What is the Constitution Revision Commission and why voters are being asked to get rid of it

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — There are three proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot this November.

Two have to do with property taxes and the other one would abolish the Constitution Revision Commission.


It’s a legislative-style body that meets every two decades to propose changes to the state constitution.

The CRC is made up of 37 appointees selected by the governor, House speaker, senate president and chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

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It’s the only body of its kind in the nation.

Despite its infrequent meeting schedule, Floridians are likely familiar with the CRC’s latest work.

It was the work of the 2017 CRC that put the body on the radar of State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg).

“The CRC was largely taking on a policy role and not a constitutional revision role,” said Brandes.

That year the CRC proposed seven amendments, all of which were approved by voters.

But Brandes was most upset by the bundling of multiple policies into a single yes-or-no ballot proposal.

Some examples from 2018 included military and first responder death benefits coupled with a supermajority vote requirement for college fee increases, a victim’s bill of rights combined with an increase in the judicial retirement age and, most notably, a ban on offshore oil drilling coupled with a ban on indoor vaping.

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Brandes pushed for the amendment appearing on this year’s ballot that would abolish the CRC altogether.

“When you’re putting vaping and offshore oil drilling together, you’ve got a problem,” said Brandes.

Jacksonville attorney Hank Coxe served on the 2017 CRC.

He also disagreed with the bundling but argued the CRC shouldn’t be done away with.

“The only other way to get to that constitution realistically is the legislature, and they don’t want the citizens to have access,” said Coxe.

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Coxe said with the continued crackdown on the citizen initiative process, the CRC provides an invaluable opportunity for citizens to make changes when the legislature fails to act.

“Greyhound racing being the perfect example,” said Coxe.

The CRC put a ban on greyhound racing on the 2018 ballot, and it was approved by voters after years of similar measures stalling in the Florida legislature. Still, Brandes argued the CRC is impractical.

“A process that comes around every 20 years and is largely done with unelected individuals to me is no way to run a state and no way to believe you have any type of voter input,” said Brandes.

Sixty percent voter support will be needed to abolish the CRC.

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If the measure fails to pass, the next CRC will meet in 2037.