Florida has five different pathways to amend the state constitution – more than any other state. Among these, and unique to Florida, is the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). Established in Article XI, Section 2 of the Florida Constitution, the CRC convenes every 20 years and is charged with the task of reviewing the constitution and recommending revisions for consideration by voters in the next General Election. The CRC is comprised of 37 members including the Florida Attorney General and individuals appointed by the Governor (15 members), Speaker of the House (9 members), President of the Senate (9 members), and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court (3 members). In recent weeks, the Governor, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate, and Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court have named their respective appointees to serve on the CRC (click HERE for a list and brief bios of the CRC members). The CRC will begin their work on Monday, March 20, when the members will be sworn into office, review the rules of the commission, and receive an ethics briefing. The CRC will continue their work through May 10, 2018 when any recommended revisions must be filed for placement on the 2018 General Election ballot. It is important to note that, when the last Constitution Revision Commission met in 1997-1998, some of the recommend constitutional revisions that were recommended and approved by voters had a significant impact on public education, including revisions that substantially elaborated on the constitutional mandate for public education and reorganized the Florida Cabinet as summarized below:
Public Education of Children Declares the education of children to be a fundamental value of the people of Florida, established adequate provision for education as a paramount duty of the state; expands constitutional mandate requiring the state to make adequate provision for a uniform system of free public schools by also requiring the state to make adequate provision for an efficient, safe, secure and high-quality system.
Restructuring the State Cabinet Merges cabinet offices of treasurer and comptroller into one chief financial officer; reduces cabinet membership to chief financial officer, attorney general and agriculture commissioner; secretary of state and education commissioner eliminated from elected cabinet; secretary of state duties defined by law; changes composition of state board of education from governor and cabinet to board appointed by governor; board appoints education commissioner; defines state board of administration, trustees of internal improvement trust fund and land acquisition trust fund.
It is likely that the 2017-2018 Commission will propose similarly important revisions that will impact education. FSBA will be closely monitoring the work of the Constitution Revision Commission and will keep you informed of their progress. In addition, we urge you to reach out to the CRC members to share your thoughts and concerns about their task.
There were only two bills of interest that were considered today – please click below to access information about these bills and the outcome of today’s meetings. There are no committee meetings of interest scheduled for tomorrow – Friday, March 17 – however, in tomorrow’s issue of the Session Spotlight, we will provide the schedule of the meetings of interest that will be held on Monday, March 20, 2017 and provide other updates.
In the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee meeting:
PIE5 – Ethics Reform by Public Integrity & Ethics – AMENDED AND SUBMITTED AS A COMMITTEE BILL
The bill addresses public officer and employment conduct respecting solicitation and negotiation of conflicting and potentially conflicting income producing relationships, addresses post-service lobbying restrictions for certain elected and appointed officials, and revises executive branch lobbyist registration requirements. For the most part, the provisions apply to state-level public officers, but some provisions may apply at the local level. Specifically, the bill:
- Prohibits public officers and employees from soliciting an employment or contractual relationship from entities with whom they may not enter into conflicting employment and contractual relationships;
- Requires officers and employees to report any offer of an employment or contractual relationship from such entities;
- Requires certain disclosures of prohibited solicitations;
- Imposes a 6 year post service ban on personal representation before the Legislature and any executive branch agency applicable to statewide elected officers and members of the Legislature;
- Imposes a 2 year post service ban on personal representation before any state executive branch agency for heads of departments under the Governor, chief administrative officers of agencies headed by the Governor and Cabinet and by certain constitutional bodies unless the former official is employed by another state agency;
- Restricts potentially conflicting employment of statewide elected officers and state legislators:
- Prohibits solicitation of employment or investment advice arising out of official duties;
- Prohibits solicitation and acceptance of investment advice or profitmaking arrangements (other than employment) from lobbyists or lobbyists’ employers or principals;
- Requires disclosure by lobbyists and principals of any prohibited solicitations;
- Requires immediate disclosure of either new employment or an increase in compensation from certain employers;
- Restricts certain unelected state officers and employees regarding soliciting and negotiating an employment or contractual relationship with certain employers;
- Authorizes the Commission on Ethics to investigate disclosures of certain prohibited solicitations in the same manner as a complaint;
- Updates executive branch lobbying registration requirements to mandate electronic registration, clarify provisions and reduce mandatory investigation of audit-identified mistakes in compensation reporting;
- Repeals a statute strictly regulating legislative lobbying by state agency, university and college personnel.
In the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting:
SB 78 – Public School Recess by Flores — PASSED
The bill requires each district school board to provide at least 100 minutes of supervised, safe, and unstructured free-play recess each week for students in kindergarten through grade 5. Such recess must involve at least 20 consecutive minutes of free-play per day. [NOTE: As has been typical when this bill has been considered, discussion and testimony offers support for the bill, but concerns are raised about what elements of the current school day will need to be deleted to accommodate the time that must be devoted to recess. This bill has now passed all of the committees of reference is now ready for consideration by the full Senate. Meanwhile, the House companion bill – HB 67 – has not been yet in any of the three committees of reference.]