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Florida Bar will oppose legislative “override” proposals

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The Florida Bar‘s governing board has decided to oppose legislation that would allow state lawmakers to override court decisions they don’t like.

The Board of Governors adopted the stance at its Jan. 20 meeting, according to the Bar News on Tuesday. It also disapproved a companion measure aimed at federal judges who interpret state laws.

State Rep. Julio Gonzalez, a Venice Republican, filed the two pieces of legislation (HJR 121HM 125) in December.

Neither has had a hearing in the committee weeks that serve as a run-up to the 2017 Legislative Session that opens March 7.

One would create a constitutional amendment to be approved by voters that allows the Legislature to review judicial rulings that declare legislative acts void.

That means that if “the Supreme Court, (any) district court of appeal, circuit court, or county court” overturns a law, the Legislature could salvage it with a two-thirds vote within five years of the ruling.

The second measure urges Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to “deem a law that has been declared void by certain federal courts active and operational.” Such measures, if passed, are non-binding.

The proposal says the judicial branch has taken “an increasingly activist role aimed at molding legislation according to the political beliefs of its members.”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran has made an overhaul of the judicial branch, including appellate-court term limits, a top priority during the next two years.

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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