, we read the proposal. We
14 haven't read the proposal, have we? We have, all right.
15 We have read the proposal and now there is an amendment on
16 the table by Commissioner Brochin. And would you read the
17 amendment, please?
18 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Brochin, on Page 3,
19 Line 18, insert lengthy amendment.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now Commissioner
21 Brochin, you need to explain that? You have the floor.
22 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: One of the interesting if not
23 difficult parts of this process is that ideas that are put
24 forward in other proposals, if you don't vote for the
25 entire proposal, then you lose the entire idea without
1 extracting some of the better ideas. What I am asking now
2 is this is an excerpt from Proposal No. 6 that deals with
3 single subject exclusions.
4 So what I have done is extracted subsection A out of
5 Proposal No. 6. And what that does is require, going
6 forward, that any exclusion for sales tax only contain the
7 one exemption and of course contain the declaration that
8 it meets a public purpose.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Several people are up. Who wants
10 it first? What do you rise for?
11 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Point of order. The
12 amendment is not germane.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The original proposal that we are
14 dealing with deals with revising the requirements for
15 exempting municipally-owned property, allowing the
16 Legislature to exempt from taxation property owned by a
17 municipality or a special district and used for airport,
18 seaport or public purposes. It is my understanding that
19 does not deal with sales tax; is that right? And the
20 amendment you have is offered to some exclusion to the
21 state sales tax; is that correct?
22 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: It deals with the creation of
23 exemptions for sales tax. The proposal that we are
24 considering deals with the Legislature's ability to exempt
25 certain entities from tax.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well I rule that's out of order
2 on this proposal because this proposal -- that's not
3 germane to this proposal. And you can appeal the ruling
4 of the Chair, but I think it is pretty clear that that's
5 not germane.
6 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: How do you appeal? I'd like
7 to appeal because I'd like to at least speak about it.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, you know, if it is not
9 germane, then you are not entitled to take everybody's
10 time to speak on it.
11 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: Well I happen to think it is
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well I just ruled that it wasn't
14 based on the interpretation of the rules and the proposal
15 itself. And you have appealed the ruling of the Chair,
16 which I don't believe it is debatable, except the Chair
17 can explain why they did it. And I did. It's not
18 debatable; is that correct, Commissioner Scott?
19 That's correct. The only person that can debate the
20 ruling of the Chair is the Chair, and I don't intend to
21 debate it. I have already announced why I did that. You
22 have appealed the ruling and we will submit it to the body
23 for a vote on whether or not you overturn the ruling of
24 the Chair.
25 (Off-the-record comment.)
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Beg your pardon? They have been
2 passed out.
3 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Could we have a comment
4 on this?
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No debate. Am I right?
6 Commissioner Thompson, help us.
7 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. Let's just ease up
8 here a minute, folks.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Good for you.
10 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: The whole time I served in
11 the Florida Legislature, which was 12 years, we never did
12 appeal the ruling of the Chair, for one thing. Another
13 one is, Mr. Chairman, you always have the right to require
14 people to state the rule when they call a point of order.
15 Another one is that people can speak to a point of order
16 and those are the kinds of things that give us all time to
17 kind of figure out where we are. And also under 1.5 it
18 says, Upon appeal no member except the member making the
19 appeal shall speak more than once. So I assume --
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Let's let everybody give a
22 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: I wouldn't take it as
23 appealing, you know, the ruling of the Chair yet. Why
24 don't let's just don't rule on it quite yet and let's talk
25 about germanity a minute and see if there is really a
1 provision in the rules about germanity. He has made his
2 decision now.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, no, just a minute. Let me
4 say this, I don't think that I made it entirely clear.
5 Part of this was in Proposal 6, which was defeated. And
6 it is my understanding that once it is defeated it is not
7 available to be tacked on as an amendment anywhere either.
8 So in addition to the germanity question, I think the
9 Chair would rule that it is out of order in response to a
10 point of order made by several members.
11 Now the Secretary informs me that the person
12 questioning or appealing the Chair has the right to speak
13 and I will give him that right. And that -- Commissioner
14 Brochin has the right to speak and so does Commissioner
16 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I do want the opportunity to
17 state with more particularity my objection on the point of
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Do you want to do that -- do you
20 want him to do that before you respond, Commissioner
21 Brochin? All right. Commissioner Henderson.
22 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: I raised a point of order
23 that the amendment offered by Commissioner Brochin is not
24 germane, pursuant to Rule 7.4. It is not germane inasmuch
25 as the main body of the proposal deals with Article VII,
1 Section 3A, relating to exemptions to ad valorem taxes for
2 local government. The amendment which is proposed deals
3 with Article VII, Section 1, which is sales tax exemptions
4 for the Legislature.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now we will have
6 Commissioner Brochin. Commissioner Brochin is recognized.
7 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: Not being an expert on the
8 subject, I can only simply read the rule and then try to
9 apply some standard to it. The rule says, No proposition
10 on a subject different from that under consideration shall
11 be admitted under color of amendment.
12 The amendment that we are, or proposal that is at
13 issue here deals with the Legislature allowing -- the
14 Constitution allowing the Legislature to create exemptions
15 for municipal property for special taxing districts. The
16 proposal that I extracted out of Proposal 6 deals with the
17 way exemptions are passed. So when they pass exemptions
18 on the sales tax, this is a method by which it should be
20 I tell you that the motives are more pure perhaps
21 than you suspect in that I actually thought that was a
22 very good idea in Proposal 6, and when Proposal 6 was
23 defeated, for which I anticipated was largely an
24 opposition because of the 5 percent rollback, and the
25 problems it would be creating, it seemed to me that this
1 body may want to consider another part of Proposal 6,
2 which we did not seem to object to, and we actually think
3 may be a good idea for our Constitution that when we go
4 forward with our exemptions in this state, we will at
5 least require the Legislature to do it in a single subject
6 so it is held out for what it is, an exemption to our
7 sales tax and nothing else.
8 The other reason I am doing this is because as I look
9 at the package we are about to present on tax and finance,
10 we are going to present one proposal and we are going to
11 present a proposal that says more government can get more
12 exemptions to our tax.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now this should be to the ruling
14 of the Chair.
15 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: Okay.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And I might agree with you on all
17 that good stuff.
18 COMMISSIONER BROCHIN: But anyway, it seems to me in
19 terms of germanity -- and don't faint, I admit
20 ignorance -- it seems to me when you use the word
21 "germane" and we are talking about exemptions, it
22 certainly falls under the one similar subject. And
23 therefore it strikes me as germane.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. On this it takes a
25 majority vote to overrule the Chair. And I have ruled
1 that this is out of order and made that clear and honored
2 the point of order made by Commissioner Henderson. We
3 will now open the machine and take a vote on whether or
4 not we overrule the ruling of the Chair that it is out of
6 (Off-the-record comment.)
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Beg your pardon? All right. We
8 will do it by voice vote. All those in favor of
9 overruling the Chair say aye; opposed?
10 (Verbal vote taken.)
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It fails. So it is out of order.
12 Now we will revert to the proposal. The proposal is, and
13 it has been read, 49, 103 and 185, and the sponsors were
14 Henderson and Mills, Commissioners Henderson and Mills.
15 Who wants to make the proposal? Commissioner Anthony was
16 also chairman of that committee or on that committee that
17 considered it, one of them. Oh, did we get five? We did,
18 we got five. I did that before I let the amendments come
20 (Off-the-record comment.)
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: What we are on now, let's get
22 back on track as Commissioner Thompson said, is the
23 proposal. And we need to orderly debate it if we are
24 going to. Commissioner Hawkes, do you rise to speak one
25 way or the other on the proposal? Which way?
1 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: Opposed.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. First of all, the
3 proposal people who proposed it have the right to open.
4 Commissioner Henderson.
5 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And I'll recognize you next,
7 Commissioner Hawkes.
8 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
9 will be brief because we have done this so many times. I
10 don't know if there is anything new that I could add to
11 the debate and it is late. The proposal that is before
12 you came out of ten hours of discussion before Finance and
13 Tax Committee Chair Commissioner Scott.
14 The proposal which is before you creates a level
15 playing field amongst the 67 counties with regard to the
16 issue of exemptions from taxation for municipalities. It
17 says there will be one standard in the state of Florida
18 for this issue and not 67 different standards as set by
19 the particular aggressiveness of the local property
21 This issue is given a lot of work, it is supported by
22 local governments throughout the state, it is done
23 primarily to fix a problem that we have in taxing ports
24 and seaports and airports differently in the state. It is
25 not about creating tax exemptions. It is about a simple
1 philosophy that government should not tax government and
2 it is about making sure that we handle our ports and
3 seaports in the same and like manner.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now, is there anybody
5 who wants to speak in opposition? Commissioner Hawkes.
6 COMMISSIONER HAWKES: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll
7 be very brief. And I'm not sure that this is the time to
8 speak in favor or opposed to this proposal, if you think
9 it is a good idea or a bad idea, but what I would submit
10 is consistent with what Commissioner Barkdull said this
11 morning, is that we ought to try to limit how many ideas
12 we put before the voters because there is a limited amount
13 of time that they have. And if we overwhelm them, they
14 are going to vote no on everything.
15 And I would submit that nobody has come forward and
16 said, There is a situation out there that is in crisis
17 where these people are being asked to pay property taxes
18 and they shouldn't be asked to pay them. We never heard
19 that testimony.
20 This is a situation where a government leases out to
21 a private, profit-making enterprise, a business entity and
22 that business entity then competes with a private owner
23 and has an unfair advantage. But it is not a crisis. And
24 we have seen two or three editorials written against this
25 proposal. We have 67 property appraisers who would be
1 opposed to this proposal, and I would just submit to you
2 that this picks up excess baggage that we don't need to
3 solve a problem that doesn't exist.
4 And based upon that, ladies and gentlemen, fellow
5 commissioners, I would ask that you not give this proposal
6 22 votes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now, is there other
8 debate? Commissioner Evans-Jones.
9 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: Against the proposal,
10 Mr. Chairman. I don't think that any of us really
11 recognized how much money the local governments are going
12 to lose by passing this. And I just want to briefly say
13 this is from Rich Crotty, who is the Orange County
14 property appraiser. And in Orange County alone it would
15 remove 300 properties valued at $144,999,606 from the tax
16 roll. Orange County Government would lose 766,000; Orange
17 County Schools, 1,316,161; and the City of Orlando 113,956
18 in tax revenues. Now that's just in Orange County. In
19 Hillsborough County they would lose an estimated
20 $10 million.
