Sunshine State News Op-Ed by Barney Bishop
July 24, 2017
Every 20 years the Florida Constitution requires the appointment of a Constitution Revision Commission.
The 37-member commission is comprised of appointees by the Senate president and House speaker, with the majority of appointees by the governor.
All the appointments have already been made and they’ve already begun holding town hall meetings around the state to hear from interested individuals who want to offer suggestions.
Though I couldn’t give any remarks to the CRC, I do have two suggestions for them to consider.
The first is that our state Constitution is too overloaded with amendments that don’t really belong in our most sacred governing document.
Therefore, I would recommend that some amendments be removed and put into statute.
I know my suggestions will cause much ruckus, but as a conservative Democrat, I believe that the pregnant pigs, Amendment 1 on the environment, and Amendment 2 on medical marijuana, at the very least, should be stricken from the document and instead be put into state law.
Before, everyone goes bonkers, the advantage for the proponents of these amendments would be that you could change the law more easily and cheaply into what you wanted or meant it to be in the first place. But, of course, that only works for Amendments 1 and 2, whose proponents want to say after-the-fact what they really meant, but didn’t put it into words succinctly enough.
My second suggestion is in two parts.
First, our state Constitution should only be for changes to the structure of government, and perhaps taxation. That way, our Constitution doesn’t end up being muddied with populist causes that can’t seem to make their way through the halls of the Legislature.
The second part is that voters should be allowed to enact “statutory revision.”
Let’s face it, whether we like it or not — and I don’t — some voters want to make changes in the way Florida regulates or governs itself.
Voters have only one real option now and that through Constitutional amendments, which in my humble opinion, has led us to the problems we’re having now, with loading up our Constitution with populist ideas.
Statutory revision should be designed to be the go-to, preferred method for changing Florida’s rules and regulations.
It could work like this: voters could start a petition effort, collect signatures and put a statutory revision on the ballot, and if it passes, then it goes into state law. [READ MORE]
Barney Bishop III, is a lobbyist in Tallahassee since 1979, and is the Immediate Past President & CEO of Associated Industries of Florida, and a frequent contributor to Sunshine State News.