TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The state House approved a proposal Wednesday that would ask Florida voters in November to eliminate a powerful panel that placed seven constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot -- all of which passed.
The proposal (HJR 301), which seeks an end to the Constitution Revision Commission, still must go before the Senate, which backed eliminating the commission last year.
House sponsor Brad Drake, R-Eucheeanna, said the commission might have once served a valid purpose, but it had “too much political influence” in its 2018 incarnation.
House members voted 93-25 to support elimination of the commission and 96-23 for a related bill (HB 303).
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat who opposed elimination, said lawmakers should push to reform the commission and eliminate its ability to put multiple-subject amendments before voters. The 2018 commission drew heavy criticism for linking unrelated subjects in constitutional amendments.
“Don’t get rid of the CRC just because they put bad questions on the ballot,” Smith said. “We should be reforming it.”
However, Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, suggested lawmakers take time to create a new commission rather than asking voters to reform the existing body. He said putting “guardrails” in place may be “more trouble than its worth.”
Wednesday’s votes appeared to increase the chances that elimination of the commission will go before voters in November, as the House did not pass a similar measure during the 2019 legislative session.