|Meeting Proceedings for September 5, 1997|
PRESENTATIONS WERE MADE BY THE FOLLOWING:
1. RICHARD G. ABRAHAMSON - Port Orange (Self)
Art. VII: Proposes a unified tax structure, combining property, sales, intangible and income taxes; and set a ceiling on the aggregate amount of taxes a person would pay. If we used the federal adjusted income, a return could be a simple, one-page form. Exempt the first $25,000 ($50,000 for a joint return), to avoid requiring those with lower income having to file. Index this figure to the Consumer Price Index to avoid bracket creep. Those at moderate income levels would not owe much, as offsetting credit for other taxes would mitigate amounts due. The tentative unified tax would be determined based on a percentage of income. Credits against the tax would be subtracted dollar for dollar for sales tax (from a table), intangible, and property tax paid on personal residences. Consider crediting renters with a percentage of rent paid. This system is more stable both for the citizens and the government.
2. B. B. NELSON - Melbourne (Self)
Art. X: There must be something in the constitution to limit the growth of government. 41% of the valuation assessed on land in Brevard County is owned by the government.
Art V, s. 12: A method for removing incompetent judges must be explored. If the attorneys vote that a judge is the worst judge in the circuit for three years in succession, he should be removed.
Art II: Recommends a new department of government to enforce the rights of the people--Constitutional Rights Enforcement Department (CRED).
3. STAN BAINTER - Eustis (State Representative)
Art. V, s. 10: Recommends term limits on judges. The other two branches have term limits, while members of the judicial branch may serve virtually without restraint. The legislature can make law over the objection of the governor; the people, by referendum, can make law by circumventing the legislature and the governor; yet no one can make law over the objection of the courts, not even the people.
4. JAMES B. CLAYTON - DeLeon Springs (Self)
Art. XI, s. 2: Appointing authorities should not appoint themselves. It is a conflict for the Chief Justice to appoint himself. No governmental authorities should be members of the Commission.
Art V, s. 10: Elect all judges.
5. MARK GIBB - Titusville (Self)
Art. I, s. 9: Private property should not be forfeited unless there is a criminal conviction.
Supports all 12 proposals of the Constitution Liberty Coalition.
6. EVELYN LYNN - Ormond Beach (State Representative)
Art. I, s. 22: Amend this to state that a person does not have the right to a trial by jury in a paternity determination case. Floridaís child support act is now among most proactive in the country. Federal law prohibits states from providing jury trials in paternity cases. Currently, by case law, the Florida Supreme Court has found that our state constitution ensures the right to a jury trial in these cases.
7. FRANK B. GUMMEY - Daytona Beach (Florida League of Cities, Inc.)
Art. X, s. 13: Opposes removing or abolishing caps on sovereign immunity. This would operate to dry up the insurance market. Also opposes making a distinction between proprietary and governmental functions because there would be a great amount of ambiguity and confusion as to which category a particular activity would fall into. Codify these principles in the constitution so there is stability and reliability. A dollar amount should not be placed in the constitution. The legislature should take care of the necessary modifications from time-to-time. Mr. Gummey explained that the basis for sovereign immunity is the separation of powers - that the judiciary cannot make spending decisions. This is the purview of the legislature, and to some extent, the executive.
8. LARRY SANDS - DeLand (Self)
Art X, s. 13: Proposes that sovereign immunity be abolished. If not, at least put something in constitution to make the legislature adjust the caps periodically.
9. BEA FOWLER - Cocoa Beach (Self)
Art. IX, s. 1: Does not support the initiative to dedicate a specific portion of the budget for schools.
Art. IX, s. 2: Does not support an appointed state board of education. Supports an elected commissioner of education.
Art. IX, s.4: Supports changing this section so that a county can have multiple school districts. Would support a local option.
10. MOLLIE DiLELLO - Palm Coast (Self)
Art IX, s. 4: Does not understand why we pay school boards. Not only do the school board members get paid a large amount for a part-time job, but they get hospitalization and pensions. Most states have volunteer school boards. They should only get reimbursed for expenses.
11. JUDY JOHNSON - Ocala (Marion Co. Comm./Florida Association of Counties)
Art. VIII, s. 1: Floridaís rate of growth has made providing services difficult for counties and local governments. Proposes enhancing the home rule powers of counties, particularly fiscal home rule. Fourteen counties are currently at the 10-mill cap, and are unable to provide some services.
Art. VII, s. 9: Reconsider the two-year limit on optional millage levy. If the citizens choose to tax themselves, they should be able to determine the period of time the tax would be in effect.