21 And I do think that this is significant money. It
22 takes a lot of money to run the school system. And some
23 of the school people are just now aware of this problem.
24 So I would just like to leave this up to you for your
25 consideration and I would urge you to vote no on this
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Riley.
3 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Question for Commissioner
4 Evans-Jones, if I may. And my question has to do with
5 this general law portion of this proposal. How can --
6 since the general law currently has not been made and the
7 decisions as to which specific exemptions there would be
8 given, how do these people know that they are going to
9 lose millions and millions of dollars?
10 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: Well, apparently, you
11 know, I trust the property appraisers to know what they
12 have been taxing and what they haven't been taxing. And,
13 you know, this is the information that I have received.
14 COMMISSIONER RILEY: So perhaps if they are saying
15 there are those properties that may be in jeopardy, but if
16 in fact the Legislature is the one who is going to decide
17 whether or not those properties are in fact exempt. So
18 they may be wrong.
19 COMMISSIONER EVANS-JONES: Perhaps.
20 COMMISSIONER RILEY: In which case I would like to,
21 if I may very quickly, speak in favor of this. And I
22 speak as a commercial real estate developer, and a person
23 who is the competition out there in private business. And
24 the only reason that I support this is because it says "by
25 general law." We are talking about, Let's let the
1 Legislature. I say, Wonderful, let's let them decide.
2 Let's let them decide.
3 I would sincerely hope that they would keep the
4 businessperson in mind when they do that and I would ask
5 that we support this proposal.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Lowndes.
7 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Yes, Mr. Chairman. I'm in
8 favor of this proposal. It's one matter that needs to be
9 in the Constitution if anything is to be done about it.
10 We find ourselves in the situation where the Legislature
11 has tried to exempt some of these activities and the
12 courts have said, under the current Constitution, you
13 don't have the power to exempt them. This constitutional
14 change now gives the Legislature the power to deal with a
15 very complex matter, and that is, what should be taxed and
16 what shouldn't be taxed.
17 So I think it is a good proposal, it really provides
18 flexibility in our system and needs to be in the
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Mathis,
21 Commissioner Nabors is next. Go ahead.
22 COMMISSIONER MATHIS: The essential question is: Is
23 the proposed change essential to Florida's future? Yes.
24 It's essential to help Florida be competitive on a global
25 scale, it's essential for long-range planning and
1 certainty in that long-range planning, it's essential for
2 a strong foundation for economic development. It is
3 essential that we do this.
4 Is there another way to do it? No. So I urge your
5 support of this proposal.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Nabors.
7 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Just very briefly. Just to
8 make sure there's no confusion, of all the things that we
9 struggled with in Finance and Tax, this was the one that
10 was the most difficult. The difficulty we had is that you
11 could not cure this problem in the Constitution, and what
12 we came to the conclusion is, this is an example of
13 something that the Legislature can cure, but it has to be
14 constitutionally empowered to do it, which is precisely
15 the purpose of this constitutional amendment.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Any discussion or debate, pro or
17 con? Ready to vote? Open the machine and let's vote.
18 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Has everybody voted?
20 Lock the machine and announce the vote.
21 READING CLERK: Twenty yeas, 4 nays, Mr. Chairman.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Send this to Style and Drafting
23 for inclusion on the ballot package.
24 Now we move to local government and the first
25 proposal is Committee Substitute for Proposals 31 and 55
1 by the Committee on Judicial and Commissioners Sundberg
2 and Zack. Would you first read the proposal?
3 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
4 Nos. 31 and 55, a proposal to revise Article V, Section
5 14, Florida Constitution.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now there is an
7 amendment on the table. Oh, we need five hands on this.
8 We have five hands. There is an amendment on the table.
9 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Sundberg, on Page 2,
10 Line 13, insert lengthy amendment.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: First of all, there's an
12 amendment by Style and Drafting, Commissioner Mills or
13 Lowndes. That is the first amendment, by Style and
14 Drafting, to 31 and 55. And Commissioner Sundberg has
15 offered an amendment to that amendment, that's why I am
16 bringing that up. The amendment by Style and Drafting
17 does what? We have read it. You have the floor,
18 Commissioner Lowndes.
19 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: The amendment by Style and
20 Drafting simply corrects a grammatical problem of split
21 infinitives, which exists in three portions of the
22 proposal. It is simply a grammatical change.
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now, with that
24 explanation, there is an amendment to the amendment by
25 Commissioner Sundberg. Would you please read? All right.
1 Read the amendment, again, first.
2 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
3 Drafting, on Page 1, strike everything after the proposing
4 clause and insert lengthy amendment.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner
6 Sundberg's amendment. Have you read it? Now, read it.
7 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Sundberg, on Page 2,
8 Line 15, insert lengthy amendment.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Sundberg, on your
10 amendment to the amendment.
11 COMMISSIONER SUNDBERG: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Has
12 the copy been passed out?
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yes, it has.
14 COMMISSIONER SUNDBERG: This was an amendment --
15 frankly, at the time we were debating early on amongst the
16 interested parties this Article V cost issue, there was a
17 schedule that provided for implementation that would give
18 the Legislature essentially five years from adoption
19 within which to phase in, because of the significant
20 fiscal impact.
21 When we got to drafting other alternatives,
22 everything in the proposed schedule went out. This simply
23 tries to or attempts to reinsert a schedule language that
24 says that commencing in the fiscal year 2000-2001, that
25 the Legislature shall commence its funding of these
1 Article V costs, and that by July 1, 2004, they must have
2 fully effectuated the state's obligation to fund these
3 Article V costs for which the state is responsible.
4 And I urge this amendment on you. Otherwise, the
5 effect will be, if it passes in the state it is unamended,
6 in my opinion, it would become effective in 1999, and the
7 Legislature will have to dig very deep to come up with
8 that money in 1999. And this simply phases in.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Let's move on here to
10 the amendment to the amendment. Any discussion on it?
11 All of those in favor of it, say aye.
12 (Verbal vote taken.)
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now we are on the amendment as
14 amended, which is the Style and Drafting grammatical one.
15 All in favor of the Style and Drafting amendment, say aye.
16 (Verbal vote taken.)
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We are now on the proposal as
18 amended, which is the Article V cost proposal. Does
19 anybody wish to debate that? All right. If not, we're
20 prepared to vote.
21 COMMISSIONER SUNDBERG: Mr. Chairman, may I make a
22 statement, please, for the record in connection -- I am
23 authorized to represent, being told this by the executive
24 director of the Florida Association of Counties, that if
25 this passes in the form in which it is now proposed, that
1 in fact they will discontinue their efforts to have an
2 initiative petition put on the ballot.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Unlock the machine and let's vote
4 on this proposal on Article V cost.
5 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
8 READING CLERK: Thirty yeas, 2 nays.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I had a request for a quorum
10 call. I don't think that we need one on that, we just had
11 one with 32 here. But we have got some very important
12 things to do, so we better get them here.
13 The next proposal is by Commissioner Nabors and it's
14 96. Oh, excuse me, I recognize Commissioner Barnett. I
15 didn't see you, excuse me.
16 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
17 would like to make a motion to reconsider, please,
18 Proposal No. 24, this was a Stop Turning Out Prisoners
19 proposal, I was on the prevailing side.
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Barnett
21 has made a motion to reconsider the vote by which we dealt
22 with Proposal 24, she was on the prevailing side. What
23 was it, 21? Yeah, the vote was 20 to 11. You would have
24 been on the side that voted no, which prevailed. That's
25 correct. All right. So we are on a motion to reconsider.
1 And the debate is limited to the motion to reconsider.
2 Commissioner Smith.
3 COMMISSIONER SMITH: I rise for a question.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yes.
5 COMMISSIONER SMITH: Is it the ruling of the Chair
6 that a vote of 20 to 11 or whatever it was, to 12, that a
7 person who voted with the 12 is on the prevailing side?
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think that's true. If it got
9 22 votes, the person on the 22 vote side would be the
10 prevailing side. If it got less than 22 votes, the person
11 on the less than 22 votes would be on the prevailing side.
12 I think that's pretty clear. And Commissioner Barnett was
13 on the prevailing side. So we will now have her motion to
14 reconsider heard. All in favor of the motion to
15 reconsider, say aye; opposed?
16 (Verbal vote taken.)
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We'll take a vote. Unlock the
18 machine and let's vote on the motion of whether or not to
19 reconsider the vote. Unlock the machine. Well, turn --
20 the power went off. There we go. Unlock the machine. On
21 the motion to reconsider it takes a majority vote.
22 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has everybody voted? Lock the
24 machine and announce the vote.
25 READING CLERK: Twenty-two yeas, 11 nays,
1 Mr. Chairman.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We are now on reconsideration of
3 Proposal No. 24, which was the STOP provision. And we
4 will debate, as we usually do, after the motion to
5 reconsider has been made. Do you rise to debate? You are
6 recognized, Commissioner Wetherington.
7 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: There's only been one
8 time since I've been here during the last 11 months that I
9 had a moment, feeling, pass over me of absolute terror.
10 And that terror was the possibility that this
11 irresponsible proposal, with all due respect to the
12 proponents, that this proposal would go in the
13 Constitution of the state of Florida and would be
14 submitted to the people.
15 I've stated before, but I think everybody here ought
16 to know that studied anything about prisons, I was
17 supervisor, basically, as chief judge, of the Dade County
18 Jail for ten years. And I dealt with a constant
19 overcrowding problem in the Dade County Jail, the efforts
20 that we had to deal with to try to solve that problem.
21 And in that process, I became familiar with the whole
22 problem throughout the state, throughout the country, in
23 the state and federal system with respect to sentencing,
24 the whole problems of sentencing, the purposes of
25 sentencing, the financial problems of sentencing.
1 And it became absolutely clear to me that one of the
2 most dangerous things are putting absolute inflexible
3 sentencing requirements in that back the jails up and do
4 not allow any flexibility whatever either for the
5 administration of personal judgment or do not allow the
6 prison system to adequately manage these systems by having
7 the proper kind of incentives that they need, by
8 recognizing the fact that different people respond
9 differently, that there is the possibility of
10 rehabilitation in certain instances, that imposing the
11 financial burden on the public, which is unwilling to
12 accept this financial burden by constantly manufacturing
13 and dumping people in jails with no purpose, in many
14 instances, except for some kind of arbitrary, automatic
15 rule is absolutely unthinkable.
