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Commission could be on Senate chopping block

(Florida Department of State)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A proposal that would eliminate a commission that successfully put seven constitutional amendments on the November ballot is ready for a vote in the Senate.

Without comment, the Senate on Thursday positioned the proposal (SJR 362) for a vote, which could come as soon as Friday.

The proposal would ask voters in 2020 to eliminate the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years.

Lawmakers are unhappy about how the commission last year put seemingly divergent topics into the same ballot questions. They also have expressed concerns that the panel has exceeded the intent of voters, who created the commission in 1968.

The commission’s members last year were largely appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders.

Last month, the Senate unanimously passed a proposal (SJR 74) that seeks to ban the commission from “bundling” multiple topics in single constitutional amendments. As an example, one of last year’s amendments combined a ban on offshore oil drilling and vaping in workplaces.

The Senate is expected to hear a separate proposal (SJR 690) on Friday that would ask voters to limit the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, which also meets every 20 years, to single-subject amendments.

Companion measures in the House to eliminate the Constitution Revision Commission (HJR 249) and to limit amendments to single subjects (HJR 53) await hearings on the floor.