Art VII, s. 18: No definition of "important state interest" is provided. This term should be defined, or an additional majority should be required.
12. JEROME K. FULL - Daytona (Audubon)
Art. II, s. 7: Sustainability is important for our environment and our economy. Regulate resources in a way that resources will be sustained. This doctrine should be included in the constitution, specific, but with a broad scope. Require that new buildings utilize appropriate solar, photo-voltaic power, sun and breeze orientation, proper shading, color and materials to minimize energy requirements.
Art. VII, s. 4: Create a basis for providing incentives to those who use advanced technology, high efficiency solar and rechargeable electric vehicles.
13. PRISCILLA GRIFFITH - Melbourne Village (League of Women Voters)
Art II, s. 7: Supports the concept of an environmental bill of rights.
Art. II, s. 7: The constitution should clearly state that ownership of water belongs to Florida and its people.
Art XII, s. 9(a)1: Extend P2000 program beyond its current limit.
Art X, s. 16: The net ban should not be in the constitution. This is statutory in nature.
Art. VII, s. 9: There should not be specific millage limitations in the constitution.
Art. X : The property rights initiative constitutes matters that should not be enshrined in the constitution.
Art X, s. 17: The Everglades Trust Fund should not be contained in the constitution.
14. EDGAR M. DUNN - Daytona (Self)
The challenge to Florida is to find "community." What are we doing to build community?
Art. III, s. 1: Proposes reducing the House to 80 members and nest House districts into Senate districts.
Art. III, s. 16: Provide for an independent reapportionment commission
Art. III: Require the legislature to look at the various districts of state departments, and ensure they are of the size and structure to enhance community.
15. CHARLES WILBUR PATTER (West Volusia Audubon Society)
Art. XII, s. 9: Fund the P2000 program past the current time frames.
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports unification of Marine Fisheries Commission and the Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission.
16. JOHN L. SCRIPP III - Palm Coast (Self)
Art II, s. 7: Supports Environmental Bill of Rights
Art. XII, s. 9: Supports full funding of P2000
Art. II, s. 7: Supports Right to a Clean Environment
Art. X, s. 16: Supports fishing net ban
Art. I: Include a provision that would prohibit food or agricultural or corporate disparagement laws. Opposes the vegetable libel laws
Art. I, s. 4 & 5: Strengthen and reaffirm the rights of free speech and assembly.
17. RON BERRY - Ormond Beach (Self)
Art. X, s. 16: Supports the net ban amendment. Leave it intact.
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports unification of Marine Fisheries Commission and the Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission.
18. LEROY WRIGHT - Daytona Beach (Sportsmen Against Violating the Environment)
Art. IV, s. 9: Supports the citizens initiative for the unification of the Marine Fisheries commission and the Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission. The initiative is extremely popular. It would save a lot of time and effort for this Commission to place the initiative on the ballot.
19. LENORE McCULLAGH - Orange Park (Self)
Art. XII, s. 9: P2000 is a very popular and successful program. Many of these conservation lands are being targeted for non-conservation uses. Supports a proposal to add a statement that lands purchased for conservation shall be protected in perpetuity and not disposed of or used for purposes other than the public purpose for their acquisition.
20. THOMAS L. BROOKS - Dayton (Self)
Art. I, ss. 2, 21, 22: The wrongful death law discriminates against persons based on age. Age discrimination should be eliminated.
21. PAUL A. ADAMS - Daytona (Self)
Art. I: Supports the legalization of the medical use of marijuana for certified patients.
22. LARRY DAVIS - Daytona (Self)
Art. I: Supports the medical use of marijuana
23. ROBERT BLUME - Daytona (Self)
Art. I, s. 15: Proposes the following changes with regard to the death penalty: No execution of children, or of older persons who were children at the time of the crime. No execution of mentally deficient or emotionally disturbed persons. Judges should not be empowered to override a juryís decision to impose life in prison instead of death.
Art. IV, s. 8: The governor alone should decide clemency without a vote of the cabinet.
24. JIM MILHON - DeLand (Self)
Art. III, s. 16: Supports the recommendations of Common Cause regarding reapportionment, including the establishment of an independent reapportionment commission. Favors creation of a permanently bi-partisan approach, using sensible standards not favoring any incumbent, political party or candidate, following municipal boundaries and compactness.
25. ELLEN MILLER - Melbourne (Self)
Art. I, s. 2: The current wrongful death act must be repealed.
