|Meeting Proceedings for September 24, 1997|
TALLAHASSEE PUBLIC HEARING
September 24, 1997
1. DIANE TREMOR - Tallahassee (William F. "Bill" Poe, Sr.)
Art. VII, s. 10: This section should be addressed by presenting the voters with a clear choice as to whether and the extent to which their tax dollars will be spent and the government's credit will be pledged to aid and economically assist private entities. This section purportedly prohibits the state and its political subdivisions from becoming a joint owner with, or stockholder of, or giving, lending, or using its taxing power or credit to aid any corporation, association, partnership or person. Yet, hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds have been used and credit pledged to support sports franchises.
2. BEN PHIPPS - Tallahassee (FAMA and Individual Airports)
Art. VII, s.3: If a function performed by a governmental entity is a proprietary, non-governmental function, it should be taxable. However, when the property is used for a governmental function, all types of governmental entities should be treated the same. Currently, taxes are imposed upon properties held by municipalities performing identical functions as counties, which are immune. There is no dumber tax policy than one in which government taxes government.
3. CARI ROTH - Tallahassee (Fla. Assoc. of Special Districts)
Art. VII, s. 3: Governments performing the same functions should be treated the same. Urges that we keep in mind the purposes of special districts that are performing basic government services.
4. NEIL H. BUTLER - Tallahassee (Floridians for Fair Debt Exemptions)
Art. X, s. 4: There should be a limitation on the amount that is shielded from forced sale. We restrict homestead by acreage, but not by value. A person can purchase or enhance a homestead with the intent of evading the bankruptcy laws. Florida is second in the nation in bankruptcy filings.
5. ERIC DRAPER - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. VII, s. 9(b): Remove the cap on the ad valorem taxing ability of the Northwest Florida Water Management District. The legislature has imposed a great number of responsibilities on the District, and this cap provides very limited funds. This is the fastest growing part of Florida and includes some of Florida's most important aquatic and marine estuarine resources.
6. KEVIN BAKEWELL - Tampa (AAA Clubs of Florida)
Art. VII, s. : Add: "No future monies derived from fees, excises, or license taxes relating to the registration, operation, or use of vehicles on the public highways, or to fuels used for the propulsion of such vehicles, shall be expended for other than the cost of administering the laws under which such monies are derived, statutory refunds and adjustments provided therein, payment of highway obligations, the cost of construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of public highways and bridges, and the expense of state enforcement of traffic laws. This does not apply to specific diversions of these taxes authorized by Florida Statutes or Constitution as of July 1, 1998."
Protect the state transportation trust fund, comprised of motorist user fees, from future diversion of funds to non-transportation purposes. Seventeen other states have a strong protection in their constitution to protect highway user revenue. Seven have some protection in their constitution. AAA is not seeking to stop the current diversions to public education and mass transit, but hopes to stem any further diversion. To use 1997 as an example, it is estimated that $350 million of motorist user fees (nearly 1/6 of the monies collected) will go to non-transportation uses. Florida's roads and bridges are in critical need of immediate attention. It is likely that states will begin to receive increased federal funds for transportation projects; therefore, a safeguard is important now.
7. CURT KISER - Palm Harbor (Self)
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports unification of the Marine Fisheries Commission with the Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission. There is no logical reason to separate regulation of marine and freshwater resources. This will also allow more coordinated services and better utilization of personnel.
Art. XI, s. 3: Take a hard look at the statutory initiative. It is important to keep the legislature involved. Limit constitutional initiatives only to the structure of the state government. Let the statutory initiative be there for the substantive issues. Select an appropriate threshold of signatures, 250,000 or 150,000, whatever, then certify the signatures to the Secretary of State by January 1. Then provide that the legislature must vote the initiative up or down by the 30th day of the regular session. If the legislature votes the initiative down or fails to vote on it by the 30th day, it may modify and pass it before the end of session and if the initiative sponsors are satisfied that would be the end of it. If the legislature entirely fails to address the initiative, it goes on the ballot and the legislature could not touch it for two years.
Art. III, s. 16: Supports an independent reapportionment commission. Provide for a set number from each party appointed either by the state party leadership or legislative presiding officers, then a tiebreaker. Perhaps a person appointed by the chief justice.
Art. IV, s. 5: Supports the suggestions of Commissioner Nelson and General Milligan to reduce the cabinet to a 3-member cabinet - governor, attorney general and fiscal officer.
