|Meeting Proceedings for August 22, 1997|
1. NANCY GRAHAM - (Mayor, West Palm Beach)
Welcome and Introduction.
2. JAMES MURLEY - Tallahassee (Secretary, Department of Community Affairs)
Art. III, s. 19: Strengthen the governorís ability to serve as chief planning officer. Look at Florida Commission on Government Accountability to the People as a model.
Art. II, s. 6.5: Add the following section: "It shall be the policy of this state to protect the safety of persons and property from natural and non-natural disasters. Adequate provision shall be made by law to provide incentives to ensure th is measure of health, safety and welfare protection for all persons and property."
Art. VII: Give local governments the ability to provide for local tax options that lessen the decline of business and community. This "variable" or "split" tax provides that the tax assessment is standard, but the tax rate on l and is increased and the rate on buildings and structures is decreased. A higher tax rate on land near existing infrastructure would encourage economic development and serve to enhance the urban core. Reducing the rate on the buildings and improvements will serve to promote both new construction and redevelopment of older structures.
3. WARREN NEWELL - Palm Beach Co. (County Commissioner, Palm Beach County)
Art V, s. 18: $43 million is absorbed by the taxpayers of Palm Beach County for operation of the state court system. Provide full state funding. Prohibit any of the three branches of state government from obligating the counties and municipalitie s to pay for any salaries, costs, or expenses of the state court system, including offices of the state attorneys or public defenders. Commencing fiscal year 2000-2001, the state shall assume all Article V costs and effective July 1, 2004, the state shal l be responsible for all costs.
Art. VII, s.6: 60,000 parcels within Palm Beach County donít pay any ad valorem taxes because of the structure of the homestead exemption. Change the homestead exemption. One option would be 50% of the first $50,000.
Art. XI, s. 3: Strengthen voter ballot initiatives.
Art. VIII, s. 1(d) and Art. VII, s. 9: Require constitutional officers, who are elected by voters, to levy taxes, if necessary, to support their individual budgets.
4. ROBERT L. CROWDER - Stuart (Sheriff, Martin County)
Art. VIII, s. 1(d) Does not support the recommendation that constitutional officers levy taxes to support their budgets.
5. DONNIE MURRELL - Palm Beach Co. (Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers)
Caution should be exercised in any changes considered. If it is necessary to make changes, look at the uniformity provision of the search and seizure provision in Art. I, s. 12.
6. JOSEPH MAURO -Vero Beach (Knights of Columbus, Vero Beach Pregnancy Center, Right to Life)
Art. I, s. 23: This provision was not intended to intrude into the private lives of families.
7. PAUL FEAK - West Palm Beach (Self)
Constitutional officers have the right to deputize employees in the event that the employee is acting on their behalf. That provision is in the Constitution. Notwithstanding Sheriffs office employees, county constitutional officers should not be able to deputize employees. It makes no sense to have that power in the Constitution. The number of deputized employees for Constitutional officers other than for the Sheriffís office should be limited to a certain number, for example, six.
8. BOB NEUMANN - (Sheriff for Palm Beach County)
9. LINDA TAYLOR - Palm Beach Co. (Union 130)
Art. I, s.6: Right-to-work.
10. KERRY JENNINGS - Palm Beach Co. (Boca Chamber of Commerce)
Art. IX, s. 1: The one county-one school district requirement is not working. Proposes allowing the county to divide into smaller school districts, which will give more local control of the schools.
PAULETTE BURDICK, Chair, Palm Beach County School Board, answered questions of the Commission: The School Board does not support dividing the county into separate school districts.
11. CAROL SMITH - Coral Springs (League of Women Voters)
Art. I, s. 23: Keep this provision as is.
12. THERESA LePORE - West Palm Beach (Supervisor of Elections, Palm Beach County)
Does not support the proposal that constitutional officers assess taxes to operate their offices. Would add levels of bureaucracy.
13. CARL J. STRANG, JR. - Winter Haven (Self)
Supports the twelve proposals of the Constitutional Liberty Coalition, which limit the powers of government.
14. NANCY CARNEY - Palm Beach Co. (Palm Beach County Council of Realtors)
Art. IX, s. 4: Supports the division of Palm Beach County into multiple school districts.
15. ANNE GANNON - Palm Beach Co. (National Womenís Political Caucus)
Art. I, s. 2: Add gender to the classes protected by the constitution.
Art. I, s. 23: Do not make any changes.
16. JOHN K. CLARK - West Palm Beach (Tax Collector, Palm Beach County)
Art. VII, s. 6: Urge revision of homestead tax revision.