26. GEORGE LINLEY - Palm Beach Gardens (Rinker Materials Corp.)
Art. X, s. 4: Reform the bankruptcy laws. Florida is a debtorís haven. Place a reasonable limit on the exemption from forced sale.
27. MILLIE F. ARMSTRONG - Daytona Beach (Self)
The water and beaches were given to the State of Florida for the people. Approaches to the beach are being closed off. Environmentalists are trying to prevent people from having access to the beach. Build a turtle hatchery.
28. BETTY BECKER - Daytona (Florida Retired Educators Association)
Art. X, s. 17: Ensure the protection of the state retirement fund and that it is not used for other than retirement benefits and administrative costs.
29. EILEEN OLSON - Jacksonville (Grandparents United for Childrenís Rights)
Art. I, s. 2: Include children under the age of 18 as those protected by the constitution. Children should have the right to be free from abuse and neglect. The primary goal of reuniting the family is not always best.
30. LILLIAN GIOSA - St. Augustine (Self)
Art. I: Children should have the right to counsel. Children should have a voice.
31. RANDALL C. MORRIS - Lake Mary (Seminole County Commission)
Art. I, s. 5: Add the following: "The right to instruct representatives shall include, but not be limited to, the right of the people to contact and instruct their local government public officials without being constrained with regard to ex parte communications considerations; provided, however, that this provision shall not eliminate any provision of law now in effect or which becomes effective in the future relative to ethics in government." It is important for local officials to be able to talk to their representatives. In zoning-type matters and other quasi-judicial proceedings, the rules of procedure now require the application of ex parte communications rule.
32. BUDSY KIRCHMAN - Titusville (Self)
Presented written material to support her discussion the previous day in Orlando.
33. MEG JOHNSON - DeLand (Volusia County land Acquisition Committee)
Art. XII, s. 9: Add the following: "Those lands purchased for conservation remain as conservation lands in perpetuity." The powers of water management districts have been eroded. Supports keeping our water bodies clean.
34. DONALD M. SULLIVAN - Deltona (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: We protect turtle eggs, but not human eggs or fetuses. Please add a provision to give this needed protection.
35. GLENN DeJONG - Merritt Island (Self)
Art. V, s. 10: All judges should be elected. Ensure there is not special interest funding of judicial elections by attorneys. Judicial candidates should not be able to hide behind the canons to avoid discussing the issues.
Art. I: There is nothing in the constitution on families. The family is a foundational institution of our society and our culture. Strengthen marriages. Marriage should be defined as one man/one woman. Define marriage as a binding contract that cannot be violated without penalty. No fault divorce results in carnage to the children.
Art. I, s. 23: Parents are responsible for minor children and have the right to be involved in all decisions, including educational and medical.
36. SHERRY DeJONG - Merritt Island (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: Life begins at conception. Abortion is murder and it must be stopped. Recognize the life of these children.
37. IDA TAYLOR - Daytona (Self)
Art. I, s. 2: Seek Godís wisdom. Recognize the right to life. Recognize and protect life from conception through natural death.
37. IDA TAYLOR - Daytona (Self) (continued from page 6)
Art. I: The Supreme Court has left open the issue of physician-assisted suicide by suggesting the legislature has the authority to determine the law. Prohibit physician-assisted suicide in the constitution.
38. DR. STEVEN WHITE - Ormond Beach (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: Requests the Commission promote and defend the basic issues of life and liberty for all persons from conception until natural death.
39. MARILYN GAMMON - Daytona (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: All life should be protected.
40. MICHELLE OLINGER - Daytona (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: Turtle embryos are protected by law, but human embryos are not. It is safer to be a reptile in Florida than to be a little child waiting to be born. Abolish abortion.
41. MICHAEL W. YOUKON - Edgewater (East Volusia County Right to Life)
Art. I, s. 23: Courts have interpreted this to annul the will of the people; that is, to invalidate the parental consent law, and the womenís right-to-know. This section should be repealed, or amended to allow for parental consent, or to exclude abortion issues, or to be construed in conformance with the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on privacy. In response to a question, Mr. Youkon would support including a provision in this section that the right to privacy does not extend to minors; however, he believed this would not fully address many of the issues he raised.
42. MICHAEL JOHNSON - Orlando (Central Floridians Against Censorship)
Art I, s. 23: Proposes that the following be added: "No local or state government, commission, agency or any other government associated entities shall infringe on the privacy rights of citizens or on the privacy rights of groups of citizens to read, see, perform or entertain themselves as they see fit.