8. ROBERT D. WOODWARD - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. IV, s. 9: The unification of the Marine Fisheries Commission and Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission should be the subject of further study. Concerns involve the many cultural and biological differences that could make unification undesirable. The merger of DNR and DEP is still incomplete and has not been smooth. The subject unification could be even more difficult.
9. WADE HOPPING - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. IV, s. 9: This section lacks at least three things that should be addressed when the Commission addresses unification. (1)Guarantee citizen procedural due process rights and make the agency subject to the Administrative Procedures Act for its rulemaking and for its decision-making; (2) discuss and decide the extent of agency subject-matter jurisdiction; and (3) look at the issue of the extent of legislative oversight of the dollars going to constitutional agencies.
Art. II, s. 7: Does not support an environmental bill of rights. Our current constitutional policy on the environment is appropriate and effective. The legislature has enacted some of the strongest environmental laws in the nation. The legislature has timely and effectively addressed most pressing environmental issues. Our current constitutional policy has resulted in the current environmental issues being addressed by legislative committees. The legislature and regulatory agencies are best able to balance the competing interests of environmental and natural resource protection with our need to create new jobs, stimulate economic growth and protect private property rights.
The bill of rights could shift environmental policy-making from regulatory agencies and the legislature to the courts, and would burden the court system with additional litigation. The bill of rights contains mandates that do not allow for balancing competing interests. It undercuts the flexibility needed to address changes and innovation. Where constitutional rights are self-executing, the language should be especially clear and narrowly drawn. Most states that include environmental rights provision in their constitutions give the legislature the authority to implement and define the rights.
10./11. DeWITT BELL and WM. QUINTON DAYTON - Madison (Self)
Art VII, s. :Special assessments should be illegal. If one person has to pay, everyone should have to pay.
12. JIMMY HATCHER - Bristol (Self)
Art. V, s. 10: All justices and all judges in all Florida courts should be appointed and not elected by popular vote.
Art. V, s. 5-6: All county courts should be merged into the circuit courts and Florida should have one level of trial court with necessary divisions.
Art. II, s. 8: There should be established courts of ethics wherein all charges of violations of ethics by officers of the judicial branch of government, by officers of the executive branch of government and by officers of the legislative branch of government will be heard and adjudged. This court of ethics should be controlled by a majority of non-lawyer public citizens.
Art. V: All orders rendered by all Florida courts should be personally signed by the justice or justices or by the judge or judges who made or took part in the decision set forth in the order.
Art. V: All per curiam affirmed orders rendered by all Florida courts shall contain the words: "The final order as rendered herein by the lower court is hereby adopted verbatim as the order of this court."
13. JAMES RUSSO - Viera (Florida Public Defenders Association)
Art. V, s. 1: Supports adequate state funding of the state court system as it was originally envisioned. Don't prohibit counties from contributing to the court system if they so elect. Counties were originally envisioned as providing office space, utilities, telephone, service of process, etc., including those for the state attorney and public defender. It has expanded to require counties to provide a lot of other services.
14. BERNIE McCABE - Clearwater (Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association)
Art. V., s. 1: The state should be responsible for the "soft" costs of the system, such as conflict cases, witness fees, juror costs, and expert witness fees. It was never contemplated that the state would be responsible for the "hard" costs, such as facilities. The FPAA would oppose the position of the counties to the extent of attempting to shift any of the "hard" costs to the state. For example, a recent draft of the counties provided that the cost of housing the state attorney and public defender would be shifted to the state. The FPAA would oppose this measure. This issue must be looked at realistically. We should not have a statute that says if the state doesn't pay it, the counties must, which is what we have today. The counties should not be a safety net for the state.
15. CARL J. DUNCAN - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. V, s. 10: Provide four year terms for both circuit and county judges.
Art. V, s. 8: Remove the age limit on judges and justices
Art. X, s. 6(a): Amend this paragraph to say: No private property shall be taken except for a justifiable cause public purpose with full compensation therefor paid to each owner or secured by deposit in the registry of the court and available to the owner. Where the effect of eminent domain can be felt on 100 or more people, public hearings allowing for public input are to be made a part of the process either before or during litigation.
Art. X, s. 15(c): Add: Net proceeds placed in the State Education Lotteries Trust Fund shall not be used to offset the 1986 Education Budget allotment by more than 3% except should the state student school enrollment fall below its 1986 enrollment level in which case the Legislature may make an equal percentage change in the annual budget.
