|Meeting Proceedings for August 21, 1997|
1. MALLORY HORNE - Tallahassee (Self)
Art. III, s. 3(b): Rewrite this to provide for a 45-day session; recess for 2 weeks, during which there would be committee meetings, then a 45-day session to conclude. This would allow for a more orderly process and the public could better absorb what was going on. Only the "second" session could be extended.
Art. III s. 7: Constrain the amendatory process.
Art. III, s. 15: Proposes that House terms be changed from 2 years to 4 years, and Senate terms changed from 4 years to 6 years.
Art. III, s. 8: The period during which the governor may veto legislation when received during the session should be changed from 7 days 15 days, and the period, when legislation is received after adjournment of the legislature, should be changed from 15 days to 30 days.
2. STEVE GELLER - Hallandale (State Representative)
Art. III, s. 16: Recommends the creation of a reapportionment commission. In 1997, Representative Geller introduced House Joint Resolution 2127, a bipartisan effort, to remove from Article III, the duty of the Legislature to reapportion. The Joint Resolution called for an 11-member commission. Each of the five district court chief judges would nominate 3 names. The Chief Justice would appoint 6, three from each party. The Speaker and President would each appoint two members, a former member of the Legislature or of Congress. Those 10 members would select the 11th member, who is neither a Democrat or Republican. Members would be prohibited from running for one of the offices for which the districts are created.
There was substantial discussion regarding different ways of constructing an independent commission, and whether it was appropriate for the Supreme Court to appoint a majority of the members when the Court would be ultimately ruling on the validity of the plan. The possibility was raised as to whether to elect commissioners in a non-partisan election.
3. FRANCES JONES - Pensacola (League of Women Voters)
Art. III, s. 16: Supports a redistricting commission. Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Ohio, and New Jersey, among others, have commissions. We could look at these commissions in setting up a structure. In Vermont, there is a commission advisory to the legislature. In Texas, there is a backup commission that will draw the plan if the legislature is unable to come up with a plan within a set time period.
4. JOHN ANDERSON - Fort Lauderdale (Center for Voting and Democracy)
Art. III, s. 1: This section constitutionally constrains the state to single-member districts. Consider at least a multiple-member House and a single-member Senate. The advantage of at least allowing the option would facilitate the business of a commission. We need to strive for more proportional representation.
Art. VI: Campaign finance reform is needed.
5. FRED LIPPMAN - Hollywood (State Representative)
Art. III: Continue Florida’s tradition of a citizen legislature. We don’t want to emulate Congress.
Art. III, s. 3: Supports bifurcating the legislative session, and proposes that a fiscal session precede a general session.
Art. III, s. 15: Supports a 12-year cycle with regard to term limits. This would provide two 6-year terms for senators and three 4-year terms for representatives.
Art. III, s. 16: Supports a reapportionment commission.
6. SCOTT COWAN - Fort Lauderdale (Chair, Broward County Commission)
Art. V, s.1: Article V costs are overwhelming to the counties. One-sixth of the ad valorem collections of Broward county are going toward absorbing costs of running the state court system.
7. BARBARA COLLIER - Fort Lauderdale (Coral Ridge Ministries/Christian Coalition)
Art. V: There should be more oversight of judges and they should be held more accountable. Judges should not be able to overrule the will of the people.
8. WALTER CAMPBELL - Coral Ridge (State Senator)
Art. V, s.1: The state has not kept its promise to the citizens that the state would assume the costs of operating a uniform state court system. The Commission should ensure that this is done.
Throughout Constitution: Rights are given to the people; powers are given to the government. There are some sections where this terminology is not used properly - government is given rights and people are given power in some places. Suggests technical amendments to correct this.
9. MICHAEL J. KIRIACON - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. I, s. 15: There should be a check on the grand jury system. Currently a grand jury is seated at the behest of a judge. In Oklahoma, 500 petitioners in any county can petition to summon a grand jury on a particular subject.
10. ROY ROGERS - Weston (Self)
Art. XII, s. 9: Supports the continuation of P2000 beyond what is now authorized.
