Letter to CRC Chairman Beruff & Commissioners RE: CRC Rules

June 21, 2017

DELIVERED VIA EMAIL

RE: CRC Rules

Dear Chairman Beruff and Commissioners:
We are encouraged that the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) adopted a rule requiring that all meetings and records of the commission be open to the public. In having adopted that language, we hope that the CRC will follow the requirements of the Florida Constitution and Florida’s applicable Sunshine Law. But we ask that you go a step further and incorporate the applicable laws into your rules.

The Chairman’s original proposed rule would have applied a less stringent definition of open meetings. It would have permitted two Commissioners to meet to discuss Commission business in private without any notice to the public. This is identical to what is done in the Legislature. But the Legislature has its own rules and they do not apply to other governmental bodies.

The CRC falls under a different Constitutional and statutory set of rules, Article I, s. 24(b), Fla. Con., and ss. 286.011 – 286.0114, F.S., the Sunshine Law. Under these laws, all discussions of CRC business between two or more members of the Commission must be open and noticed to the public. Additionally, the public must be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard on any issue coming before the CRC for a vote.

The Constitution Revision Commission has been tasked with a historically important opportunity and its responsibility to the citizens of this state cannot be overstated. The Commission should hold itself to the highest standard of openness, allowing Floridians to oversee the work of the Commission and hold it accountable for its actions. We expect no less from a collegial body of such importance to the future of our state.

To that end, we request the CRC to amend its newly adopted Rule 1.23 to comport with the “Martinez amendment” which was offered in advance of the June 6 meeting but never considered. It provides specificity and clarity as to the open government laws applicable to the CRC and the standard under which it should operate.

We appreciate your attention to our concerns, Chairman Beruff and Commissioners, and look forward to your action to correct this deficit in the rules you adopted on June 6.

Sincerely,

Howard Simon, Executive Director
Kirk Bailey, Political Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Florida

Andy Madtes, Executive Director
AFSCME Florida

Liza McClenaghan, State Chair
Common Cause Florida

Rich Templin, Ph.D, Legislative & Political Director
Florida AFL-CIO

Laura Goodhue, Executive Director
Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates

Joanne McCall, President
Florida Education Association

Susan McGrath, Executive Director
Florida Consumer Action Network

Barbara A. Petersen, President
Florida First Amendment Foundation

Terry Sanders, President
Florida NOW

Joseph Pennisi, Executive Director
Florida Policy Institute

Charly Norton, Executive Director
Florida Strong

Ashley Walker, Director
For Our Future

Pamela Goodman, President
League of Women Voters Florida

Mark Ferrulo, Executive Director
Progress Florida

Monica Russo, President
SEIU Florida

Contact: Lisa Hall, lisa@hallmediastrategies.com 850-508-7782

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