|Meeting Proceedings for July 30, 1997|
GAINESVILLE PUBLIC HEARING
July 30, 1997
PRESENTATIONS WERE MADE BY THE FOLLOWING:
TOM HORKAN, Tallahassee (Florida Catholic Conference)
Article I, s. 23: Recommends using, with regard to this provision, the "conformity" model used in Article I, s. 12, which bars the Florida coruts from construing this provision more liberally than it is construed by the U. S. Supreme Court. That is, Article I, s. 12 provides that "This right shall be construed in conformity with the 4th Amendment to the United States constitution, as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court. Articles or information obtained in violation of this right shall not be admissible in evidence if such articles or information would be inadmissible under decisions of the United States Supreme Court construing the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution." A similar provision should be added to Article I, s. 23 requiring that it be construed in conformity with decisions of the United States Supreme Court concerning privacy rights.
CHARLENE CARRES, Tallahassee (Self)
Article I: Recommends leaving it alone for the most part. Might consider adding to Article I, s. 2, "gender" and "sexual orientation" as characteristics that should be protected against discrimination. Consider that Article I, s. 3 could be a stumbling block to allowing vouchers for parochial schools.
ROD SMITH, Gainesville (State Attorney, 8th Circuit)
Article X, s. 4: Homestead should not be protected from forfeiture if it was purchased with drug money or if the property is used to further drug activity. The Tramel v. Stewart case, decided by the Florida Supreme Court on June 19, 1997 holds otherwise. An amendment should be considered that would exempt homestead protection if the property is sustained by unlawful activity, if the property is part of an ongoing illegal activity, or if the property was secured or purchased by moneys that were obtained unlawfully or illegally.
Article V: On balance, election of trial judges is best. Recommends retaining current system.
Article XI, s. 3: The Constitution should deal with immutable principles, not with legislative matters. Look at modifying the initiative process by including time delays, or raising the threshold requirements.
DR. PEGGY JAMES, Gainesville (Self)
Article I, s. 23: Supports parental consent for abortion with a bypass provision for a child who cannot go to a parent. Treatment must be based upon objective and subjective information. A parent or legal guardian is the best source for subjective information. Consent is required if a minor presents for complications related to abortion. Abortion should not be distinct from other medical procedures.
LAURA HEAD KNUDSON, Gainesville (Planned Parenthood of N. Central Florida)
Article I, s. 23: Requests that Commission not change this provision. The vast majority of minors do consult their parents. Unfortunately, some cannot for fear of physical or emotional harm.
DELORES STAFFORD, Starke (Self)
Article I, s. 21: A person should not be denied the right to trial because of age. Ms. Staffordís parent died, but because she is over 25 she was precluded from suing for damages.
CHARLES JACKS, Gainesville (Self)
Article I, s. 3: Against prayer in school. It creates a greater evil than good. Schools should not be the venue for conflict.
JOSEPH V. SIRY, Maitland (Self)
Article II, s. 7: Recommends additions to the Environmental Bill of Rights, including (1) protecting the physical, chemical and biological wealth of Floridaís public lands, (2) protecting the public trust in wildlife and fisheries, (3) protecting the right of public access to state sovereign tidelands, (4) a fresh water resources protection, and (5) protecting the right to clean air and water, freedom from excessive and unnecessary noise, and recreational, scenic, historic and esthetic qualifies of nature as part of a healthy environment.
JUDY HANCOCK, Lake City (Self)
Article XII, s. 9,fn1: Extend bonding authority for acquisition of conservation and recreation lands in perpetuity. Establish a permanent source of funding for acquisition and restoration of these lands. Include a provision that lands purchased under this program are protected in perpetuity. Alienation of these lands should required unanimous approved of the Governor and Cabinet.
Article IV, s. 4: Continue the cabinet system. Provides a good system of checks and balances.
Article IV: Supports unification of fish and wildlife management into a single agency.
LEVEDA BROWN, Gainesville (Alachua County Commissioner)
Article V: The cost to the counties of running the state court system is a significant problem throughout the state. If a county refuses to prosecute a serious and expensive case because it does not have the funds to prosecute, this is cash register justice.
Article VII: Some counties have an inordinate amount of exempt property. Consider the possibility for greater equity for these counties.