16 And I'm shocked -- I've got to tell you I'm shocked
17 to find out today that 20 people would vote for this
18 thing, 20 very intelligent people would vote for this
19 thing. I can tell you that this is the one thing that I
20 have heard that I am absolutely shocked has a possibility
21 of passage.
22 To send this to the people of the state of Florida
23 and to say that we are going to constitutionally mandate
24 that anybody that's given any sentence in the state of
25 Florida, with the sentencing laws the way they are and who
1 knows what they can be in the future, they will serve,
2 with no discretion, 85 percent, in my opinion, is
3 irresponsible. And I say that with great respect. I
4 think it's irresponsible and it's a dangerous proposal.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. If anybody has got
6 anything to say that they didn't say before. I believe
7 that you are recorded now as being against this,
8 Commissioner Wetherington. Commissioner Langley, are you
9 a proponent?
10 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Wait a minute, where are we,
11 on the final vote? I am an opponent, believe it or not.
12 Hard line, put them in jail, hang them first, try them
13 second, whatever.
14 But this to me, the reason that this shouldn't
15 work -- I know it is a very popular thing and some of you
16 elected officials, I guess there's no way that you can
17 vote against it, but being popular and being right are
18 often two different things. I believe in the
19 representative democracy that we have. I believe that the
20 people who are elected by their local people ought to make
21 these decisions.
22 When you hamstring the Legislature with this kind of
23 a chiseled-in-stone 85 percent rule, without the
24 corresponding responsibility of who is going to fund
25 this -- and believe me, I have seen times in the
1 Legislature when we have had to go back and reduce the FTE
2 to schools because -- you remember, Senator Jennings --
3 because the sales tax did not bring in what we expected it
4 to do.
5 I've seen times when we have had to release prisoners
6 because we had nowhere to put new prisoners because the
7 federal judge was saying, You are not going to have over
8 97 percent capacity. These things have to be dealt with
9 on a flexible basis by the elected representatives of the
10 people. Sure, this is popular. Put in there also, you
11 know, loss of a hand for petty theft. That would probably
12 pass also, but that doesn't make it right.
13 This is not the thing to do. I suspect some
14 motivation here is to put something popular on the ballot
15 so that this will give some legitimacy to some of these
16 other things we are putting on the ballot. That's not a
17 proper motive. You know, let's settle down here and do
18 what's right. The Legislature can take care of this, they
19 have the responsibility, they have to answer to their
20 people and this is not the way to do it.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. I would like to
22 request, it's getting late in the day, we are getting a
23 little personal here. I don't think that anybody is
24 irresponsible and you didn't mean to say that anybody was,
25 as I understand that, Judge --
1 (Off-the-record comment by Commissioner
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- correct. But the
4 interpretation that some others might have put on it about
5 the motives of people voting, we haven't really gone into
7 So somebody that is a proponent has the right to
8 speak here, too, if you would like.
9 (Off-the-record comment.)
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Question for whom?
11 Ms. Rundle take -- Commissioner Rundle will take the
13 COMMISSIONER ZACK: I would like to know how
14 different this proposal is than the federal proposal.
15 Because I remember when we were debating this initially
16 and when you discussed it, you said that this just brought
17 us in line with the federal proposal. And you also
18 indicated something to the effect that criminals were
19 deciding which court system they liked better. I would
20 like to know what the answer is to both of those
22 COMMISIONER RUNDLE: The answer to the first question
23 is that the federal government does have an 85 percent
24 time served provision. And that seems to be pretty much
25 the standard number. It gives some leeway for some of the
1 rehabilitation correctional supervision that's needed to
2 maintain safety within the actual facility. So that seems
3 to be a pretty widely-accepted number of 85 percent.
4 Also, the federal government, I believe, provides some
5 funding to local states that use that federal standard of
6 85 percent.
7 The second part of your question dealt with when our
8 time served was so low in state prisons, where people were
9 serving 10 percent, 15 percent -- regardless of what the
10 sentence is. The issue is not what is the sentence, the
11 issue is, is there any truth in what that sentence is.
12 And there was a time when you would have defendants
13 standing in a courtroom saying, I would rather go to state
14 prison because they knew they were going to serve less
15 time in the state prison system than they were in their
16 local jail.
17 And I think we've had some discussion about that.
18 And that was a very, I think, chilling time for all of us
19 as we all stood in the courtroom and watched people choose
20 state prison because they were going to serve less time
21 over a local jail.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We are about to run
23 out of time here. Commissioner Kogan.
24 COMMISSIONER KOGAN: I want to speak in opposition to
25 this. I understand what Commissioner Rundle says, and we
1 are very, very good friends and we're still going to be
2 very good friends regardless of the outcome of this vote.
3 The fact of the matter is the federal guidelines are
4 statutory in nature. They are not part of the United
5 States Constitution. Once you put this in the
6 Constitution of the state of Florida, the only thing that
7 can ever change it is another constitutional amendment.
8 Now whether or not they could ever muster that, I don't
9 know. If I had to guess, based upon popular feeling out
10 there, I would say they would never be able to get a
11 change, regardless of how difficult overcrowding or other
12 situations may arise in this particular state.
13 You are going to force the Legislature, if they have
14 to, to change guidelines, to lower sentences, you don't
15 need this mess in the Florida Constitution. It is a
16 legislative matter, something which they are capable of
17 handling. They know the prison population, they know how
18 many dollars and cents it costs to build prisons, to put
19 in more prison beds. They know how to adjust these things
20 in order to meet whatever the existing conditions are.
21 But once you have got this in, you are going to tie
22 their hands in a very, very difficult way. So I urge you,
23 regardless of the popularity of this particular proposal,
24 I urge you to vote against it.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any more debate?
1 Commissioner Mills.
2 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Very briefly. First, I am
3 stunned that Commissioner Langley opposes this, but I
4 believe that he does that in good spirit.
5 And the reason that this does not tie the hands of
6 the Legislature -- and I've been there, I chaired the HRS
7 Criminal Justice Committee, I went to every correctional
8 institute in this state, walked through every cell. And I
9 realized that the Legislature has all the leverage that
10 you need to respond to this system.
11 Why are people upset? Why are those people out
12 getting 500,000 signatures? They are upset because they
13 are victims and they cannot predict what somebody who has
14 been arrested of a crime the Legislature described, that
15 has been sentenced by a judge and sent to the jail gets
16 out. The Legislature is perfectly capable, as I think
17 Commissioner Kogan just described, of predicting when they
18 are going to be overcrowded.
19 If you don't have this, we'll go right up to the edge
20 and you will have 1987 all over again. And we'll start
21 turning out prisoners based on legislative action that
22 they can't resist. They can't resist, they are going to
23 do that. But if you have this one constitutional,
24 predictable constitutional standard for the victims and
25 for the people of this state, you will not have to do
1 that. The Legislature will be forced to look ahead and
2 they will be forced to do their job and they will do it.
3 So let's do this for the people of this state that
4 are concerned about crime and concerned about being,
5 having criminals turned out. This is the most solid
6 measure that we have and I'm shocked that people would
7 vote against it.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Are we ready to vote for it
9 again? On Proposal No. 24, it's on reconsideration. Open
10 the machine and let's vote.
11 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Has everybody voted?
13 Lock the machine and announce the vote.
14 READING CLERK: Eighteen yeas, 15 nays, Mr. Chairman.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: By your vote you have again
16 defeated this, No. 24. Your red blood is back.
17 Okay. We move on now to Proposal No. 96 by
18 Commissioner Nabors. Would you read it, please?
19 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 96, a proposal to revise
20 Article VIII, Section 7, Florida Constitution.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Nabors,
22 you are recognized. There is an amendment, excuse me, by
23 Style and Drafting. It's moved. Five hands, do we have
24 five hands? Do we have -- we need five hands. This is
25 the ex parte thing. We have five hands.
1 Now, Commissioner Lowndes offers the Style and
2 Drafting amendment, which you would please read.
3 READING CLERK: By Committee on Style and Drafting,
4 on Page 1, Line 15, strike "local government public
5 officials" and insert "a local government public
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Lowndes.
8 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: The purpose of the amendment
9 from Style and Drafting was simply to change a plural to a
10 singular on the basis that it made -- it read better and
11 it was more proper grammatically.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. All in favor of the
13 amendment, say aye; opposed?
14 (Verbal vote taken.)
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Amendment carries. Now, on the
16 proposal, Commissioner Nabors.
17 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Briefly, I know, it's late and
18 we have discussed this one several times. This is the
19 proposal, Commission, if you recall, there's court cases
20 that dealt with the fact on land use decisions at the
21 local level considered a quasi-judicial. And as a
22 consequence of that, there can be no ex parte
23 communications between citizens and their elected
25 I know of nothing that caused more problems and
1 disrespect at the local level and misunderstanding as the
2 inability of citizens to discuss land use decisions that
3 are pending with their local officials.
4 This doesn't change the rule that the decisions have
5 to be based upon substantial, competent evidence in front
6 of the commission. We have a provision in here that says,
7 Except as provided by ethics laws, which gives you all the
8 reasons to have regulations relating paid lobbyists and
9 those types of circumstances. And I would urge your
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Wetherington.
12 COMMISSIONER WETHERINGTON: Once again, I speak in
13 very strong opposition to this. If a judge was handling a
14 matter on a nonjury basis, and somebody walked in and
15 talked to that judge about that case and about the facts
16 of that case on an ex parte basis and the judge listened
17 to that, the judge could be removed from office.
18 A federal chief judge in Federal Bankruptcy Court in
19 Illinois a number of years ago called up, after he ruled
20 in favor of one of the sides, and talked to the lawyer and
21 told the lawyer what to put into the order in his favor.
22 That judge was removed as the chief judge of the
23 bankruptcy court in the state of Illinois for an improper
24 ex parte communication.
25 We are talking about quasi-judicial matters where the
1 judicial type of determinations are made in zoning areas
2 that affect not only the entire community but the property
3 rights and the interests of the neighbors and everybody in
4 those neighborhoods. Those matters should not be heard ex
5 parte. Everybody can come down in public and say whatever
6 they want to in the presence of everyone else so that all
7 of the people that have an interest have an opportunity to
8 rebut those statements.