16. JENNY BROCK - Crawfordville (Florida Wildlife Federation)
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports unification of the Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission and the Marine Fisheries Commission.
17. MARCIA ELDER - Tallahassee (American Planning Association, FL Chapter)
Art. III, s. 19: The state planning document needs to be linked to the state comprehensive plan, assuring consistency of governmental decisions back to that state plan.
Art. II, s. 7: Current policies in the constitution to protect natural resources, scenic beauty, for conservation and recreation lands, and to promote the use of renewable energy resources, such as solar power, should be preserved.
Art. XII, s. 9: Support continuation of P2000
Art. VII, s. 9(b): Agree with increased funding for the Northwest Florida Water Management District
Art VII: Growth management is a concern of this group, therefore they support basic reform of the state's tax structure, including the recognition of our services-based economy. Examine the sales tax exemptions with greater scrutiny, better equipping local governments to address local funding needs.
Art. IX: Provide quality education and quality care for our children. Our most precious resource is our children.
Art. III: Governmental accountability is of utmost importance, therefore we must ensure government conducts itself in a way that is fair, deliberative and inclusive of active public involvement.
General: Streamline the constitution to remove outdated and unnecessary provisions. The constitution is a policy document; it is not the place for details; that is for statutes.
Art. X: Private property rights are well addressed currently. Oppose any efforts to recognize the interest of the few over the rights of the public at large.
Art. XI, s. 3: Citizen initiatives should be focused on just that - single subject, accurate, and understandable to the public.
18. DON WESOLOWSKI - Tallahassee (Self)
Keep the constitution simple. Restrict government intrusion into only the common interests of the people.
19. TERRY SULLIVAN - Tallahassee (The Nature Conservancy)
Art. XII, s. 9: Submitted a letter on behalf of Colonel Robert M. Brantly, Nathaniel Reed, Joseph H. Hixon, James T. Swann, Thomas Pelham, and Karl Wickstrom, who all served as members of the Governor's Commission on the Future of Florida's Environment in 1990. This Commission was instrumental in establishing the Preservation 2000 program. The letter includes language for three proposals: (1) to create a permanent Florida Land and Water Conservation Trust Fund to meet a broad range of recreational, water resource and conservation needs; (2) to protect existing conservation and recreation lands; (3) to continue to allow the legislature to authorize bonding for the support of conservation and recreation programs and projects in Florida.
20. C. ALLEN WATTS - Daytona Beach (1000 Friends of Florida)
Art. II, s. 7: This is an adequate mandate to protect the resources of the state.
Art. VIII, s. 1(g): Remove distinction in home rule powers between chartered and non-chartered counties. Greater political and fiscal autonomy should devolve on local government.
Art. VIII, s. 4: Ease the limitations on intergovernmental transfers or consolidations of services and programs.
Art. XI, s. 3: Authorize statutory initiative, similar to the law in Oregon.
Art. XI, s. 3: Make more stringent restrictions on the process of constitutional initiative. Supports the proposals earlier proposed by Curt Kiser.
Art. X: Refrain from any further action regarding property rights. Asserts three core principles in considering property rights: (1) Every citizen has the right to use property for some viable purpose for which it is naturally suited. This utilitarian value is protected by traditional "takings" jurisprudence. (2) A purpose of society is to improve the collective economic strength of the community through collective investment, improvement and regulation. Individual properties will sometimes be increased in value through social activity, such as the construction of roads, utilities and other public facilities, or orderly patterns of development. The property value is created by the community and no individual citizen has an absolute right to it at the community's expense. The withholding or removal of such a windfall to any citizen is not a "taking" of property. Each citizen is entitled to the assurance that community regulation of property will operate equitably, rationally, and proportionally. These rights are protected by existing "due process" jurisprudence. (3) The community also has the right to restrict those forms of private property activity which are injurious to the public health, safety or welfare, so long as the restrictions are imposed without caprice. That protect is afforded by existing "equal protection" jurisprudence.
21. DAVE LEAR
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports unification of the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Game &Fresh Water Fish Commission. Mr. Lear read a letter from Robert M. Brantly, former Executive Director of the Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission supporting this unification.
22. SUSAN McLEOD - (Self)
Art. XII, s. 9: Provide for a permanent land and water conservation trust fund, which is generated through a percentage of the documentary stamp taxes so that land and water conservation is permanently and directly tied to the growth of our state. P2000 programs are enormously successful.