GABE KAIMOWITZ, Gainesville (Attorneys Against American Apartheid)
Article I: Supports a provision that would declare that the vestiges of racism no longer will be supported by public funds or designation for housing, historic districts, enterprise zones, or any similar enterprise whose past land use can be shown to have disadvantaged blacks historically.
PHIL LEARY, Gainesville (Florida Farm Bureau Federation)
Article VII: Supports constitutional amendment that would prohibit taxing food and medicine.
Article VII: Supports a provision prohibiting any tax or fee on self-supplied water users.
Article VII: Opposes any amendment that would establish a constitutional state land acquisition fund or program.
CYNTHIA MOORE CHESTNUT, Gainesville (State Representative)
Article IX, s. 1: Supports upholding and maintaining Article IX, s. 1. Opposes vouchers allowing for the taking of public school dollars to pay for private school choice.
KEVIN APLIN, Gainesville (Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana)
Article XI, s. 3: Recommends statutory initiative instead of constitutional initiative.
Article I: Advocates allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
MICHAEL GEISON, LaCrosse (Florida Legalization Organization)
Article I: Supports an amendment to allow for possession, cultivation and transfer of marijuana for private purposes in small amounts for personal use.
NEAL BALANOFF, Gainesville (Self and Common Cause)
Article III, s. 16: Supports an independent redistricting commission.
JON ASFOUR, Gainesville (Self)
Article VI: Proposes there be a separation between the government and political factions just like there is a separation between government and religion.
Article VI: Any political party that has been in continuous national existence for twenty years and has run presidential candidates in at least four of the previous five presidential elections, shall have statewide ballot access.
Article VI: All candidates for public office shall be treated equally. No qualified candidate shall have ballot access restrictions based upon affiliation with a political party or faction or upon the size of a political party or faction. All elections shall be non-partisan.
BARBARA HERBSTMAN, Gainesville (Self)
Article VII: Supports a state income tax. We need it to solve our problems, which we will never do with the sales tax. Repeal intangible and sales tax; give counties the option to pass a sales tax.
COLONEL HENRY SWANN, St. Augustine (Staff Judge Advocate, Florida National Guard)
Article I, s. 18: Should be amended to read: No administrative agency except the Department of Military Affairs in an appropriately convened Court-Martial action, shall impose a sentence of imprisonment, nor shall it impose any other penalty except as provided by law.
Article X, ss. 2(b)and (d): Should be amended to read: (b) The organizing, equipping, housing, maintaining, disciplining, including incarceration pursuant to Court-Martial actions, of the militia, and the safekeeping of public arms may be provided for by law.
(d) The qualifications of personnel and officers of the federally recognized national guard, including the adjutant general, and the grounds and proceedings for their discipline, including incarceration pursuant to a valid Court-Martial proceeding, and removal shall conform to the appropriate United States army or air force regulations and usages.
The First District Court of Appeal, in dicta, has suggested that statutory authority for the imposition of imprisonment by the Guard may be unconstitutional, construing the National Guard as a state agency.
ANITA BROWN, Orlando (Families Against Wrongful Death)
Article I: Prohibit age discrimination.
Article I, s. 2: Should read: All natural persons are equal before the law and have inalienable rights.... No person shall be deprived of any right because of race, religion, age or physical handicap.
Article I, s. 21: Should read: The courts shall be open to every person for redress of any injury, without regard to the age of the litigants, and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay.
Article I, s. 22: Should read: The right of trial by jury shall be secure to all and remain inviolate without regard to the age of the litigants....
RANDY HARRIS, Ocala (Marion County Commissioner, appearing on behalf of Self)
Article V: Supreme Court justices should be elected from 7 districts.
Article IV: Supports the cabinet system as it is
Article I, s. 23: Supports parental consent for minors obtaining an abortion.
Article X: Clarify federal land and water body designations. Governor and Cabinet currently are trustees of these lands. Look at incorporating the Legislature in this. Can have a significant impact on private property rights.
MARION ROCHE, Ocala (Florida Retired Educators Association)
Article X, s. 14: Supports the proposal to protect the state retirement fund.
ROB GRISCTI, Gainesville (Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers)
Article I: Generally supports leaving it as it is.
Article I, s. 12: Recommends rescinding the 1982 "conforming" amending, which ties search and seizure interpretations to the construction given by the U. S. Supreme Court. This surrendered our state liberty to Washington, and it is inconsistent with Article I, s. 23.