Art. VII and Art. VIII: Does not support the proposal to have all constitutional officers assess taxes to operate their offices. It is impractical. The current system provides accountability; for example, the sheriff is elected to provide public safety and the county commission provides the funding, which allows for a check and balance.
17. GERALD RICHMAN - Palm Beach (Self):
Art. V: Supports merit selection and retention of all judges. If this appears politically unpalatable, at least allow for a local option. Beef up the Judicial Qualifications Commission- give it the power to remove judges for incompetency, not onl y misdeeds. Create a commission to evaluate judges, including citizens as well as lawyers so that citizens have some basis for evaluating judges in a retention election.
18. TOM ROSSIN - Palm Beach Co. (State Senator)
Art. III, s. 16: Supports a reapportionment commission. Proposal includes a 7-member commission, none of whom may be an elected public official, party officer, registered lobbyist, or legislative employee. The chief justice would appoint six memb ers - five of whom would be selected from recommendations of the chief judge of each district court of appeal. The six commissioners would select a seventh, who would serve as chair. The proposal sets out standards for reapportionment.
Art. III, s.15 : Supports changing senate terms from 4 to six years, and representative terms from two to four years. Provide the term limits.
19. LYNN WHITFIELD - Palm Beach Co. (Fla. Chapter, National Bar Association)
Art. I: Amend constitution to include a provision prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, public education, and other benefits of citizenship.
Art. V: Supports the election of trial court judges. Do not change this provision.
20. TONY FRANSETTA - Palm Beach Co. (Florida Moose Association)
Spoke on the value of fraternal organizations. Donít pass up right of fraternal organizations to exist. Consider in the stateís tax structure, the value of these organizations.
21. GEORGIA NORCISA - Palm Beach (Self)
Art. I, s. 2: The wrongful death act discriminates against people based on age. Age should not be used as a basis for discrimination.
22. PATRICIA ANN MORRIS - West Palm Beach (Palm Beach County Right to Life)
Art I., s. 23: This provision has been interpreted in a way that does not protect the rights of people.
23. RAFAEL J. ROCA - West Palm Beach (Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers)
Art. X, s. 13: Eliminate sovereign immunity. Twelve states currently have no limitation. The liability cap should be changed if sovereign immunity is not eliminated altogether, to allow for inflation. Thirty states have caps higher than Floridaí s. In response to a question, Mr. Roca did not believe the Academy would favor a system where, when the governmental body is performing a governmental function, it would be absolutely immune, but when performing a proprietary function, sovereign immunity would not apply.
24. MICHAEL AMEZAGA - West Palm Beach (Legal Advisor, W. Palm Beach Police Dept)
Art. X, s. 4: Consider carving out an exception from the homestead protection to allow the forfeiture of a homestead used for criminal activity. Under current case law, a homestead cannot be reached by forfeiture, even if it is being used to furth er criminal conduct. In response to a question, could allow for protection of an innocent spouse, which now exists. Some discussion ensued as to the possible distinction between acquiring a homestead with criminal proceeds, and there being criminal acti vity occurring in the home perhaps without the knowledge of the dependent spouse and children.
25. LLOYD BRUMFIELD - Stuart (Vice President, Common Cause of Florida)
Art. V: Supports merit selection and retention of all judges. 24 of 27 disciplined judges were initially elected, not initially appointed. Campaigns are supported by the lawyers who practice before the judges.
26. MARY BENNETT HUDSON - Palm Beach Co. (Old Womens League)
Art. III, s. 16: Legislature should not be in charge of reapportionment
Art. V, s. 10: Trial judges should be subject to merit selection and retention
Procedures of CRC should provide for maximum notice and openness.
27. NANCY DANIELS - Tallahassee (Florida Public Defender Association)
Art. V, s.18 : The elected public defender system working well.
Art. V, s. 1: Supports the state being responsible to fully fund the Article V costs, including costs of conflict attorneys. Would oppose a constitutional provision prohibiting counties from supplementing these costs.
Art. I: Cases have eroded the principal of the right to one appeal of a criminal conviction. Suggests readopting the pre-1972 language which guarantees the right to one direct criminal appeal.
Art. V: The increasing use of per curiam affirmed opinions is troublesome. Supreme Court jurisdiction should be broadened so they can review per curiam affirmed opinions.
Art. I, s. 12: Would recommend repealing the conformity language that requires Florida courts to conform with interpretations of the U.S.Supreme Court on search and seizure issues.
Art. I, s. 15: The death penalty is imposed arbitrarily and capriciously. Language should be added to protect against this. A provision requiring a unanimous jury recommendation for death in order for it to be imposed is recommended.
