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CRC hearings provide opportunity for voter involvement

March 2, 2018
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

From among the 782 public proposals, from among the 103 winnowed down by committee, 37 proposed changes to Florida's constitution remain on the table - and we, the people, have an opportunity to impact which will make it to the General Election ballot in November.

The Constitution Revision Commission, a 37-member panel appointed from across the state to examine the 12 Articles of the Florida Constitution as well as administrative and technical matters, will hold a public hearing at The Westin here in Cape Coral on Monday, March 5, from 1 to 7 p.m. The formal citizen input session will be the fifth of six such hearings as part of the CRC's 2018 "Road to the Ballot" public hearing tour.

Proposed amendments in the final phase of consideration run the gamut - everything from a ban on offshore drilling and a residents' bill of rights to a prohibition on wagering on greyhound racing and death benefits for survivors of first responders and military members.

Among the high-interest initiatives is controversial amendment that would close the so-called primary loophole. Currently, primaries are open in Florida if the candidate slate is limited to one party. A write-in candidate on the General Election ballot, however, closes the primary. Critics say this violates the spirit of the open-primary provision, shutting out independent and minority party voters through the use of shill candidates who often do not even campaign.

The CRC has met three times - once every 20 years - since its inception in 1977-78. This go-around's "Road to the Ballot" public hearings are drawing good crowds. The last one, held in Pensacola on Tuesday, drew more than 300 attendees with 140-plus sharing their views with the attending CRC commissioners.

We are pleased to see Floridians participating and we urge those with an interest to take part in the process, which began last year and is now drawing to a close. The CRC has until May 10 to complete its work with its final report then due to the Secretary of State.

Monday's meeting here in the Cape is a good opportunity to be heard.

Those intending to speak will need to fill out an appearance form. You can get one online at and bring it with you or you can pick one up at the hearing venue. Speakers then will be called in the order in which the forms were handed to commission staffers who will begin to accept them at noon.

If you can't attend, you can still provide input at , via email to , by calling (850) 717-9550 or by mailing your comments to the Constitution Revision Commission, The Capitol, 400 S. Monroe St., Tallahassee, FL 32399

Florida is the only state in the U.S. that offers its residents this type of opportunity for input in advance of the ballot.

We look forward to the final Constitution Revision Commission report. It will be interesting to both see how the process worked and vet the amendments that make it to the ballot.

-Breeze editorial



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