9 We do not need closed door, ex parte communications
10 on judicial matters. We don't need it in the area of
11 zoning, we don't need it in the courts. The whole trend
12 in modern ethics in the Code of Judicial Ethics and the
13 Canon of Legal Ethics has been a clear, bright line,
14 prohibition of ex parte communications. It is the central
15 theme of our whole ethics system. It is a part of due
16 process, is a part of that which is fair to both sides.
17 To take it now and say it now becomes
18 constitutionally appropriate for public officials that are
19 passing upon quasi-judicial matters affecting millions and
20 millions of dollars and the rights of their community, ex
21 parte, in my humble opinion, is wrong. I would be opposed
22 to it as a rule, I would be opposed to it as a statute and
23 I'm triply opposed to putting something like this in the
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Lowndes.
1 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Yes, I would like to rise in
2 favor of this proposal. It's not very often that I would
3 disagree with Commissioner Wetherington.
4 But for maybe 40 years I've been involved in zoning
5 matters, and it was only when the Snyder case came along
6 that there was a great shock and chilling effect on county
7 commissioners and city commissioners as to what they could
8 do and what they couldn't do. Up until that time, they
9 felt like they were a member of their community, and they
10 had to make decisions for their community, they were
11 elected by their community and they felt that one of the
12 best ways to make those decisions was to be able to talk
13 to the people in the community, just like the Legislature
14 does. They viewed themselves as legislators more than
15 they viewed themselves as judges.
16 This has caused a great deal of problem throughout
17 the state because each county attorney and each city
18 attorney has come up with a different system or a
19 different rule and nobody quite knows where they are.
20 You know, you talk about the proposition of lobbyists
21 and moneyed interests having access to the county
22 commissioners, for example, but on the other hand, people
23 with money have access to attorneys and have ability to
24 prepare great cases and have ability to put on significant
25 presentations before the county commission. The average
1 person doesn't have that, the average person is
2 intimidated, the average person is not equipped or at
3 least don't feel they are equipped to go up against that
4 kind of proposition.
5 So you have cut off the one avenue that the average
6 person thought he had, that was to be able to talk to his
7 county commissioner, the fellow that he lived down the
8 block or lived across the way, that he elected or voted
9 for for this office. It's caused a lot of problems around
10 the state. It has changed what's worked well in Florida
11 for years and years and years and it needs a
12 constitutional amendment to put it back where it was.
13 Thank you.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Scott.
15 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Commissioners, with all due
16 respect to Commissioner Wetherington, this is exactly the
17 opposite of what he -- he used judicial about six or eight
18 times, talking about judicial. What we are talking about
19 here, and ethics and we are worried about -- what happens
20 is somebody that's going to be unethical and has gotten
21 somebody to authorize a big hazardous waste dump somewhere
22 in west Broward, all those people that don't like it now
23 cannot go to Commissioner Parrish or Scott Cowan or
24 whoever and tell them about it. And that's the problem.
25 So just like Commissioner Lowndes says, it's just
1 exactly the opposite. This allows the people to talk to
2 their commissioners. I mean, this case, this case has
3 made a ridiculous situation. People that are concerned
4 don't understand. They are getting nasty phone calls.
5 What do you mean they can't talk to me? I don't like
7 And actually they are getting the opposite
8 impression. They think they have somehow done something
9 wrong or sneaky because they have to tell them they can't
10 talk to them. I would urge you -- you know, we have
11 debated this before, it's only back here again because of
12 a Style and Drafting amendment, a minor event. I would
13 urge you to readopt the proposal.
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further debate?
15 Commissioner Rundle.
16 COMMISIONER RUNDLE: Originally, I voted in favor of
17 this because I was very sympathetic to the point that
18 Commissioner Lowndes and Commissioner Scott were making.
19 I'm frequently approached by people, citizens in my
20 community who have a beef and I think my job is to listen
21 to that.
22 But in looking at this with greater scrutiny, I'm
23 very concerned about the potential for abuse. And being
24 in the business that I'm in, I'm afraid I already see a
25 lot of abuses occur in local government. Some of it is
1 very intentional, some of it is accidental, but most of it
2 is doing business behind closed doors. And I'm really,
3 really concerned about what I already see in my community
4 about this opening the door to closed doors.
5 And so, I'm going to vote against it this time and
6 I'm going to urge all of us to understand the potential
7 abuse for corruption that this particular -- although
8 well-intended, Commissioner Nabors, I think that this does
9 make us very vulnerable to corruption.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Ford-Coates.
11 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: Commissioners, again, with
12 all due respect -- that seems to be the phrase for the
13 day --
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's the word for the day, all
15 due respect for the learned gentleman on the right.
16 COMMISSIONER FORD-COATES: -- level playing field, et
18 With all due respect to Commissioner Rundle, I think
19 this will do just the opposite. If there's any potential
20 for abuse, the potential will come from lobbyists, et
21 cetera, who could be required to disclose contact with
22 public officials, et cetera.
23 My concern is for the average person who has to take
24 a day off from work, go down to the county meeting, make a
25 presentation, give up a day's pay in order to tell their
1 commissioner whether they -- a man or a woman that they
2 ran into at the 7-11 or the gas station or the grocery
3 store -- their opinion on an issue. They cannot tell
4 their elected officials how they feel on these subjects.
5 If they run into them on the street, if they run into them
6 at the PTA, they can't tell them. That's wrong.
7 And those are the people that are suffering from
8 this. I submit to you that those people who may abuse
9 anything will be trying to do it no matter what, this
10 won't control that. But this will allow the average
11 person the access they deserve to their locally-elected
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner West.
14 COMMISSIONER WEST: I have a question of Commissioner
15 Nabors, if he will yield.
16 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Yes.
17 COMMISSIONER WEST: I wasn't here, I was in the
18 hospital when you guys voted on this, so my question to
19 you is, if you could just explain again the provisions for
20 what's coming up. Obviously the ones that are for it and
21 the ones that are opposed to it are concerned about the
22 abuses. Have there not been provisions for the abuse as
23 far as making sure that ethics are followed?
24 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Of course my view is -- my view
25 is abuses will occur with or without this amendment.
1 People will be corrupt and do corrupt conversations or
2 corrupt relationships with county commissioners. That's
3 going to occur in any event.
4 What we are talking about here is a barrier that was
5 court created a few years ago that puts a barrier between
6 the average citizens talking to their legislative official
7 about a land use decision. I was a county attorney for 15
8 years when this didn't apply because the courts hadn't --
9 county commissioners could talk to citizens, could go out
10 to neighborhoods and it worked very well. It didn't
11 foster corruption. If there's corruption in certain parts
12 of the state, that corruption will occur anyway.
13 We make it clear in this provision that any ethnics
14 laws are not restricted. If a county like Dade County
15 wants to have rules about lobbyists have to register and
16 indicate when they have talked to people, those can occur.
17 But the average citizen, the average Joe can go and talk
18 to a county commissioner or city councilman about what
19 they feel rather than having them be sworn in in a
20 judicial type proceeding, which is intimidating to them.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We are getting down here now to
22 time --
23 COMMISSIONER WEST: I just wanted to say that I agree
24 with Commissioner Lowndes and Commissioner Ford-Coates and
25 I think we ought to accept this proposal.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I think the proponents have
2 1« minutes. Are you a proponent?
3 (Off-the-record comment.)
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Opponent? Well, you have two
6 (Off-the-record comment.)
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I'm going to yield the floor. He
8 is going to get back up and close, you can question him
9 then. Commissioner Sundberg.
10 COMMISSIONER SUNDBERG: Directed to Commissioner
11 Ford-Coates. You say they ought to have the opportunity
12 when they are in public to talk about an issue. But
13 therein is the problem. It is the essential nature of the
14 issue when the governing body is acting in a
15 quasi-judicial capacity, that is different.
16 Commissioner Nabors talks about land use decisions.
17 It is only those land use decisions that are
18 quasi-judicial in nature and that affect the essential
19 rights of individuals as opposed to when they are acting
20 in their executive or legislative. And nobody is trying
21 to curb that at all.
22 But the real problem is, and it can be innocent, and
23 that is when you run into your friendly commissioner in
24 Publix and you say, Hey, did you know this about that
25 dispute that's going on between the city and Farmer Jones?
1 And he says, no, I didn't know that, but it's bad
2 information that he gets and he makes a decision based on
3 that information and nobody ever knows he got that
4 information. It could be completely innocent. But it
5 flaws the process, a quasi-judicial process.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We have one more
7 minute for an opponent. And we have got to cut this
8 debate, ladies and gentlemen. Commissioner Connor, do you
9 have to have a question on this?
10 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I don't have a question, I want
11 to make a statement, Mr. Chairman, about it.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You can do that.
13 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: I'm opposed, I'm in opposition
14 to reconsidering it.
15 The ordinary person on the street, notwithstanding
16 that notice is often published, rarely receives that
17 notice. The average person on the street gets paid by the
18 hour. When they come to hearing, they lose money by the
19 hour. Typically the developer, when they come to a
20 hearing, their experts and all the other folks are getting
21 paid by the hour.
22 Just what you said, Commissioner, is exactly what
23 happens. Somebody runs into somebody else at a casual
24 meeting after they have learned about it, expresses their
25 concern and doesn't feel like they ought be shut out of
1 the process because suddenly everything's being treated
2 like it's some judicial process, even though you are
3 calling it quasi-judicial. All they know is they have a
4 right and believe they ought to be able to instruct their
5 elected representative.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So you are in favor of the
7 proposal; is that correct?
8 COMMISSIONER CONNOR: Against reconsideration.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We don't have reconsideration, we
10 are just here to vote on it again.
11 (Off-the-record comment.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yes, if you feel constrained to
13 spend that minute, you may do so. You are recognized,
14 Commissioner Zack, as an opponent.
15 COMMISSIONER ZACK: You know, we should call this the
16 lobbyists' relief act. There's no question in my mind
17 that that's all this is. It is an opportunity to go and
18 speak to public officials out of the sunshine, when all of
19 this should be conducted within the public view.
20 Commissioner Nabors, I believe that anybody who wants
21 to make a statement to a quasi-judicial officer, such as
22 the commissioners are at the time, easily can write a
23 letter that can be published. They do not have to come in
24 and get sworn. What that letter does is make a public
25 record of what's being said and allows it to be challenged
1 by people who take an opposing view. It's done in the
2 open, it's done in a fair manner.