Art. XII, s. 9: Establish a constitutional policy of no net loss of conservation lands so that those lands purchased with public funds remain in conservation forever
23. ELSPETH D. STOWELL - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. II, s. 7: Strong support for the environmental bill of rights.
Art. XII, s. 9: Requests the time limitation on P2000 be removed. Permanent restoration should be established.
Art. XII, s. 9: Require a special procedure for the conversion of any lands purchased for conservation. Any land so purchased should not be used for any purposes inconsistent with their reason for purchase.
Art. XII, s. 9: Supports the policy of no net loss of conservation lands.
24. TED FORSGREN - Tallahassee (Coastal Conservation Association)
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports unification of the fish and wildlife agencies.
25. DAVID ZIMIT - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. II, s. 7: No water under state jurisdiction shall be diverted from the jurisdiction of one water management district to another unless and until it has been demonstrated that local water sources have been used, including sea water and previously used water, and have been utilized efficiently to meet the fresh water needs of residents and businesses. This section shall include, but not be limited to, desalinization, permitting of all users, and the metering of all permitted users, use of storm water, reuse of water, aquifer storage, recovery systems, and other technological advances in water conservation and use.
26. KEVIN OGDEN - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. XII, s. 9: Provide for a permanent land and water conservation trust fund. In traveling the state he has found tremendous support for P2000.
Art. XII, s. 9: Establish a policy of no net loss of conservation and recreation lands.
27. PATRICK ROSE - Tallahassee (Save the Manatee Club)
Art. X: Proposes a constitutional provision requiring growth to pay its own way. Require those who want to develop Florida, to pay for the true costs associated with their development efforts. Supports responsible future growth in Florida.
28. GEORGE WILLSON - Tallahassee (Self; Member, NW Fla Water Management District)
Art. VII, s. 9(b): The millage cap of .05 mills for the Northwest Florida Water Management District is not sufficient to meet the needs. There is no good reason to treat this district differently from the others.
29. ION SANCHO - Tallahassee (Supervisor of Elections)
Art. XI, s. 3: Make the constitutional initiative harder to utilize. Just as the legislature must pass a joint resolution for constitutional amendment ballot placement by an extraordinary majority, so should the people have to adopt an initiative by an extraordinary vote. Our founding father rejected the concept of direct democracy. We established a representative form of government. Direct democracy in California has come to a crashing failure. Look at strengthening the mechanics of representative legislation. Don't offer people silver bullets like initiatives, without dealing with the core problems.
Art. VI: Provide in constitution: Only natural citizens may make campaign contributions in Florida elections. Florida allows some people to have two bites at the apple - a corporation can contribute and its officers and employees can also contribute.
30. MARK SEIDENFELD - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Opposes the constitutional citizen initiative. If there are citizen initiatives, they should first go to the legislature where a supermajority should be required in order to place the matter on the ballot. In the founding of this country there was much debate about direct democracy versus representative democracy. Madison recognized the many problems with letting the general populace make laws directly. The general population does not devote itself to becoming knowledgeable about all of the matters that in an ideal world it should. There is also a tendency toward faction. Particularly with regard to constitutional matters, self-interest tends to be short-sighted and not good for the state as a whole. Finally, direct democracy does not allow for the benefits of a deliberative process. Currently, the mediating institutions that influence how a person will vote tend to be special interests that often do not provide voters with the most accurate information.
Art. XI: Don't make the constitution too easy to amend. By making initiatives more difficult in the sense of requiring a greater number of signatures, etc., this merely compounds the problem by leaving this vehicle open only to monied interests.
31. SAM BELL - Tallahassee (Local Government Study Commission)
The Commission has been meeting to find ways to improve local government. The cities and counties have been working together to address the problems; particularly devolution, as the federal government is sending problems down to the state, and the state is sending them on to local government.
Art. VIII: Proposing fiscal home rule - cities and counties would have the authority to levy any taxes not prohibited by the constitution or general law, with appropriate restraints. Currently, local governments can only levy those taxes which are specifically permitted.
Art. VIII: Currently looking at a GEAR program (Government Efficiency, Accountability and Reform Commission). This would involve local governments coming together to work out a plan for the delivery of services, whereupon they could then do certain things subject to the vote of the people, including having access to a revenue source, possibly fiscal home rule.
