Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Still no word on makeup of constitution revision panel

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

With about a week before the start of the 30-day period in which it’s supposed to have its first meeting, the membership of the state’s Constitution Revision Commission is still unknown.

Representatives for Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran Monday said they still have not officially closed their application periods.

“The President is currently accepting applications,” said Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta, who provided the latest list of 81 names already in.

Because of continued interest, Corcoran also is still taking applications, spokesman Fred Piccolo said, after initially extending his deadline to last Friday.

Each man, however, only has nine picks allotted under the state constitution, which allows for a panel to “examine the constitution, hold public hearings and … file its proposal, if any, of a revision of this constitution or any part of it.”

But the first meeting of the commission, mandated to form every 20 years, must occur within the 30 days prior to the first day of the 2017 Legislative Session. It kicks off March 7.

As governor, Rick Scott will choose 15 of the 37 commissioners, and he also selects its chairperson.

The Governor’s Office has posted its applicants online, a who’s who of current and former lawmakers, prominent attorneys, former state officials and others.

“The application is still open,” spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said. “Members can be appointed any time within 30 days of session convening.”

Republican Pam Bondi is automatically a member as Attorney General, and Florida Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga gets three picks. Court spokesman Craig Waters Monday had no news on Labarga’s picks.

The commission has met twice before, in 1977-78 and 1997-98, but this will be the first to be selected by a majority of Republicans, virtually ensuring it will propose more conservative changes to the state’s governing document than previous panels.

Any changes the commission proposes would be in the form of constitutional amendments, which would have to be approved by 60 percent of voters on a statewide ballot.

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.

Latest from Statewide

Go to Top