3 I know, as chairman of the ethics commission, I'm
4 sure Commissioner Connor has had the same thing happen,
5 people constantly want to come up and talk to you about
6 ethical issues. And it's very simple. We say, I want to
7 vote on this, please don't discuss it with me but write me
8 and I'll submit it to everyone on the commission. It's
9 very simple. It provides a safeguard to make sure we know
10 who is speaking to who about what, and what is really
11 going on, not what is perceived to be going on.
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All of the time is up and
13 Commissioner Nabors can close.
14 COMMISSIONER NABORS: Quickly. This has nothing to
15 do with lobbyists. The provision allows -- it allows
16 ethics laws. You have the requirement for registration of
17 lobbyists. Maybe there's a problem in Dade County, all
18 those who talk about it are from Dade County. I can tell
19 you, from my experience as representing under the rule
20 that it used to be, which this brings it back to, is that
21 citizens could talk to their elected officials about land
22 use decisions. Corruption was not bred in that
24 The only reason it's quasi-judicial is strictly
25 because of the recent court ruling. What happens is the
1 average person goes up and sees a county commissioner in
2 the 7-11 or anywhere, wants to talk about a zoning
3 decision, and the county commissioner has to say, No, I
4 can only talk to you if you go to a meeting and are sworn
5 in and give sworn testimony, which chills those people's
6 ability to talk.
7 In addition to that, the commissioner can't go down
8 to the neighborhood, talk to the people and work out
10 To try to clothe this in some idea of some evil,
11 lobbyist-type of an issue is a mischaracterization of
12 this. We have this problem because of a court ruling,
13 this puts it back to the way it was before that court
14 ruling. It allows all the citizens to talk to their
15 elected officials and not feel intimidated. That's simply
16 what this proposal does.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. The debate is closed.
18 And now we will open the machine and vote. Would you
19 unlock the machine, please?
20 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Everybody hasn't voted. There we
22 go. Lock the machine and announce the vote.
23 READING CLERK: Twenty-two yeas, 9 nays,
24 Mr. Chairman.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It passes.
1 We now move to Committee Substitute for Proposals
2 159, 163 and 182 by the Committee on Executive and
3 Commissioners Mathis, Evans-Jones and Riley, dealing with
4 the Constitution requirements for the membership of the
5 Florida Cabinet. Would you read the proposal, please?
6 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
7 Nos. 159, 163 and 182, a proposal to revise Article IV,
8 Sections 3(b), 4 and 8 and Article XII, Section 9(c),
9 Florida Constitution.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. There's one amendment
11 on the table from Style and Drafting, which is a very
12 short one.
13 (Off-the-record comment.)
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: I beg your pardon. Oh, five
15 hands, yes, indeed. If we don't get five hands, it passed
16 24 to 7. We have got five hands. All right. The first
17 amendment on the table is a strike everything afterwards,
18 which is by Commissioners Zack, Anthony, Evans-Jones and
19 Mathis. Would you read that, please?
20 READING CLERK: By Commissioners Zack, Anthony,
21 Evans-Jones and Mathis, on Page 1, Line 10, through Page
22 8, Line 15, strike all of said lines and insert lengthy
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Somebody needs to
25 explain the lengthy amendment because I have a feeling
1 it's not that hard to explain. Commissioner Zack, do you
2 want to do that?
3 COMMISSIONER ZACK: It's pretty easy to explain and
4 it's going to be short. What it does is take into
5 consideration the testimony we heard at a number of public
6 hearings from the agricultural community about the need
7 for an agricultural member of the Cabinet. And it does
8 not do anything to diminish, frankly, power of the
9 Governor. You will see that the Governor, under the
10 three-person Cabinet needed to have one additional, one
11 Cabinet member vote with him to move the process forward.
12 Here, in the event of a tie, the Governor will always
13 be on the prevailing side. Again, all he needs to have or
14 she needs to have is one Cabinet member to vote in favor
15 of his proposal.
16 It still streamlines the Cabinet, it still is Cabinet
17 reform. There are people who have concerns about Cabinet
18 reform and what it means to the process. We, I think
19 here, want Cabinet reform. But this may be taking the
20 Cabinet reform in stages and seeing how it works and still
21 providing for the concerns that we heard around the state.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. I think, if I
23 understand you correctly, what this does is basically add
24 the Commissioner of Agriculture to the Cabinet, but he's
25 not a member of the State Board of Administration, which
1 he's not now. But he is in the other constitutional
2 Cabinet --
3 COMMISSIONER ZACK: That is correct. In all other
4 regards, he is or she is.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Then there is a -- it also
6 provides what the other one does for the State Board of
7 Education; is that correct? Is that correct? It is the
8 same as the other amendment in all other respects?
9 COMMISSIONER ZACK: That is correct. There is
10 another amendment to this amendment on the table by
11 Commissioner Langley.
12 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Yes, sir, it is the
13 handwritten one, Your Honor [sic].
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Commissioner Langley has
15 an amendment on the table. Would you read it, please?
16 This is an amendment to this long amendment which puts the
17 Commissioner of Agriculture in the Cabinet, and then you
18 have an amendment to that. And if you would read that,
20 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Langley, on Page 8,
21 Lines 6-7, delete "all" and insert "in primary elections
22 in 2002, the office of chief financial officer shall be a
23 new office as a result of this provision."
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Langley,
25 you are recognized on your amendment to the amendment.
1 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
2 Listen up, Members, because as presently written, this
3 bill would grandfather in the Commissioner of Agriculture
4 and the Attorney General. When I say, "grandfather in"
5 they would still have to run again, but it would delete
6 them from the Eight Is Enough provision, which the people
7 of this state overwhelmingly passed several years ago,
8 which I don't particularly agree with, but it ought to be
9 applied equally.
10 I have spoken with the general about it, he has no
11 problem with it. I haven't spoke with Mr. Crawford about
12 it, but I didn't know he was going to be in here. But all
13 the amendment does is it says that those two are not
14 considered new offices, which would exempt them from the
15 Eight Is Enough statute.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: On the amendment I've got, maybe
17 I've got the wrong one, it says the office of chief
18 financial officer shall be a new office.
19 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Yes, sir, that would be the
20 only one that's new. That would be a new one because it
21 combines several offices. But the other two would not be
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. I follow you.
24 Commissioner Butterworth.
25 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Question of Commissioner
1 Langley, if I can. Commissioner, would you accept a
2 friendly amendment to this in order to take the Attorney
3 General off of the Constitution Revision Commission in
4 future years?
5 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Absolutely.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's out of order. You have
7 already collected your money.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now, this is the amendment to the
10 amendment. Do you understand what he's done is made sure
11 that the only new officer created that could serve eight
12 years, is that correct, or under the term limits, maybe
13 eight years, is the office of chief financial officer?
14 The Commissioner of Agriculture and the Attorney General
15 would not be considered new in that respect, which would
16 then apply the term limits to them.
17 All right. Does everybody understand the amendment
18 to the amendment? All in favor say aye; opposed?
19 (Verbal vote taken.)
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment to the amendment is
21 carried. Now we are on the amendment as amended which
22 puts the Commissioner of Agriculture -- wait a moment, we
23 have got an amendment to the amendment by Henderson.
24 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Mr. Chairman.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner
1 Henderson, I'll have them read it. Read the amendment,
3 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Henderson on Page 3,
4 Line 7, delete "the Commissioner of Agriculture."
5 COMMISSIONER HENDERSON: Mr. Chairman, I believe that
6 you misspoke earlier when you said that the Commissioner
7 of Agriculture was not on the Board of Administration.
8 The Commissioner of Agriculture is not now on the State
9 Board of Administration, and this deletes the commissioner
10 from the state board.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Oh, you delete it because he is
12 not supposed to be on this because he isn't now. That's
13 correct. I understand. That is a friendly amendment.
14 All right. All in favor of the amendment, say aye;
16 (Verbal vote taken.)
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment is adopted, which
18 deletes the -- it makes it as it is now.
19 Now we are on the amendment as amended which adopts
20 the Cabinet reform but restores the Commissioner of
21 Agriculture, if you pass this amendment, to Cabinet status
22 and would be a statewide elected office. Does everybody
23 understand that? All right. We'll have any debate that
24 anybody has on that amendment. You have already spoken in
25 favor, I guess, or do you want to speak again? Was it
1 yours? It was yours, no further. All right.
2 Any opponents? This is on the amendment which
3 restores the Commissioner of Agriculture, but leaves
4 everything else like it was passed. All right. If not,
5 we'll proceed to vote on the amendment by Commissioner
6 Zack, et al., as amended. All right. Unlock the machine
7 and we'll vote.
8 (Off-the-record comment.)
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: No, no, we are putting the
10 Commissioner of Agriculture in it and then we go to the
12 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has everybody voted? We have
14 lost some soldiers. Unlock the -- I mean, lock the
15 machine and announce the vote.
16 READING CLERK: Thirty-one yeas, 1 nay, Mr. Chairman.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Now we are on the proposal as
18 amended and there is an amendment on the table from Style
19 and Drafting, which is still pertinent, I take it.
20 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: Yes, sir.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. You are recognized,
22 Commissioner Lowndes, to move that amendment from Style
23 and Drafting, which is No. 2 now.
24 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: The amendment from Style and
25 Drafting deals with the Article IX, Section 2, dealing
1 with the State Board of Education. And --
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Wait a minute, I've got to read
3 it. Please read it.
4 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
5 Drafting, on Page 4, Line 24, after the word "of" insert
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You may proceed.
8 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: As I say, it's Article IX,
9 Section 2, with respect to the State Board of Education.
10 It would change it from reading "the system of public
11 education" to "the system of free public education." And
12 the reason for that is that the system of free public
13 education is described another place in the Constitution
14 and it differentiates it from having jurisdiction or
15 authority or business over the university and college
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Does everybody
18 understand? This is a rather technical amendment to
19 comply with the rest of the Constitution on that. All in
20 favor of the amendment, say aye; opposed?
21 (Verbal vote taken.)
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: The amendment carries. We are
23 now on the proposal as amended. The sponsors of that were
24 quite a few. Does anybody want to speak? Commissioner
25 Alfonso was chairman of the Executive Committee out of
1 which this came, so I'll recognize you to present the new
2 proposal. Commissioner Alfonso.
3 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
4 won't belabor this point. We have listened to the
5 agriculture community, we are responding to their desire
6 to stay on the Cabinet. We have a streamlined package
7 here that we voted on favorably and had enough votes on
8 the floor. And I would recommend this amended, now
9 amended proposal and ask you to give it your favorable
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does anyone else want to speak to
12 this? If not, we'll proceed to vote. Unlock the machine.
