constitutional amendments

I’m In a clear repudiation of the Constitutional Revision Commission’s (CRC) final work product, a group of prominent Republicans is urging voters to reject every proposed amendment the CRC placed on the November ballot. Two former lieutenant governors joined former state and federal lawmakers to announce they will work to defeat eight ballot measures not based on the specific issues placed in the amendments but the process the CRC used to place them before the voters. “They lost their way. From the outset they didn’t understand their fidelity was owed to the Constitution,” said former Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp. “The CRC was never designed to be a process of wholesale change.”

Kottkamp points out that most of the eight amendments the CRC placed on the ballot were issues that came before the state legislature and were unsuccessful. Kottkamp says the CRC is not a “super legislature.”

The group’s effort called Save My Constitution plans to appeal directly to voters through personal appearances plus TV and print ads.

Part of the Republican group’s complaint is that the Constitutional Revision Commission bundled separate issues into one amendment, a process called “logrolling.”

“We’re not looking at any single issue,” said Jim Kallinger, a former state House member from Central Florida. “We’re saying vote ‘no’ on everything, because we feel they were conceived in a deceptive way. We’re going to address the process.”

Two of the amendments — banning wagered greyhound racing, and enhancing charter schools — have been removed from the ballot by circuit judges. The Florida Supreme Court will decide the fate of those two proposals.

The other six amendments include:

  • Amendment 6 — which seeks to expand the rights of crime victims and raise the mandatory retirement age of judges.
  • Amendment 7 — deals with governance of the state-college system and death benefits for survivors of first responders and military members.
  • Amendment 9 — bans both offshore oil drilling and vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes in workplaces.
  • Amendment 10 — changes the start dates of legislative sessions and requires charter county governments to have elected constitutional officers.
  • Amendment 11 — removes constitutional language that prohibits “aliens ineligible for citizenship” from owning property and revises language to make clear that the repeal of criminal statutes does not affect the prosecution of crimes committed before the repeal.
  • Amendment 12 — calls for setting new ethics standards for public officials and imposing a six-year lobbying ban on state elected officials, state agency heads and local elected officials.

“Because the CRC has been deceptive and their proposals are indeed defective, we must tell the people of Florida that in order to be safe, it is best that we vote no on all of those amendments,” said Ken Littlefield, a former state lawmaker who represented Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

In addition to Kottkamp, Kallinger and Littlefield, the group of former Republicans elected officials includes:

Former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll
Former Congresswoman Sandy Adams
Former Congressman Connie Mack
Former House Speaker Pro Tempore Lindsay Harrington
Former State Representative Don Brown
Former State Representative Carl Domino
Former State Representative Rich Glorioso
Former State Representative Stan Jordan
Former State Representative Bev Kilmer
Former State Representative Sheri McInvale
Former State Representative Ralph Poppell
Former State Representative Steve Precourt
Former State Representative John Quinones

The CRC meets every 20-years to consider changes to Florida’s Constitution. The 37-member panel is named by the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker and Chief Judge of the Florida Supreme Court.

David Bishop is a native Floridian, husband and father. During his 30 year career, David has been a journalist, political operative and communications consultant.