"Citizens of the State of Florida shall be allowed to remain free from government intrusion into their private lives and private gatherings. This includes gatherings of citizens who pay membership fees to belong to private clubs. Government entities shall not enact any local ordinances, rules, or regulations which infringe on the freedom of expression by citizens or groups of citizens in this state. Such governments shall not intrude into the lifestyle of citizens in this state.
42. MICHAEL JOHNSON - Orlando (Central Floridians Against Censorship)(contíd from p.7)
"Any violator of this section shall be removed from office by the governor of the state; by election recall by the voters of entities repeated by the government official and then appointed employees and by criminal sanctions as legislated."
43. BILLIE COURSEN - Daytona (AFA)
Art. I, s. 23: Opposes abortion.
44. DAVID HARTGROVE - Daytona Beach (Self)
Art. X: Add a provision as follows: Launches of payloads or space craft containing plutonium in any form will be prohibited from anywhere within the geographical boundaries of the State of Florida and its territorial waters.
45. GLENN PINFIELD - Melbourne (Self)
Add a provision that the constitution applies to all counties in the State of Florida, including Brevard County.
Art. X, s. 13: Abolish the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Officials are not held accountable.
Art. I, s. : Pass the fully-informed jury amendment. This proposal gives the jury the right to judge bad law.
The war on drugs has made building prisons a primary growth industry.
46. LARRY O. REID - Melbourne (Self)
Art. I: Abolish prosecution for victimless crimes. The basis for the constitution should be giving people their individual rights - a person should be able to choose to take drugs, obtain physician-assisted suicide.
Art. II: Place a percentage on the proportion of law enforcement officers to the population
Art. I, s.22 : Supports the fully-informed jury proposal. Judges canít continue to lie to juries and tell them they have to follow the law.
47. CAROL A. SIMARD - Melbourne (Self)
Art. I, s. 9: Supports the proposal of the Constitution Liberty Coalition regarding forfeitures. Forfeiture laws have gotten out of hand. People are having to expend substantial funds to recover their property even though they have not been convicted of a crime. It is a blatant disregard of private property rights.
48. BONNIE WILLIAMS - Lake Mary (Common Cause)
Art. III, s. 16: Supports an independent redistricting commission.
Art. V, s. 10: Supports the merit selection and retention of all judges.
Art. I, s. 24: Opposes any efforts to weaken this section
48. BONNIE WILLIAMS - Lake Mary (Common Cause) (contíd from p. 8)
Art. II, s. 8: The Ethics Commission should have the power to initiative investigations, and to enforce penalties against state legislators.
Art. VI: Supports changes to prohibit any undue burdens from being placed on the political participation of voters and candidates who are independent or who belong to minor parties.
Art. VI: All candidates should be listed on the ballot whether they are challenged or not.
Art. XI, s.3: Favors statutory initiative. (Speaking on own behalf)
49. JOHN T. GELTEMEYER - Daytona (Self)
Art. I, s. 5: Florida has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country. Supports the proposal of the Constitution Liberty Coalition, particularly the one regarding ballot access.
50. ROSS NORDEEN- Merritt Island (Self)
Art. I, s. 5: Supports the Constitution Liberty Coalition proposal regarding ballot access. Uncontested seats are too common in Florida. Citizens should be able to vote against candidates.
51. MICHAEL EDWARD KEITH - Orange City (Self)
Art. VI: Ballots should be by hand so that they can be counted and recounted accurately.
Art. I, s. 22: Supports the fully informed jury proposal.
Art. V, s. 10: Supports the election of all judges
Art. XI, s. 2: Concerned with the fairness of this Commission in doing its job.
52. DICK GRAHAM - (West Volusia Hospital District)
Art. X, s. 13: Opposes abolishing sovereign immunity. This district has a $10 million judgment against it. With interest, there was a claim bill filed for $11.5 million. There was not this much money in the district; the authority would have gone into bankruptcy. The claim bill process allowed for a more creative solution, setting up a trust which allowed for the claimant to be eligible for Medicaid. Some smaller entities cannot absorb large claims.
53. JOHN A. OUTTERSON - DeLand (Self)
Art. I, s. 21: Add a provision, as suggested by the 5th District Court of Appeal, that would specifically include injuries caused by the misfeasance or malfeasance of public officials within the "any injury" provision of this section which ensures that the courts shall be open to every person for redress of any injury. Current law precludes a taxpayer from bringing suit solely because the tax burden suffered by all taxpayers increased; the taxpayer must show that he is uniquely situated, or raise a constitutional challenge. This has been interpreted by the Florida Supreme Court to disallow suits based solely on the
53. JOHN A. OUTTERSON - DeLand (Self) (contíd from p. 9)
illegal conduct of the taxing officials. The 5th DCA termed this a wrong without a remedy.