13 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
16 READING CLERK: Twenty-two yeas, 10 nays,
17 Mr. Chairman.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: By your vote you have adopted
19 this and sent it to Style and Drafting. We'll now move to
20 Proposal 168 by Commissioner Corr. Yes.
21 (Off-the-record comment by Commissioner Barkdull.)
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well, we'll do this one because
23 this one has got to be changed, I think. 168 by
24 Commissioner Corr has an amendment, but I'll ask that it
25 be read.
1 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 168, a proposal to
2 revise Article IV, Section 6, Florida Constitution.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We are going to need
4 five hands on this. It passed 22 to 6, but it creates
5 within it a State Board of Agriculture, of course to
6 appoint the Commissioner of Agriculture, and we just
7 adopted, you know, an elected one in the Cabinet. But it
8 also has some other items in it. Commissioner Corr,
9 where's he? He's not here. Does anybody want to speak to
10 this, Commissioner Mills, or one of you?
11 I need five hands. If we don't get five hands,
12 though, then we have got the inconsistency. Okay. We
13 have got five hands. We either need to amend this or
14 eliminate it or both. Does everybody understand -- this
15 was the one that created the Board of Agriculture, which
16 we have just made extinct. But it did have some other
17 provisions in it and there is an amendment from Style and
18 Drafting. Does it address this?
19 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. We need to
20 adjust this now based on what just happened.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Shall we temporarily pass this
22 and give you an opportunity to correct it and get it back
23 into shape where we can deal with it?
24 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Yes.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It's already on the floor now.
1 We are going to temporarily pass it.
2 And we are going to move to the proposal that we
3 temporarily passed by Commissioner Riley this morning, if
4 I can find it. What's the number, Commissioner Riley? On
5 Page 4, and it's 166. All right. It creates a Board of
6 Education, as I understand it. But let me have her read
7 that. Go ahead, 166.
8 READING CLERK: Committee Substitute for Proposal
9 No. 166, a proposal to revise Article IX, Section 2,
10 Florida Constitution.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We need five hands. We need five
12 hands. We now have five hands. We are going to No. 166,
13 which is on Page 4 in your -- we have read it and now --
14 oh, yes, we need a motion to continue because it is almost
15 6 o'clock.
16 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman?
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull.
18 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Mr. Chairman, I move you that
19 we extend the time of adjournment until we have concluded
20 this calendar.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. All in favor say aye;
23 (Verbal vote taken.)
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It is extended until we finish
25 the calendar. We are now on 166, which has been read.
1 And you will tell us what it is, please. It is
2 Commissioner Riley's proposal.
3 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I have an amendment to this
4 proposal, which is very simple.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Amendment on the desk. Let me
6 let them read the amendment. Read the amendment, please.
7 READING CLERK: By Commissioner Riley, on Page 1,
8 Line 23, insert lengthy amendment.
9 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: On the amendment.
10 COMMISSIONER RILEY: What the amendment does,
11 Commissioners, is to sever the umbilical cord of this
12 proposal from any Cabinet reform proposals. While it can
13 live within that proposal, if it passed by the voters,
14 this allows it to live on its own. I would ask you to
15 support this proposal, I think it makes it stronger, the
16 amendment to the proposal, it makes it a stronger proposal
17 and allows it to be a truly educational amendment, or
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now does everybody
20 understand that the amendment is what we have got to vote
21 on, and this is the one that's before you here by
22 Commissioner Riley. And what it basically does, it says
23 if the general election of '98, the proposal offered by
24 the Revision Commission on Cabinet reform should fail, and
25 the proposal offered by the Constitution Revision
1 Commission on reforming the State Board of Education is
2 passed, the following conforming amendments to Article IV,
3 Section 5, shall be made.
4 I understand what you are trying to do is say that if
5 Cabinet reform is defeated and they pass this, that the
6 Commissioner of Education will become an appointed office.
7 COMMISSIONER RILEY: The State Board of Education
8 will move from the Cabinet to an appointed state board who
9 will then elect themselves a Commissioner of Education.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And that would delete from the
11 present Constitution the elected Commissioner of
13 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct. Last time we met,
14 while this had overwhelming approval, for those here,
15 there was a question as to what would happen if one passed
16 and one didn't. And this is to answer that question.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. So if the other one
18 passes, then this one would be of no effect; is that
20 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. Does everybody understand
22 that? This is a sort of a hedge, I guess, would be what
23 you would call it. Is that right, Commissioner Riley?
24 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Well I'm responding to the
25 questions that we had the last time it was heard, and that
1 was the main concern. And this is in answer to that
2 concern. I want to make sure that it can stand alone.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott has a
5 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yeah, I just want to make sure.
6 If you don't want to eliminate elected offices on
7 education -- I mean, this proposal would do that, right?
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's correct.
9 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Why are we doing this one
10 instead of --
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: She moved it.
12 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: No, but I mean I'm just saying
13 logically rather than -- wasn't that all taken care of in
14 the last -- I'm not sure where we're going.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: As I understand what she is
16 telling us -- and I may be wrong, she can correct me --
17 what she says is that her amendment would say that if the
18 proposal we just passed failed, and this one passed, in
19 other words, if the voters voted against Cabinet reform,
20 but voted for her proposal, then the Commissioner of
21 Education under her proposal, the present Cabinet sitting
22 here, it would be removed as an elected office and
23 replaced by a board who would appoint the Commissioner of
25 And I think the objection was raised before,
1 Commissioner Scott, that this was a competing proposal.
2 What she says she is trying to do is to make it
3 noncompeting. You-all have to be the judge of what she
4 has to say. Commissioner Barnett.
5 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Just a question to make sure I
6 understand the procedure here of Commissioner Riley. Is
7 it correct that your overriding goal is to make sure that
8 there is a vote on the question of an elected versus an
9 appointed Commissioner of Education?
10 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
11 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: And that you want to do
12 that -- as I think I have heard you say, you want to do
13 that even though we may go forward with the proposal on
14 the Cabinet that contains a similar position because that
15 may or may not pass.
16 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
17 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: And that this amendment that
18 we have on our desks is designed for the situation if the
19 major Cabinet proposal did not pass on the ballot, this
20 would conform it so you would still have a Commissioner of
21 Education serving on the Cabinet, it would simply be a
22 nonelected but an appointed commissioner.
23 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct, correct.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Scott.
25 COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Just 30 seconds' worth of -- I
1 would be against this. I mean, Cabinet reform, if that's
2 voted down, then to come back and say, Well, we are still
3 going to have a Secretary of State and we are still going
4 to have an Insurance Commissioner and we're still -- and
5 eliminate the elected office for education, which is one
6 of the ones that's really troubling to begin with, I think
7 it is a bad idea. So I'm going to vote against it.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We are on the
9 amendment which is basically the proposal, however. Does
10 anybody want to speak further on this? Commissioner
11 Marshall, you were up and you are recognized, sir.
12 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Thank you, very briefly. If
13 we have an appointed Commissioner of Education, and he or
14 she serves as a member of the Cabinet, that person has
15 been appointed by the Governor, do we not then give the
16 Governor two votes on the Cabinet; his own -- along with
17 the Cabinet rather, as Reubin Askew would say -- his own
18 and the person he has appointed as commissioner? Do you
19 want me to clarify that?
20 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I would like you to clarify
22 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: We have an appointed
23 Commissioner of Education, that person performs as a
24 member of the Cabinet, assuming the Cabinet endures.
25 COMMISSIONER RILEY: What you are assuming is because
1 the person is appointed therefore they will be an
2 additional voice of the Governor?
3 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: That's what I am assuming.
4 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I would suggest the person is
5 the wrong person to appoint. I can't answer that
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Governors have been known to
8 appoint the wrong people.
9 COMMISSIONER RILEY: In my proposal in the State
10 Board of Education, it is the State Board of Education
11 that chooses the Commissioner of Education. So in that
12 respect it is not.
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Any further --
14 anybody want to speak in favor of this? Anybody want to
15 speak against this? If not, are you prepared and ready to
16 vote on this? Do you understand what we are voting on?
17 Commissioner Butterworth.
18 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Maybe I just --
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: This is on the amendment now.
20 This would not pass the proposal. We would have to come
21 back and vote on it again just like it is, if we pass this
23 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Is this what we are voting
24 on, final, this will be the final thing?
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That amendment does in effect
1 become the proposal.
2 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: If I can have a question
3 maybe of Commissioner Riley here.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are recognized.
5 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Commissioner Riley, who
6 actually will be doing the appointing of the Commissioner
7 of Education.
8 COMMISSIONER RILEY: The state Board of Education.
9 But let me clarify something. The amendment that you have
10 in your hand does not have the full proposal in it. It
11 simply has part, the part that the staff set at my request
12 and at your request which was what happens if. And so my
13 question to the staff was, we need to make sure that if a
14 State Board of Education proposal passes and a Cabinet
15 reform proposal does not, that it can stand alone. That
16 was the question that was the problem perhaps, if it's a
17 Style and Drafting, which I have been told that it is not.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: As I understood what you said if
19 we don't pass this, then we would have one provision that
20 didn't have -- we had an appointed Board of Education in
21 it, and then you had this next one that did the same
22 thing, if we don't pass this amendment. As it stands now,
23 you have a provision that says we will appoint a Board of
24 Education, the Governor will --
25 COMMISSIONER RILEY: The Governor will appoint.
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: -- and they will select the
2 Commissioner of Education.
3 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And we have a provision, if we
5 don't pass your amendment, we have a provision in the one
6 we just passed that says we will have a State Board of
7 Education that will be appointed by the Governor. What if
8 they both pass, and you don't adopt this amendment?
9 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Well then we are back to the
10 same question that was asked the last time we brought this
11 up, which is, what if one doesn't pass. So I defer to
12 people who have more experience in this than I in terms of
13 the Constitution and words. All I can tell you is that
14 the State Board of Education is the State Board of
15 Education proposal, it is not a Cabinet reform. And the
16 purpose of this amendment is to sever that umbilical cord.
17 I'd be happy to withdraw this and argue Proposition
18 166 on its own, but again, listening to this body and
19 people in this body what I understood previously was that
20 on its own that was, that was a problem.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Well it may be. It may be a
22 problem both ways. We will just have to wait and vote and
23 see I guess. At the moment does everybody understand what
24 that amendment does? Commissioner Butterworth, did that
25 answer your question?