Article X, s. 4: Look closely before making changes to this in response to the recent case on forfeiture of homestead.
JAMES NICHOLAS, Gainesville (Self)
Article IX, s. 1: The requirement for providing an adequate system of public schools should include the physical plant within its purview. We are not spending an adequate amount to keep up the school system. Rewrite to say: Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform system of free public schools and educational facilities, and for the establishment, maintenance and operation....
MARGARET JOYNER, Gainesville (Self)
Article VII: Tax policy an example of self-interest. With regard to homestead tax exemption, those who receive the most benefit, are those who in turn pay little or no state taxes. The homestead exemption should be rethought.
Article IX: The school system is failing the children. Phase in a provision that the state must spend per child, no less than 25% of the amount spent on prisoners.
HOYT H. PLUMLEY, JR., Gainesville (Self)
Article III, s. 16: Support independent commission to redistrict. Members should be required to sign a pledge not to run for office.
RENATE M. CANNON, Chiefland (Self)
Article XI, s. 3: The ballot initiative works well for the most part. Donít do away with it.
Article I, s. 15: Repeal the death penalty; replace it with imprisonment without parole.
MICHAEL D. GARSON, Newberry (Self)
Article VII, s. 6: Modify the homestead exemption so that everybody pays on the first $25,000, with the second $25,000 being exempt. This would provide that everybody would contribute something toward the cost of government. This would mean an increase of $5 million just in Alachua County for county, municipalities and schools.
MILDRED H. PAPE, Plant City (Self)
Article VI: Suggests solving some problems encountered with contested elections, recounts, etc., by borrowing a provision placed in the Illinois Constitution. That constitution now provides for a central election authority - the State Board of Elections. "A State Board of Elections shall have general supervision over the administration of the registration and election laws throughout the state. The General Assembly shall determine the size, manner of selection, and composition of the Board. No political party shall have a majority of members on the Board." This has existed more than 20 years and works well.
GUILLERMO MALLO, Archer (Self)
Article I, s. 15: Abolish the death penalty
Article I: Proposes the right to be free from conviction of victimless crimes.
Article VII: Supports a provision that the cost of the justice system may not exceed 5% of the total budget.
Article I: Proposes that the composition of the jailed populations by race and national origin cannot be significantly different from the composition of the general population.
Article III: There should be proportional representation for the Florida Legislature.
Article I: A state public medical service must be provided free of charge without means testing.
Article I: Provide breakfast and lunch to public school students free of charge without means testing.
Article I: Prohibit the sale of personal data on individuals from data bases without written consent of the concerned individual.
Article III: Each year at election time, there shall be a statewide referendum of all laws passed by the state legislature for that period.
JOE LITTLE, Gainesville (Self and Attorneys Bar Association of Florida, Inc.)
There are only two purposes for constitutions: (1) organize government; and (2) limit government.
Article I, s. 21: Revert to 1885 language
Article I, s. 27: Proposes addition of a Freedom of Conscience Amendment to state: No person shall be directly compelled to support or endorse any cause, charity, purpose, or organization, financially or otherwise, or indirectly to do so as a condition upon the receipt of a public benefit or the exercise of a public privilege or right, except in the payment of taxes enacted pursuant to general law or as a penalty imposed by a court for the commission of a crime.
Article I, s. 23: Leave it alone
Article I, s. 25: Take this out, unless you can come up with some meat to add to it. (Requires the legislature to adopt a Taxpayers Bill of Rights).
Article III, s. 19: Needs to be rewritten. Statute in guise of constitution.
Article IV, s. 6: Repeal. Let each elected cabinet officer stand as head of a particular department and otherwise function only in a quasi-adjudicatory role sitting with the governor, as opposed to being a part of the administration of the executive branch.
Article IV, s. 9: Unelected Game Commission should be made subject to the control of the legislature.
Article V: Constitution imposes legislative, executive and judicial power in one unelected body, the Supreme Court. It is a tyranny. Recommends an amendment: Justices of the supreme court and all judges should be elected in popular elections from single member districts for a single term of 8 years with no succeeding terms.
Article XI, s. 3: Should have the right to initiate statutes by petition and referendum. Recommends that this should be properly placed in Article VI.