32. ROBERT STEWART - Clearwater (Pinellas County Commission; Comm on Local Gov't)
Art. V, s. 1: Since 1972, the cost of the court system has outgrown the ability of counties to absorb the costs the state does not pick up. The Commission recommends: All operational costs associated with the courts, court administrator, state attorneys, public defenders, and appointed counsel shall become a state funding responsibility. The counties' costs for the clerk of the court will be reimbursed. The cost of the sheriffs functions will remain with the counties. Counties will house the trial courts, court administrator, court programs, clerk. The state will house the public defender and state attorney. Remove the mandates that counties pay for some responsibilities; allow the counties to assist with these costs if they choose. The statewide fiscal impact is in the $285,000,000 to $300,000,000 range; therefore, they recommend a phase in of this proposal.
33. THOMAS COLLINS - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Correct having to revisit the same issues over and over again. Suggests that once an issue is put on the ballot, we won't put the issue on the ballot for the next 100 years. Instead of one election deciding something, require that it be passed in two elections. This would allow people to better reflect on these issues they will have to live with for a very long time.
34. SYD McKENZIE - Tallahassee (State Board of Community Colleges)
Art. IX, s. 7: Add the following: It shall be a paramount and fundamental obligation of the State of Florida to provide sufficient funding to ensure adequate access for the citizens of this state to a quality system of public schools and community colleges.
Art. IV: The Board firmly recognizes that community colleges are well addressed by the present system of locally based and governed institutions, and by the provision of an open-door policy
35. BENJAMIN WIANT - Tallahassee (FPIRG)
Propose the following: Contributions from business entities and labor organizations.--
(a) It shall be unlawful for: (1) any business entity or labor organization organized by authority of any law of Congress or any state to make a contribution for the purpose of influencing an election to any elective office or for the purpose of influencing any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any elective office; (2) any candidate or person knowingly to accept or receive any contribution prohibited by this section; (3) any officer or any director of any business entity or labor organization organized by authority of any law of Congress of any state to consent to any contribution by any business entity or labor organization prohibited by this section. (b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the employees, shareholders, or members of any business entity or labor organization organized under the authority of the Congress or the laws of any state from establishing a committee that operates free of any support from any business entity or labor organization organized under the authority of the Congress or the laws of any state, subject to the limitations otherwise provided in this chapter. © Nothing in this section shall prohibit a business entity or labor organization organized under the authority of Congress or the laws of any state, from providing indirect support to any committee, except a political party or candidate, for administration and compliance. Such support shall not include fund-raising or related activity. (d) This section shall not apply to elections to federal office under the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended.
36. WAYNE PADGETTE - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. I, s. 5: Lessen prohibitive ballot access laws. Florida has the most restrictive ballot access in the nation. The State of Florida is subsidizing Republicans and Democrats.
37. DANIEL WALKER - Tallahassee
Art. VI: There is far too little choice for the voters. Proposal #151 - electoral choice and voter participation, supported by Common Cause.
Supports the proposals of the Constitutional Liberty Coalition.
38. JOHN G. OTTO - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Supports statutory and constitutional initiative processes
Art. VI: Supports extending recall to all elected officials
Art. VI: Supports increased choice in elections
Art. VI: Supports limiting donations to natural persons
Art. I, s. 23: Privacy provisions need to be tightened up.
39. LEON RUSSELL - Tampa (Florida NAACP)
Art. I, s.2: Amend to allow adoption and implementation of affirmative action policies.
40. NADINE ANDERSON - Daytona Beach (Families with Loved Ones in Prison)
Art. I: Family visitation in prisons is not a right, but a privilege. A prison superintendent can disallow family visitation any time he chooses. Please make it easier for family members. There are 68,000 prisoners in the state of Florida. Doing 85% of their time. This is also a sentence on the families. The State of Florida will not allow conjugal visits. Two kisses each visit will not sustain a marriage. New York has a "family reunion" program, allowing extended visits. There was a 20% reduction in recidivism, was safer for guards, and reduced juvenile delinquency. Canada has a great visitation program.
41. BYRON W. MIXSON (Florida Retired Educators Association)
Art. X, s. 14: Protect the state retirement fund.