1 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: Not really because if both
2 things fail, could we be put in a position, which would
3 not be bad, but the present Governor and State Board of
4 Education appointing the Commissioner of Education? So
5 you would not have the Governor appoint, you would have
6 the Governor and the Cabinet appointing. If it would get
7 down to that or not --
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's not the way it reads.
9 COMMISSIONER BUTTERWORTH: That's not the way it
10 reads, okay.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner
13 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Well I wanted to ask
14 Commissioner Riley a question or two. And mainly I
15 just -- is 166 -- I know that your amendment is striking
16 everything of the proposed language and inserting new
17 language; isn't it?
18 COMMISSIONER RILEY: My amendment adds two phrases
19 and that then becomes part of the proposal.
20 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Is there --
21 COMMISSIONER RILEY: It adds a phrase when it speaks
22 specifically about the election.
23 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Okay. I guess what I am
24 asking is what effect will -- if the measure that we just
25 passed that reforms the Cabinet fails, and 166 fails,
1 there is no problem. That's what you are saying?
2 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
3 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: If 166 fails and that fails
4 there is no problem.
5 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Correct.
6 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: If that fails and 166
7 passes --
8 COMMISSIONER RILEY: And this amendment is in, then
9 there is no problem.
10 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Thompson, I might
11 can enlighten that a little bit. What she has done is
12 added a schedule to the original proposal she had.
13 COMMISSIONER RILEY: This does not change the
14 proposal. It cleans it up, as I understand it. If
15 schedule is the right term, I like that term, it sounds
16 nice and clean and not too affectatious so I'll buy it.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's what you say right at the
18 top, schedule. And that's what would appear in the
20 COMMISSIONER THOMPSON: Mr. Chairman, Members, I
21 don't see any problem with this. I think what she is
22 providing for is an either/or and that's what we need.
23 That's what the voters are going to need. If they pass
24 Cabinet reform, then you dovetail into it. If they don't
25 pass Cabinet reform and they do pass this, you dovetail
1 into it. If they don't pass both of them, then there is
2 no problem.
3 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I think it has been said four
4 times now. Thank you.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We have got to go on the
6 amendment first. Are there any further questions on the
7 amendment? I think that maybe clarified it. All right.
8 Unlock the machine and we will vote on the amendment.
9 Does everybody understand the amendment? It is a
11 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
14 READING CLERK: Seventeen yeas, 8 nays, Mr. Chairman.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Obviously everybody didn't vote
16 but they don't have to on this because it was a majority
17 vote. We are now on the proposal as amended which has
18 this schedule attached to it. And, Commissioner Riley,
19 you may present your proposal again.
20 COMMISSIONER RILEY: I will briefly, thank you,
21 Mr. Chairman. And I know we are all brain dead so I will
22 try to make this brief, although my brain is quickly
23 waking up.
24 Charlie Reed came and spoke before us in Jacksonville
25 and one of his main proposals was this. And we had people
1 from around the state, including the commission of 100,
2 Council of 100, and the Governor's Commission on Education
3 and you have been given another letter from Charlie
4 Olingher [phonetic] who couldn't, who didn't have time to
5 stay and speak to us at one of our public hearings.
6 These people didn't say we need Cabinet reform, they
7 said we needed educational reform. And they presented
8 this as a strong way that we can do this.
9 This proposal received almost 90 percent of those
10 present last time. I would sincerely hope that we would
11 have the same percentage this time on this vote. If you
12 look at the educational system in the state of Florida,
13 and you look at the Board of Regents who oversee our
14 university system, recently in a poll three out of the ten
15 top universities in the United States were in the state of
17 When he look at our community college system, which
18 is overseen by an appointed board of community colleges,
19 there is nobody in the state that doesn't know that we
20 have an excellent community college system. Where we get
21 the bad scores that Commissioner Marshall is talking about
22 is in K through 12. We are 41st on the list of SAT scores
23 and we were a few years ago last on the graduating, high
24 school graduation. And we are now only about 43rd.
25 I would ask that we make a very, very important
1 change in education of the state of Florida and do what
2 the experts who have looked at it have asked us to do,
3 which is to set up a State Board of Education and ask for
4 your support on this proposal.
5 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Anybody want to
6 debate? Commissioner Marshall.
7 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Question please for
8 Commissioner Riley. If this is approved and we have an
9 appointed Commissioner of education, will that person
10 function as a member of the Cabinet?
11 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Yes, but not an elected part of
12 the Cabinet.
13 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: It will have a vote on
14 Cabinet affairs and all of that, if the Cabinet survives.
15 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Yes, yes.
16 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Commissioner Riley, I like
17 the idea very much of placing the responsibility for
18 education in the hands of a board. But I am concerned
19 that this is a kind of piecemeal approach to Cabinet
20 reform, which we all, I think most of us in education
21 believe needs to be addressed. Can you put me at ease on
22 that, that it is not a piecemeal approach?
23 COMMISSIONER RILEY: Again, I would say what I said
24 earlier. When people came and spoke to us and when the
25 people who have looked at education in the state of
1 Florida, they did not look at this as Cabinet reform.
2 They looked at this as a totally educational proposal and
3 an educational issue. That's how they presented it to us.
4 The people that spoke to us around the state didn't talk
5 about Cabinet reform with this. It affects the Cabinet
6 because of the way our Cabinet is set up, but this is an
7 educational issue.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. We need to -- I think
9 we have debated this enough over the term of our being
10 here. And we are ready to vote on this proposal as
11 amended. Unlock the machine and let's vote.
12 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has everybody voted? Lock the
14 machine and announce the vote.
15 READING CLERK: Sixteen yeas, 13 nays, Mr. Chairman.
16 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. It fails.
17 Here is what we are going to do. We have, if you
18 will look, these proposals that passed 26 to nothing and
19 so on, I want to run through those while Commissioner
20 Scott and Commissioner Jennings are still here. They have
21 to leave pretty quickly. And let's see -- if we don't get
22 five hands, they are done.
23 Proposal No. 4 by Commissioner Langley, that's the
24 one clarifying the authority of the Department of Military
25 Affairs, I don't think we need to read them at this point.
1 If nobody raises their hand, that is adopted. Nobody
2 raises their hand.
3 Proposal 25 by Commissioner Langley, I skipped 8
4 because it was a 21 to 9 vote. Proposal 125 by
5 Commissioner Langley providing military court-martials to
6 be conducted by military judges, and the National Guard
7 direct appeal to the DCAs, adopted 28 to 1. Nobody raises
8 their hand, that's adopted.
9 By Commissioner Ford-Coates, reducing the voting age
10 to 18, adopted 31 to nothing. If nobody raises their
11 hands, that's adopted.
12 By Commissioner Freidin relating to ethics in
13 government, including that section of the requirement set
14 out in Article III, Section 18, Florida, which creates a
15 code of ethics. It was a technical thing, passed 32 to
16 nothing. Nobody raises their hand, it is passed.
17 Revise the Florida Constitution is No. 37 by
18 Commissioner Freidin by adopting language that is not
19 gender specific. That is a matter of editing. It is
20 adopted 25 to 2. If there are no hands raised, there are
21 not five hands raised, that is adopted.
22 Proposal 44 by Commissioner Langley, allowing the
23 state Supreme Court and the District Courts of Appeal to
24 submit questions of military law to the federal court of
25 appeals, uniform services, for advisory opinion. There
1 are not five hands, that one is adopted.
2 All right. We have a technical amendment on that
3 that somebody has got to put on here. On Proposal 44 they
4 have got the wrong name of the court, Commissioner
5 Langley. And they are going to offer the amendment so
6 raise five hands, give me five hands. Okay, we have got
7 five hands. Now offer the amendment. Read the amendment
8 to Proposal 44, please.
9 READING CLERK: By the Committee on Style and
10 Drafting, on Page 1, Lines 25 and 26, strike "Court of
11 Appeal for the Uniform Services" and insert "Court of
12 Appeal for the Armed Forces."
13 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Alfonso,
14 you are recognized.
15 COMMISSIONER ALFONSO: That was pretty
16 self-explanatory. It was just the incorrect court of
17 uniform services and the correct name is the court of
18 armed forces.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All in favor of the amendment say
20 aye; opposed?
21 (Verbal vote taken.)
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It is amended. As amended, if --
23 all in favor, unlock the machine and let's vote, Proposal
24 44 as amended making a technical correction. Unlock the
25 machine and let's vote.
1 READING CLERK: Proposal 44, a proposal to revise
2 Article V, Section 2, Florida Constitution.
3 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
4 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Lock the machine and announce the
6 READING CLERK: Twenty-six yeas, zero nays,
7 Mr. Chairman.
8 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Then we have
9 Committee Substitute for Proposals 112 and 124 by the
10 Committee on Finance and Taxation and Commissioners Mills
11 and Ford-Coates providing for an exemption from ad valorem
12 taxation for certain tangible personal property, which I
13 believe had to do with mobile homes, didn't it? If there
14 are not five hands, that one is adopted. It is adopted.
15 Committee Substitute for Proposal 133 by the
16 Committee on Finance and Taxation and Commissioner Scott,
17 Article III, providing guidelines for a public review
18 period for a general appropriations act. That's the one
19 that put 72 hours on the conference committee distance
20 that's not there now. It passed 31 to zero. If there are
21 not five hands, it is passed.
22 Proposal 153 by Commissioner Barkdull providing for
23 membership of the Judicial Qualifications Commission.
24 That was a technical change that was messed up in the
25 legislative schedule unintentionally and this corrects it.
1 It was 31 to nothing. Adopted if there is not five hands,
2 it is adopted.
3 Proposal 179 by Commissioner Thompson, providing
4 guidelines for legislative consideration of veto messages,
5 revising the calculation of the 72-hour public review
6 period for the general appropriations bill. That's the
7 same general subject we have done, 32 to nothing. If
8 there are no five hands on this, it is passed.
9 Now the only thing we have left is Proposal No. 8 by
10 Commissioner Barkdull, if you would please read, please.
11 It had a vote of 21 to 9 so it didn't get 22 votes. There
12 were only 30 here. Please read it. We need five hands on
13 this one. Five hands to consider this one. We have five
14 hands. All right.
15 Would you read Proposal No. 8 by Commissioner
17 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 8, a proposal to revise
18 Article III, Section 8, Florida Constitution.
19 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Commissioner Barkdull, explain
20 this, please.