Article VII, s. 10: Supreme Court has eviscerated the protections intended.
Article VIII: 1968 changes turned out poorly.
Article XI: All for statutory initiative. Limit constitutional initiative to organization of government and limiting government.
Article XI, s. 2: Method of selection of Constitution Revision Commission is not good. Should be elected.
BRIAN LYONS, Gainesville (Self)
Article IX: Favors educational vouchers; school choice.
DAVID OWENS, McIntosh (Self)
Article VI: Ballot access laws are unfair. If you run as a Democrat or Republican, you can petition for ballot placement with signatures of 3% of the number voting of that party in the last election. Independents and those of minor parties must obtain 3% of all who voted in the last election. A portion of Republican and Democrat filing fees are refunded to the party, but independents and those in minor parties donít get any funds back. This amounts to a poll tax.
DAVE HENNIG, Micanopy (Self)
Article I, s. 6: The right to work provision should be expanded to include farm workers.
JEFF DOLLINGER, Gainesville (Self)
Article X, s. 4: Suggests only a few minor changes. Donít cap the equity in a homestead. Donít do away with unlimited homestead exemption. There are so many intertwined laws on such matters as probate, tenancy by the entireties, etc. that changes must be thoroughly considered. If there are changes, consider implementation and whether changes should affect current homesteads. Supports exempting child support and alimony from the protections of this section, to read: There shall be exempt from forced sale under process of any court, and no judgment, decree or execution shall be a lien thereon, except for the payment of taxes and assessments thereon, the payment of child support and alimony, obligations contracted for the purchase, improvement or repair thereof, or obligations contracted for house, field or other labor performed on the realty, the following property owned by a natural person:....
STEPHEN R. HUMPRHEY, Newberry (Self)
Article II: Establish a Florida Land and Water Conservation Fund, using revenues dedicated from documentary stamps to support long-term debt and pay-as-you-go programs to purchase high-quality state conservation lands, grants to local governments for community based conservation projects, funding environmental restoration projects on public lands, and financing incentives for long-term conservation stewardship of private lands.
Article II: Establish a rigorous and consistent process governing the sale, lease, or use of state conservation lands that will limit their use for purposes other than those for which they were purchased.
W. R. WATTS, Beverly Hills (Self)
Article I, s. 23: Proposes that the right to privacy should not be applicable to minor children. The current state of the law regarding parental consent has undermined the role of parents.
ROBERT KARP, Gainesville (Human Rights Council of N. Central Florida)
Article I, s. 23: The following should be added: No person shall be denied access or opportunity in employment, housing, public services, or accommodations, or the extension of credit on account of matters pertaining to his or her private life.
NICOLE ARFARAS KERR, Orlando (Executive Director, Liberty Counsel)
Article I, s. 3: Relatively recent federal case law has substantially changed interpretations of the free exercise clause of the United Stated Constitution, which is similar to the state provision, so that if a general law is neutrally applied, it is not subject to strict scrutiny and is upheld. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was recently passed by Congress to restore the free exercise clause, was recently held unconstitutional by the U. S. Supreme Court. It is now incumbent on the states to provide protection for religious practice. Urges that the Commission insert into Article I, s. 3, the compelling governmental interest test.
Article I, s. 3: The U. S. Supreme Court has held that services for students in parochial schools, such as services for students with disabilities and at-risk students, may be provided as the service benefits the student, not the school and does not violate the establishment clause. In Article I, s. 3, use of the terms "indirect aid to sectarian institutions" could be used to prevent students in parochial schools from receiving these neutral benefits. Suggests modifying the language to clarify that neutral benefits would not violate this provision.
DAVID S. ANTHONY, Gainesville (Self)
Article X, s. 16: Leave the net ban amendment alone. It would not be here if there was the ability for statutory referenda.
Article IV: Favors unification of the Marine fisheries Commission and the Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission.
TAYRA ANTOLICK, Gainesville (Propria Persona)
Article I, s. 23: Restore the sovereign jurisdiction of parents over their children
Article V: Return to electing supreme court justices for accountability to the people.
Article V: Opposes Florida Bar efforts for all judges to be appointed.
Article III: The people must be informed by public hearing of every statute which will affect their lives, businesses, and freedoms, and that they be put to vote for approval.