28. RICHARD C. SHEPHERD - Palm Beach Co. (Constitutional Liberty Coalition)
Art. VII: Limit authority of legislature to tax citizens.
Supports the 12 provisions of the Constitutional Liberty Coalition
29. JAY P. DAWLEY - Palm Beach Co. (Self)
Art. VII, s. 6: Provide tax relief to elders. Add a provision to this section that would be an alternative to the homestead exemption for elderly. For qualified individuals, the relief would increase based upon age. At 70, the tax would be based upon Ĺ of the appraised value, at 80, the tax would be based upon 1/4 of the appraised value, and at 90, the tax would be based upon 1/10 of the appraised value. After the age 100, a person would not be required to pay ad valorem taxes.
30. JOHN SCHANTZEN - Palm Beach Gardens (IBEW)
Art. I, s. 6: Advocates repealing right to work provisions in the Constitution.
31. SCOTT HUFFMAN - Delray Beach (Self)
Art. I, s. 2: Would add sexual orientation to the list of protected classes in Article I of the Constitution.
32. BARRY SILVER, Boca Raton (State Representative)
Protect the environment.
Art. I, s. 23: Keep the right to choose in the Constitution.
Change the 85% rule. Criminals convicted of crime should serve 100% of their sentence.
Every citizen should be covered by health insurance.
No animal should suffer unduly. There should be an animal protection right in the Constitution.
Supports the armed forces.
33. LINDA TOMPKINS - Pompano (Self)
We need to protect people who are injured on their jobs. Workers compensation, medical benefits and retirement benefits should be assured.
Whistle blowers laws should be strengthened.
34. JOHN BROOKS - Palm Beach Co. (Self)
Art. II, s. 10: Revise this section to define marriage.
Art. V: Favors electing all judges.
35. MARGARET RUNCHEY - Palm Beach Gardens (Palm Beach Co. Womenís Coalition)
Art. I, s. 2: Add gender to the protected classes.
Art. I, s. 23: Strongly urges leaving this as it is.
36. BERNARD MANN - Broward Co. (Self)
Art. I: Supports legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.
37. MURRAY GOLD - Delray Beach (Self)
Art. VI: Make it a misdemeanor for any candidate to accepts gifts and contributions for any single source that exceed the value of $200. Local governments must make matching funds available on a first in/first out basis with unspent funds returned to their source. None of these funds may be used for personal purposes.
Art. VI: Provide that elections in Florida will allow campaigning to commence not more than 30 or 45 days locally and, for statewide campaigns, 60 to 75 days before the election. Where offered, require equal free time to candidates by cooperating news media and/or reduced rates.
38. A. J. FALB - West Palm Beach (Self)
Art. X: Opposes casino gambling in congested areas.
39. BOB PROPER - Palm Beach Co. (Christian Coalition)
Art. I, s. 2: Constitution should recognize right to life, commencing at conception and going through natural death.
Art. I, s. 23: Parental rights should be recognized and enhanced.
Art. V: Judges should be held more accountable. Judges should not be able to defeat the will of the people. We should elect all judges. Remove prohibition from judges addressing issues in their campaigns.
40. FRANCES MANNOS - Lake Worth (Self)
Donít infringe on constitution and bill of rights. There has been an erosion in rights in recent years.
Art. I: Supports allowing the ten commandments to be posted in classrooms.
41. SUSAN FRIEDMAN - Lake Worth (Self)
Art. I, s. 2: Prohibit age discrimination, relating to wrongful death laws.
42. DAVID A. ACTON - Palm Beach Gardens (Self)
Art. VII, s. 9(a) should be amended to read: Counties, school districts, and municipalities shall, and special districts governed by elected boards may, be authorized by law to levy ad valorem taxes and may be authorized by general law to le vy other taxes, for their respective purposes, except ad valorem taxes on intangible personal property and taxes prohibited by this constitution.
43. JAMES ALSIS - Palm Beach Co. (Self)
Art.1, s.5: Should be changed to provide strict judicial scrutiny to people who participate in political activities. The number of people who register with a political party that is not Democrat or Republican is increasing and these people deserve to be recognized.
44. NANCY DEREN - Palm City (Self)
Art. IV, s. 4: Change cabined from elected to appointed.
Art. IX, s.5: Should be changed to have school superintendents appointed rather than elected.
45. JEAN POLESHUCK - Delray Beach (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: Privacy rights should be maintained in the Constitution as currently provided.
Homosexuals should be able to adopt children. Florida is one of only 2 states that prohibit homosexuals from adopting. That provision should be changed.
