Constitutional panel agrees to follow state budget language

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The Constitution Revision Commission met on Wednesday for the first time to to go over their controversial rules while meeting in Tampa.

A rules committee first met before a public hearing, scheduled for tonight, starting with a lengthy discussion kicked off by GOP former state Sen. Don Gaetz.

The 37-member board should abide by budget language pending before Gov. Rick Scott that the commission adopt a budget, and do it with a vote of two-thirds of the board, he said.

It would also require that commission Chair Carlos Beruff receive approval from a majority of the panel before hiring employees.

“I think it’s probably not a first good step to be a half-beat off from what the Legislature has developed,” Gaetz said.

Because the governor hasn’t signed the budget (and in fact could veto it), CRC member Tim Cerio questioned whether it was appropriate to support Gaetz’s motion.

The former Senate President (2012-14) countered that if the governor vetoed the budget, he would come back and strike the language out next month.

The committee also supported a motion from former Senate Democratic Leader Arthenia Joyner of Tampa to have Beruff select a vice chair to fill in for him when he is absent.

Joyner had raised that issue in an interview for the March 23 edition of Sixty Days, Florida Politics’ email that comes out during legislative sessions.

“I’m concerned about the fact that we don’t have a vice-chair,” she said. “So there’s no continuity in the event that (Beruff), for some reason, becomes incapacitated and can’t act. That affects how people feel about the integrity of the process if one person is controlling who presides and we don’t have a succession plan if he can’t function.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at