Art. V, s. 11: Donít let the Florida Bar appoint any judges.
54. SARAH JANE BUSH - Daytona Beach (Environment)
Art. X, s. 16: Supports the net ban. Wants to eliminate or limit nets. Do not remove the amendment from the constitution.
55. SCOTT GREEN - Osteen - (Self)
Art. X, s. 16: Has scientific evidence regarding positive results of net ban.
Art. XI, s. 3: Initiative process provided the opportunity to support the net ban.
56. J. C. HAWKINS - Goldenrod (Self)
Art. I, s. 5: Supports the initiative entitled Equal Rights for Ballot Access. This initiative prohibits discrimination based on religious beliefs, racial composition, or size; provides for legislative power to require allegiance to country and state; requires equal treatment for filing deadlines, petition requirements, or convention/primary status. 42 states use some form of open primary or open caucus. 22 states use some form of closed primary or closed caucus.
Art. III, s. 16: Supports an independent reapportionment commission.
Supports the twelve proposals of the Constitution Liberty Coalition
57. LANE NEILSON - Orlando (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Donít take away the right to have citizens initiatives.
58. FORREST DUNBAR - Dayton Beach (Self)
Art. VII: Urges the Commission to explore fundamental reform of Floridaís hodgepodge tax and fee structure, and offer the voters options for a more equitable and adequate source of state and local revenue.
Art. XI, s. 3: Urges the Commission to give special attention to the abuse of the referendum process by special interests. Petitions that restrict changes in state and local taxes lock us into a regressive situation, with a heavy toll on low income families and a light burden on the wealthy. These restrictions make it more difficult to raise expenditures for children, education, the disadvantaged, highways, prisons and other high priority outlays.
59. DAVID BIDDULPH - New Smyrna Beach (Tax Cap Committee)
Art. VII: Proposes that the Commission place the initiative for Voter Approval Required for New Taxes on the ballot.
Art. X, s. : Urges the Commission to place the Property Rights initiative on the ballot.
60. RAY OLINGER - Palm Bay (Self)
Art. VII: Governmental entities that have the power to tax should be elected. There should not be special taxing districts that are appointed.
Art. I: Recommends defining human life as beginning at conception.
61. DR. ALVIN SMITH - Ormond Beach (Florida Medical Association)
Encourages the Commission to seek advice of others than lawyers and judges. Seek the counsel of those in science, medicine, public health, etc. Appoint technical advisory panels.
62. JANEY THOMAS - Fernandina Beach
Art IV, s. 9: Opposes unification of the Marine Fisheries Commission and the Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission. Leave the process in place for the Governor and Cabinet to have the final say on fisheries issues. If it should be combined, combine it so that it operates like the Marine Fisheries Commission, not like the Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission.
THE FOLLOWING DID NOT SPEAK BUT LEFT WRITTEN COMMENTS:
LYNN LEMPEL - Daytona Beach (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Establish a statutory initiative; consider requiring a supermajority vote for initiatives; at the least, create a screening process so that only constitutional issues can be placed in the constitution.
C. A. DILLMAN - Orange City (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: Do not propose any changes that would make legal abortions more difficult to obtain for adults or teenagers.
Art. II, s. 7: Supports proposals of the Florida Audubon Society
Art. VII: A state income tax is the fairest way of obtaining necessary funds for schools, infrastructure, law enforcement and public health and safety.
DAVID MEYERS - Daytona Beach (BOMA/Florida)
Art. VII, s. 9: Taxpayers should have the right to vote on special assessments. They are being improperly used for local government operations. Among other things, this subverts the 10-mill cap. There are no caps on special assessments; special assessments are at the whim of elected officials without regard to proeprty value; there is no appear process for special assessments as there are for ad valorem taxes; voter approval is not required.
NANCY REGETS - St. Augustine (Self)
Art. XI, s. 3: Opposes any change to initiative petitions. The citizens initiative process is the only effective tool left for the people to use against the tyranny of the court, the legislature and the governor and cabinet. Ms. Regets objects to ever increasing taxes.
THE FOLLOWING SUBMITTED APPEARANCE CARDS BUT DID NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK:
Barbara Samler (Yielded her time; indicated support to speakers 16-19.)
James W. Armstrong
Gordon Williamson - Holly Hill
Bud Feathes - DeLand
John V. Pinney - Ormond Beach
Christopher Scalf - Port Orange