Article IV: Each state department, such as Department of Motor Vehicles, be accountable to the people for its actions and requirements, and consider all complaints individually, and not only those made by customers against dealers, but of dealers against customers.
Article VIII: Local government officials must be trained and skilled in jurisdiction as pertaining to building, zoning, code enforcement, etc., with a clear understanding of state, federal, incorporated and unincorporated lands and territories.
Article VIII: County managers be, by law, required to have at least an Associates degree in business and/or accounting.
DANNY MARTIN, Gainesville (Self)
Article X, s. 16: Supports net ban
BILL EDWARDS, Gainesville (President, Friends of Alachua County)
Article II: It shall be a felony to emit or allow emissions of health threatening particulates or noxious gases into the atmosphere.
Article I, s. 6: All Floridians shall have the right to join labor unions and to bargain collectively. It shall be a felony to coerce, intimidate or threaten employees because of their union advocacy or membership.
Article I: Floridians have a right to be paid a wage sufficient to support themselves and their families. Employers engaged in commerce grossing $100,000 or more in revenues per year shall pay employees a minimum wage of $10 per hour, indexed to increase with inflation.
Article I: Strengthen the Florida Workers Compensation law. Injured workers must be guaranteed prompt payment of benefits, and must be provided needed health care and therapy. Those totally and permanently disabled must be provided income based on prior wages and must have necessary health care and lost wages.
LYREL BERDOLL, Marion County (Christian Coalition)
Article V: Divided Florida into 7 districts and elect one Supreme Court justice from each.
Article V: Provide for recall of justices.
Article I, s. 23: Restore the right of parents to make decisions for their children, including, but not limited to, abortions.
PETER AULT, Silver Springs (Self)
Article II: We need to conserve our stateís resources for the future generations.
JOHN LEPKE, Gainesville (Self)
Article IV: Supports changing the elected cabinet system. The control of the executive branch should be concentrated in the governor alone. A second electoral check by election of cabinet members simply confuses and dissipates the responsibility and authority of the governor.
Article I, s. 23: Leave this alone; it is a bulwark for all people in Florida.
Article VII: Delete the prohibition against a state income tax.
Article XI, s. 3: Provide for statutory initiative. The constitution should not be cluttered with implementing legislation.
FREDERICK P. PETERKIN, Gainesville (Self)
Article I, s. 23: Amend to read: Every natural person has the right to be let alone and free from governmental intrusion into his person and private life except as otherwise provided herein.....
Article I, s. 24: Add a provision to require that all public records and documents published on electronic media be encrypted to protect them from being changed by hackers, perhaps by the 128 bit encryption method.
Article V, s. 8: Strike the sentence prohibiting a judge or justice from service after attaining the age of seventy.
Article VI, s. 5: Amend to read: A general election shall be held in each county on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year to choose a successor to each elective state,
Article VI, s. 6: Strike this section regarding municipal and district elections.
MATT OZOLNIEKS, Orlando (Florida Right to Life)
Article I, s. 23: Opposes current interpretation regarding parental rights. Parents deserve the right to intervene on behalf of their children. Children are at the mercy of those who may place financial gain above the health and welfare of the child. Parents can provide a physician with important medical and psychological data.
THE FOLLOWING SUBMITTED APPEARANCE CARDS BUT WAIVED THEIR TIME OR DID NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK:
Jimmy R. Hale, Gainesville (Coastal Conservation Assoc.) Leave net ban alone.Supports initiatives.
Mr. Mahon, Gainesville (Self)
Joey Landreneau, Gainesville (Coastal Conservation Assoc). Supports net ban
Mayor Sam Ferreri, Green Acres (Fla. League of Cities)
Barbara Sharpe, Gainesville (Self) Supports adequate funding for public education
Dennis Emerson, Alachua (Self) Supports changing homestead exemption
Thomas H. Fay, Gainesville (Self)
James Green, Gainesville (Self)
Linda Cross, Gainesville (Self)
Andrew W. Brown, Jr., Gainesville
R. B. Davis (Florida National Guard): Amend Article V, s. 1 to allow a military court-martial to be conducted by military judges of the Florida National Guard, with direct appeal to the First District Court of Appeal. Amend Article V to allow District Court and Supreme Court to submit questions of military law to the Federal Court of Appeals for the Uniform Services for an advisory opinion.