46. VIVIAN BURCH - Lake Worth (Self)
Art. I, s.23: Current privacy provisions in the Constitution should be maintained. Courts have applied current provision judicially and conservatively.
47. JEFFREY CLARK POLLARD - West Palm Beach (Self)
Mandate having historic civic text added to the education
48. INGRID ECKLER - Delray Beach (Self)
Art.VI, s.2: Should be amended. People signing petitions should be registered voters.
Art. VII, s. 6: Homestead exemption should be abolished. The first $25,000 of homestead property should be taxed.
Art. III, s. 16: Reapportionment should be governed by an independent committee.
49. ROSLYN RUDOLPH - Boca Raton (Self)
Registration process to get on the ballot should be changed so that the people who are attempting to get on the ballot should have to pay to have the signatures verified.
50. DIANA CUNNINGHAM - West Palm Beach (PB County Criminal Justice Commission)
Article V: Funding should be revised. The state should be responsible for the cost of the county court system.
51. RICHARD VAN MUNSTER - Riviera Beach (Self)
Against net ban. Commercial fishermen have lost their livelihoods so that sports fishermen can fish.
52. ROBERT DENT (Chairman of the Martin County Conservation Alliance; spoke for Martin County Commissioner Donna Sutter Melzer)
Art. XII, s.9: Supports creation of a land and water trust fund, funded from documentary stamps which would tie the growth of the state to the funding of the environment. Funds should be spent on acquisition and management of environmentally sensi tive lands. Extend the bonding authority of the P2000 program.
53. ROBERT BURTON - Jupiter (Self)
Art. IV, s.9: Supports the merger of the salt water and fresh water game and fish commission. Merge these two commissions.
54. GREG BRAUN - Stuart (President, Martin County Audubon Society)
Art. X, s. 16: Limitation on net fishing should not be revoked and the initiative should not be changed.
Art. II, s.7: Protection from abatement of air and water pollution should be strengthened beyond air and water pollution. The use of public lands for private gain should be disallowed.
Art. XI, s.9(a): Sunset provision for P2000 should be extended and continued past the current year. A designated perpetual source of the land and water trust fund should be established.
Art. IV, s. 4: Would like to see that a cabinet position be established for environmental issues.
Do not change the net ban amendment.
56. MICHAEL KENNEDY - Jupiter (Self)
Article X, section 16: This provision is a very important provision of the constitution. Do not change it
Art. XI, s. 3: Do not change the initiative process. With regard to the net ban initiative, there was not a petition garnered by someone who was not paid.
Art. IV, s. 9: Consider unification of the Game and Fish Water Fish Commission and Marine Fisheries Commission.
Art. IX, s. 4: Supports smaller school districts. School board is not responsive to the constituents needs.
57. TIM NETTLES - North Palm Beach (Self)
Art. X, s.16 - please keep this important provision.
58. ROBERT SOLAR - Vero Beach (Indian River Farm Bureau)
Art. VII, s. 4: Retain the Green Belt.
Keep it simple; Constitution should contain fundamental law only.
59. HELEN VOLTZ - Melbourne (Brevard County Commissioner)
Art. X: Against unrestrained take over of property by governmental officials.
Art. II, s.7: Against the environmental bill of rights, but not against protecting the environment.
Art. X: Advocates protection of private property. She believes that there is fraud involved in the taking of land for environmental preservation.
Constitutional officers should be voted on.
Art. I, s. 23: Parents should have rights in Article I of the Constitution.
Article V: Courts should be funded by the state.
60. JAMES FRENCH - Satellite Beach (Self)
Against an "Environmental Bill of Rights." Private property should be protected.
61. ROSA DURANDO - Lake Worth (Audubon Society)
Art I, s.23: Supports a right of privacy.
Art. IV: Supports the 5 water management districts. Should not be subjected to political weight. A non-elected board should govern the water management districts.
Art. X: Arguments on private property rights should not be placed in the Constitution.
62. FRANK DOLCI - Merritt Island
Preserve our rights and give us back the rights that have been eroded.
63. LINDA DIETZ - Boca Raton (Republican Executive Committee)
Art. VI: Collection of signatures to recall a county commissioner is excessive.
Art. XI, s. 3: Doubling the number of names required in the initiative process would end the initiative process. The number of names should be lowered.
64. JOHN M. EARLEY - Palm Beach County (Citizens for Constitutional Property Rights)
Art. XI, s. 3: Tax cap amendment should go on the ballot.