42. RALPH RANNEY - Quincy (Self)
Art. X, s. 6: Courts have held that eminent domain may be used to take property for businesses. The reason these cases have been decided this way is that "public purpose" is not defined in the constitution. The constitution should forbid this in unmistakable language. Add to this section: "However, if the taking of private property is done to substantially benefit a private corporation or person, the taking shall not be deemed to be for a public purpose." While this has not happened in Florida, it has happened in other states that have language similar to that in the Florida constitution. This has happened in Michigan, New Jersey, Kansas and Texas.
43. CHARLES S. STRATTON - Tallahassee
Art. X, s. 6(a): No property shall be taken or damaged except for a public purchase and with full compensation therefor paid to each owner or secured by deposit in the registry of the court and available to the owner.
Art. X, s. 6(a): Businesses should be treated as property for the purposes of this section. Businesses are property. There is some statutory treatment, but businesses are not treated fairly.
Art. X, s. 6(a): Give Florida property owners the same rights that are provided by the federal relocation act.
Art. X, s. 6(a): Guarantee legal representation. The statutes were recently changed; there is plenty of protection for big property owners. Small property owners are not protected.
Art. X, s. 6(a): Guarantee that when your property is condemned, you have a 12-person jury. While this is currently the case, the legislature has discussed changing to a 6-person jury.
44. VICTORIA WEBER - Tallahassee (Florida Power & Light)
Art. VII, s. 2: The League of Cities has asked that this Commission clarify and ensure municipalities' rights to manage their rights-of-way and receive full compensation for their rights-of-way. This should not be a matter dealt with in the constitution. This is not merely a clarification of the law as there is litigation ongoing at this time in Alachua County. There are strong public policy considerations involved in the provision of utilities and the coordination of utilities over local government boundary lines.
45. ALIX CAVE' - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. IX, s. 1: Why do we wait to pay for education until a child is 5 or 6 years old. Learning is very important from the very early years. If parents choose to put their children in school at a very early age, there should be funding for that. This would resolve much of the school readiness problem.
46. ERIC PRIER - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. VI: Same-day registration at the polls increases voter participation.
Art. VI: Ballot access signature requirements should be greatly reduced.
Art. VI: Filing fees restrict the pool of candidates. Suggests getting rid of these.
Art. III, s. 3(b): Change regular session of the legislature to the summer months so that teachers can serve in the legislature.
Art. III, s.1: Unicameral body composed of about 150 members. This would increase accountability - no finger pointing at the other house. 100 constituents from single-member districts; 50 statewide representatives.
Art. VI, s. 4: Abolish term limits.
47. MARGIE MENDUNI - Tallahassee (Leon County Republican Womens Club)
DONNA T. GILLIS - Tallahassee (Capital City Democratic Womens Club)
MARY MIDDLEBROOKS - Tallahassee (Women for Responsible Legislation)
BARBARA JUDD - Tallahassee (Leon County Democratic Women)
(Also involved in this group is the local chapter of the League of Women Voters and the Womens Political Caucus)
These groups have organized a voter education program. They have contacted virtually every civic group in Leon County to send a representative to attend a series of educational programs. October 9 is the first educational program. Then in September 1998, the second program will feature an explanation of the language of any proposed amendments. The speakers encouraged the commissioners to go back to their communities and assist in starting similar programs.
48. W. T. CHAPMAN - Tallahassee (Self)
Support the proposals of the Constitutional Liberty Coalition.
Purpose of this commission is to establish limits under which our legislature will operate.
49. BILL BASSETT - Monticello (Congressman Allen Boyd)
Presented the comments of Congressman Boyd relating to constitutional amendment. One of the greatest feature of a constitution is its stability. The contents of constitutions should be limited to (1) establishing the balance of power between the branches of government, and state and local governments, and organizing the government, and (2) declaring the basic rights of individuals. When the constitution can be easily altered it provides less of a shield against government abuse.
Art. XI, s. 1: Require a 2/3 vote of each house to place an amendment on the ballot.
Art. XI: Require a 2/3 vote for ratification of a constitutional amendment by the electorate, as well as requiring a majority vote by at least 3/4 of the counties.
Art. XI, s. 3: Eliminate right of initiative or increase the signature requirement from 8 percent to 20 percent and prohibit payment for signature gathering.
Art. XI, s. 6: Repeal the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission.
Art. XI, s. 2: The duties of future Constitution Revision Commissions should be limited to removing or replacing arcane language, transferring constitutional provisions into statutory law, and providing direction in response to inconsistent court interpretations. Major policy issues should rest with the elected representatives of the people.