21 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: The Governor at the present
22 time has 15 days upon adjournment of the Legislature to
23 veto a bill. This gives him 30 days.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Do we need any debate
25 on this? I think we did it before. Unlock the machine
1 and let's vote on Proposal No. 8 by Commissioner Barkdull.
2 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right, let's vote here.
4 Maybe this one needed to be debated, there are only 25
5 people voting. He needs one more vote and then he makes
6 it. Are you going to deprive him of his one vote? We
7 should have debated it, I guess, earlier. Twenty-seven of
8 us is all that's here? Well right now the vote is 21 to 6
9 unless somebody wants to do good. It is late in the day,
10 Commissioner Langley, I can tell how you voted. All
11 right. By your vote it is 21 to 6, it fails.
12 We have 148 that's left, which we -- excuse me, it is
13 168 that's left by Commissioner Corr which created the --
14 go ahead and read it.
15 READING CLERK: Proposal No. 168, a proposal to
16 revise Article IV, Section 6, Florida Constitution.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Commissioner Mills,
18 you want to explain this and what's going on here?
19 COMMISSIONER MILLS: Well, Mr. Chairman, the
20 amendment on the desk, which I think has now been passed
21 out, strikes the lines in 168 dealing with the agriculture
22 commission so it conforms with the previous reinsertion of
23 the agriculture commission.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. So what does that do?
25 COMMISSIONER MILLS: It takes it out. On Page 3,
1 Lines 4-10, it takes out the lines dealing with the State
2 Board of Agriculture.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. And what does that
4 leave in the proposal after you do that, Commissioner
6 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: You know, we are limited to so
7 many departments. This does not allow the bureaucrats to
8 create what is in effect a department but they call it an
9 agency or something. If it looks like a duck and walks
10 like a duck, then it is a duck.
11 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So if we adopt this amendment,
12 then we're dealing solely with that subject; is that
14 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: Yes, sir.
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does everybody understand that?
16 Commissioner Lowndes, did you have something?
17 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: I don't think it deals solely
18 with that subject. My sense is it also had the provision
19 in it dealing with deciding what the Secretary of State,
20 who would be eliminated, would be called. Am I wrong
21 about that?
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It is not in the title.
23 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: The provision at the end of
24 it, I think, creates the office of custodian of records.
25 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Yes, it does do that.
1 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: And it also has the Department
2 of Elder Affairs' matter in there, too.
3 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: And that was one we are just
4 making a technical correction on.
5 COMMISSIONER LANGLEY: All we need to do is TP it.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We can't TP it, this is the last
7 one. 168 -- first of all, we have an amendment and we
8 will do that. The amendment removes the Board of
9 Agriculture and that's all it does; is that correct? All
10 right. All in favor of that amendment, say aye; opposed?
11 (Verbal vote taken.)
12 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: So now we are dealing with it as
13 amended. Okay. But we have adopted the substitute for
14 the Style and Drafting amendment which eliminated the
15 agriculture department. Now what we have left --
16 Commissioner, will one of you that knows what's in this,
17 Commissioner Lowndes or Commissioner Mills or somebody
18 that was on Style and Drafting, tell us what's left.
19 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: I think I know what's in it --
20 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Tell us, let us in on it.
21 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: -- but I may not be the right
22 person to explain it because I don't like it. So --
23 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Maybe you are the right one, this
24 late in the day.
25 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: As I understand this
1 particular proposal, it is an effort by Commissioner Corr
2 to keep government honest, in a way, so that we live
3 within the constitutional limit of the number of
4 departments, the 25 departments. And there is a concern,
5 I think, that there are entities which function, currently
6 today function as a department; for example, the one
7 that's given to me as the Agency for Health Care
8 Administration, which really functions as a department but
9 is administratively assigned to a department and therefore
10 does not trigger the constitutional cap.
11 This is an effort to say, you need to live within
12 that constitutional cap. And so those entities that --
13 any entity that functions as a department must actually be
14 considered a department. That's my explanation of it. At
15 the appropriate time, I don't want to confuse my
16 opposition to it with trying to explain evenhandedly what
17 I perceive it does.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now does anybody want
19 to speak for it or explain it further? Commissioner
20 Lowndes, you were up first. You are next, Commissioner
22 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: For some reason, this proposal
23 had tacked on to it things which were a catchall with
24 respect to the Cabinet reform because the proposal for
25 Cabinet reform had already passed.
1 So this proposal has in it, in addition to what
2 Commissioner Barnett explained, it has the provision that
3 would only be effective in the event the Cabinet reform
4 passed that would create the office which would take over
5 the duties of Secretary of State. It also has in it the
6 provision which changes the elderly care department to
7 elder care.
8 Now that is -- why that's tacked on to this, I'm not
9 sure, because both of them are not relevant to the main
10 thrust of this proposal, which is the 25 department
12 The only concern I would have about it, to tell you
13 the truth, is that if this was defeated say, for example,
14 and the Cabinet reform passed, we would not have a
15 provision dealing with establishing the office to take
16 over the Secretary of State duties.
17 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Wouldn't that be done by law?
18 COMMISSIONER LOWNDES: It could be done by law, yes.
19 And so -- but I just wanted to tell you what else is in
20 here. And I have no apologies for it because I was not
21 the author.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Does anybody claim
23 credit for this that wants to speak on it? Commissioner
25 COMMISSIONER SUNDBERG: I claim no credit for it, but
1 I want to speak in favor of it.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are recognized.
3 COMMISSIONER SUNDBERG: As was indicated, I think
4 Commissioner Barnett said that AHCA, the Agency for Health
5 Care Administration, it is one of those agencies that to
6 begin with was put into the Department of Professional
7 Regulation and then it is moved, I guess it's still here,
8 DBPR, believe it or not.
9 The Division of Administrative Hearings is also not
10 accountable to any department head. There is one of the
11 agencies dealing with retirement that likewise is
12 essentially autonomous.
13 Our Constitution, I'm not sure it was in '68, I guess
14 it was, but it was deemed to be executive department
15 reform by saying there will not be a proliferation of
16 executive departments in our Florida state government.
17 And so the number of how they arrived at 25, you would
18 have to ask Dick Pettigrew, but in any event it was deemed
19 to be -- 25 was the appropriate number.
20 And what is built into that is that each, that those
21 executive functions within a department must answer to and
22 be subject to the authority of the head of a department.
23 These agencies like the Agency for Health Care
24 Administration specifically say their budget is not
25 subject to the department head, they may act autonomously.
1 This is an attempt to go back to the original intent
2 and prohibit the Legislature from calling a cow a bull and
3 changing the gender of the animal. And so what -- as I
4 say, what it seeks to do is say, you know, if you are
5 going to have an executive department, it must fall within
6 the purview of that 25 limitation.
7 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: We have got to vote on the
8 amendment. We already voted on one amendment. Do we have
9 an amendment? We voted on the amendment; didn't we? We
10 are on the proposal now, is that correct? The proposal as
11 amended is where we are. Commissioner Marshall.
12 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Mr. Chairman, I don't like to
13 vote or refrain from voting on an issue without
14 understanding it. I do understand what Commissioner
15 Barnett said and Commissioner Sundberg's explanation very
16 well, but I'm looking at Section 14 which calls for the
17 appointment of a Board of Agriculture, an election of --
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That was struck. That's been
19 amended out.
20 COMMISSIONER MARSHALL: Thank you, thank you.
21 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: That's the only thing that's been
22 amended out though. Everything else is still in. Is that
23 right, Commissioner Barnett?
24 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: That's my understanding, yes,
1 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Does everybody understand what we
2 are going to vote on here when we vote? We now have a
3 proposal that deals with the departments, that deals with
4 the custodian of the records, and makes elderly elder.
5 And I don't think that changes Commissioner Barkdull and I
6 one bit, we are both still elders.
7 In any event, we will vote on this if you-all are
8 ready to vote on it. If you want more debate, we will
9 have that. This is the last thing we are going to do
10 today and this is going to be our coup de grace until we
11 get to coup de grace in a week and then we will be still
12 available to do things until May 4th, May 5th. Now, do
13 you want to vote? Good. Open the machine and let's vote.
14 (Vote taken and recorded electronically.)
15 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Has everybody voted? Okay. Lock
16 the machine and announce the vote.
17 READING CLERK: Eighteen yeas, 6 nays, Mr. Chairman.
18 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: It fails. All right. That
19 concludes today. And any announcements? There are some
20 committee meetings, a committee meeting. Commissioner
22 COMMISSIONER MILLS: No, sir, there is probably only
23 one committee meeting and that's tomorrow morning at 9:30
24 for all the hardy souls on the Style and Drafting
25 Committee, 9:30. And it will be in the Room B9,
1 commission's conference room.
2 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: All right. Now Commissioner
3 Barkdull for announcements.
4 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: Seeing none, I'm prepared to
5 make a motion to recess.
6 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Okay. I would like to say before
7 we quit that this has been one productive day for an open
8 group like this and your debate was excellent and
9 nonpersonal, for the most part, and we accomplished a lot.
10 And I think we can go forth with great pride at this point
11 and come back and maybe make some more pride in a week.
12 Commissioner Barkdull.
13 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I move you, sir --
14 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Wait, Commissioner Barnett.
15 COMMISSIONER BARNETT: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to take
16 just a moment of personal privilege to thank you for today
17 and the way you have conducted these proceedings. I know
18 you had one time left to rule on your record of being a
19 great chair, but I did want to express my personal
20 appreciation to you and also to wish you a Happy St.
21 Patrick's Day.
22 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: You are very kind.
24 CHAIRMAN DOUGLASS: Thank you. And extend it all
25 back to you. We are doing good.
1 COMMISSIONER BARKDULL: I move you, sir, that we
2 recess until 9:00 a.m., Monday, March 23rd, in this
4 (Session adjourned at 6:35 p.m.)
2 STATE OF FLORIDA:
3 COUNTY OF LEON:
WE, JULIE L. DOHERTY, and MONA L. WHIDDON, Court
5 Reporters, certify that we were authorized to and did
stenographically report the foregoing proceedings and that
6 the transcript is a true and complete record of our
8 DATED this ______ day of ____________, 1998.
11 JULIE L. DOHERTY, RPR
MONA L. WHIDDON
14 Court Reporters
Division of Administrative Hearings
15 1230 Apalachee Parkway
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-3060
16 (850) 488-9675 Suncom 278-9675
Fax Filing (850) 921-6847