Art. XI, s. 3: Initiative process be made easier, especially when done by volunteers
Verification of ballot summary should be prepared and approved before the collection of signatures.
Art VI, s.4 : Term limits should apply to judges. There should be a maximum service of 8 years
Art. X: Strengthen private property rights.
Supports all 12 proposals of Constitution Liberty Coalition
65. CHESTER BREWER - North Palm Beach (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Problems with initiatives lie with the buying of votes/signatures on petitions.
Art. X, s. 16: Donít change this provision
66. BILL OWRA, Palm Beach Co. (Self)
Art. X: Supports property rights amendment.
Art. VI: Supports recall for all public officials.
Art. IX: School system does not work today.
67. CURT LEVINE - Boca Raton (The Alliance of Delray Residential Associations)
Art. VIII, s. 1(k) Recommends a courthouse to serve each community in large counties.
68. SANDY WHITE
Art. I: Proposes we add a provision: All citizens shall have equal access to the public domain, including equal access to the designated public transportation system, such as roads. In order to get that we need twenty-four hour demand respons ive public transportation at a fair and reasonable price.
69. DEAN TAFFEL - West Palm Beach (Citizens for Judicial Reform; Tax Reduction Task Force)
Art. VII: Supports tax cap initiative.
Art. XI: Citizens should not have to come to the CRC
70. MICHAEL KIRIACON - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. I, s.22 : Proposes to make all criminal trials go before a jury.
71. BARBARA SUSKOW - Lake Worth
Art. V, Art. VI, : Elect all judges with an 8-year term limit
Art. XI, s. 3: Donít dilute power of the initiative. Donít make it more difficult.
Art. VI: Recall of all elected officials and judges.
Art. IX, s. : Local option for school boards and school districts
Art. I, s. 23: Provide for parental rights
Art. I, s. 2: Keep basic rights; donít add gender and other proposals
72. ROBERT TRESSLER
Art. XI, s. 2: Provides that this commission does not review tax and budget matters.
Art. XI, s. 3: Donít make initiatives any more difficult, it is already hard enough.
Art. VII, s.5(a): Retain this prohibition against income tax.
73. MR. MILLER
Art. V: Supports election of all judges
74. MR. TANNER
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports unification of the Game Commission and Marine Fisheries Commission.
Art. XII, s. 9: Supports permanent funding source for P2000, and supports a high threshold to alienate lands acquired for conservation
THE FOLLOWING SUBMITTED CARDS BUT DID NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK:
Walter C. Vitunac- Port St. Lucie (Self and Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County)
Dorothy H. Wilken, Clerk of Courts - West Palm Beach
Patricia Schapley - Delray Beach (Joint Center for Environmental & Urban Problems)
Evelyn M. Horowitz, Palm Beach County (League of Women Voters of W. Palm Beach)
Robert Oglesby - Palm Beach County (Coastal Conservation Association)
Keith Smith - Riviera Beach (Self)
Elayne Russell - Boynton Beach (Self)
Nancy Roen - Jupiter (Self)
Sally Stewart - Boca Raton (Self)
Rob Ross - Boca Raton (Citizens for Judicial Reform)
Dick Weinstein - Palm Beach (Self)
Phyllis Kehoe - Palm Beach Co. (Self)
Margaret Ekberg - Gulfstream (Self)
Howard Weiss - Boca Raton (Self)
THE FOLLOWING WRITTEN PROPOSALS WERE SUBMITTED:
Ron Klein - Delray Beach (State Senator)
Art.IX, s. 4: Recommends an amendment to allow a county by county consideration of the division of school districts into smaller units, safeguarding the creation of a broad-based community commission to propose boundary lines; equitable allocation of assets and liabilities; dividing student funding where the dollars follow the students; providing for judicial review and approval of a multiple district plan by the circuit court to ensure compliance with civil rights and other laws; and requiring loc al referendum. The most cost effective school districts are between 15,000 and 50,000 students.
Max Davis - West Palm Beach (Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission)
Art. V, s.1: Counties should not be burdened with the cost of housing felons sentenced to state prison time, but are otherwise incarcerated in the county jail.
Fred Vella - West Palm Beach (Self)
Art. VI: The filing fee for congressional candidates should be no more than $100. This fee is standard in the other 49 states. By having a high filing fee you only allow for the rich to file and it is unfair to everyone else.
Joseph H. Peck - Stuart (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: The Right to Know law should be made part of the constitution. Abortion and euthanasia are not morally correct.
Ron Bibace - Boca Raton (Americans for Legal Reform)
Art. III, Art. IV: All lawyers should be removed from elective office in the legislative and executive branches of government.