50. GREGORY M. MADDOX - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. V: Allow jurors to ask questions.
Art. VI: Allow voting via the Internet. One positive aspect of this would be that it would stop the exit polls.
Art. VI: Proposes the filing fee restored for all candidates, but to go to a different fund. The fund would be used to provide the Supervisor of Elections' offices to have staff on hand to hand court ballots after the election. This works well in North Carolina.
51. WILLIAM H. STEELE - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. I: Supports a family bill of rights, to include: (1) All citizens of Florida are guaranteed that they are innocent of any government allegations and will be protected from any government agency's intrusions until and unless they are convicted by due process; (2) All citizens are Florida are guaranteed the right to access and support towards obtaining legal remedies if the state government does not earn a conviction of guilty against the accused; (3) All citizens of Florida who are accused, in any manner, but not convicted, must be compensated and returned to the state of normalcy that existed prior to the accusations by the agency, at no cost to the citizen; and (4) Any citizen not convicted, thus wrongly accused, will have full and open access to any and all government files regarding the case without hindrance or retaliation by the government or its agents and the citizens will have the right and necessary support to seek damages and punitive actions against the agency and its agents immediately upon the state's not earning a conviction.
52. CAROL KIO-GREEN - Tallahassee
Art. I, s. 5: Supports more open ballot access laws.
Art. VII, s. 12: Insert language: require approval by referendum for issuance of certificates of participation. This provision is supposed to protect citizens of local governments. Certificates of participation are used to finance capital projects on a very regular basis. Here in Leon County we are going to build a school through this mechanism.
Art. XI, s. 3: Supports citizen initiatives. Don't ignore citizen's deliberations. Give the right to members of a non-charter county to initiate county ordinances.
Art. VI: Should be able to recall all elected officials. Local officials are not subject to term limitations
53. VIRGINIA DAIRE - Tallahassee (Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence)
Art. I, s. 2: Add gender to the classes protected in this section.
Art. I, s. 8: Add the following: .... Holders of a concealed weapon permit as prescribed in Florida law shall not be subject to the provisions of this paragraph, except that no person criminally convicted of an act of domestic violence as defined by the legislature shall be allowed to purchase or maintain a handgun.
Art. I, s. 14: Amend as follows: Unless charged with a capital offense, a felonious act of domestic violence as defined by the legislature, or an offense punishable by life imprisonment and the proof of guilt is evident or the presumption is great, every person charged with a crime or violation of municipal or county ordinance shall be entitled to pretrial release on reasonable conditions. If no conditions of release can reasonably protect the community or the family from risk of physical harm to persons, assure the presence of the accused at trial, or assure the integrity of the judicial process, the accused may be detained.
Art. I, s. 18(b): Amend as follows: Victims of crime and their lawful representatives, including the next of kin of homicide victims, are entitled to the right to be informed, to be present, and to be heard when relevant, at all crucial stages of criminal proceedings, including the stage of pretrial release and release from confinement, to the extent that these rights do not interfere with the constitutional rights of the accused. "Lawful representatives" include nonlawyers designated by the victim to be heard on the victim's behalf, so long as the nonlawyer is not engaging in the practice of law and so long as the representation does not violate the constitutional right of the accused to confront his or her accuser.
Art. V, s. 7: Amend as follows: All courts except the supreme court may sit in divisions as may be established by general law, except that all circuit courts shall establish a division devoted to issuing and enforcing injunctions for protection against domestic violence. A circuit or county court may hold civil and criminal trials and hearings in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court as designated by the chief judge of the circuit.
THE FOLLOWING SUBMITTED WRITTEN STATEMENTS:
NORENE CHASE - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Proposes the inclusion of statutory initiatives. It would have been better for the net ban to be in the statutes and to keep our constitution simple.
Art. II, s. 7: We need to protect and keep a sustainable planet. Recognize the right of all people to clean air and water.
Art. XI, s. 3: Keep the constitutional initiative.
Art. VI: Supports open primaries
Art. I, s. 5: Supports equal access of minor parties to the elections process.
THE FOLLOWING SUBMITTED CARDS BUT DID NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK:
A. Wellington Barlow - Jacksonville
Ann Bidlingmaier - Tallahassee
Joanne Miller - Tampa
John H. Gorick - Monticello
Sammie L. Burgess - Tallahassee
Pam Jordan Anderson - Tallahassee
James P. Keane - Tallahassee