11. FRANK PETERMAN - Fort Lauderdale (Earthwise Productions, Inc./NAS-EERC)
Art. II, s. 7: Recommends a preamble to set out a strong statement supporting environmental protection, and provide that any law inconsistent with this policy would .... (get the exact language he read)
12. JOHNY ZADEK - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. II, s. 7: Recommends adding the following: Land purchased with state or local funds for the purpose of protecting our natural areas and wildlife habitat shall be dedicated as state parks land, to be protected as such forever. Adequate funding shall be provided by law for the preservation and management of lands purchased for the purposes of conservation and recreation.
Art XII, s. 9: Find a dedicated source of funds for P2000 lands to protect from misuse.
13. BRIAN SCHERF - Hollywood (Self)
Art. XII, s.9: Recommends a permanent trust fund with a dedicated source of funding to protect our natural resources. Florida is allowing many of its natural features of wildlife to be destroyed. These things help to attract tourists.
14. PHIL McCONAGHEY - Pembroke Pines (Self)
Art. VII, s.9: Local governments are using special assessments to get around the 10-mill cap limitation, and are using these special assessments for ordinary governmental services. The recent Florida Supreme Court decision of Lake County v. Water Oak Management, has opened the floodgates for an avalanche of assessments.
15. ANNA MAE FRENCH - Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (Self)
Art. VII, s. 18: Provide that the state cannot mandate any laws on any political subdivision without using principles acceptable to a corporation CEO.
Art. VII: Provide that the government cannot raise taxes in excess of the CPI.
Art. II: Laws and rules should be reviewed periodically and get rid of the old wood.
Art. V, s.10: Judges should be elected and voters should be able to have more information about them. Judges must be held accountable for their decisions.
Art. VI: All voters should be required to prove they are residents of Florida before being registered.
16. SUSAN B. PETERSON - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. II, s.7: There is no due process against negligent trespass. Objects to environmental poisons being used by the government and intruding onto private property of citizens.
17. EDWARD STONE, III - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art.IV, s.1: Strengthen the growth management laws; do not weaken them.
Art. XII, s. 9: Renew the P2000 program.
Art IV: Supports unification of the Marine Fisheries Commission and Florida Game & Fresh Water Fish Commission.
18. PETER WEINSTEIN, Coral Springs (Former state senator)
Art. 10, s. 13: Public hospitals and similar entities, to extent not tax-supported, should not have sovereign immunity. (For example, if at least 80% of their funds come from patients, etc.). A change should be made in the cap from $100,000 to $1 million. This would take a lot of small cases out of the political process. Establish a fund like a back-up insurance fund for local governments or to purchase insurance to protect municipalities.
19. KATHRYN REITER - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. I: Modify the constitution to protect children’s rights. 65% of children stay in foster care longer than the law permits. Put children first. Don’t let the foster care system get around the law.
20. ROCHELLE NIERMAN - Hallandale (Self)
Start writing the Constitution from scratch. Change the Baker Act to make it more difficult for persons to be committed involuntarily.
21. BILL WILLIAMS - Coconut Creek (Federation of Mobile Home Owners)
Art. VII: Mobile home owners pay taxes. These taxes are paid in a variety of ways, depending upon the type of land/unit ownership. In a resident-owned community, property taxes are paid just as with any other home. In a rental community (residents own their homes and lease the underlying lot) a decal is purchased each year from the county tax collector; tangible property tax is paid on appurtenances, and the property owner’s ad valorem tax is paid through the lot rental fees.
22. D. K. MINK - Fort Lauderdale (Building Owner and Manager Association)
Art. VII, s.9: People should have the right to vote on special assessment taxes. Special assessments are breaking out in Florida. Local governments are shifting from paying for standard governmental services from ad valorem taxes to funding these services with special assessments.
23. MARK HOWARD - N. Lauderdale (Self)
Art. VII, s.9: Local governments are skirting the constitution by making special assessments. The constitution should specifically address non-ad valorem taxes and special assessments to provide a uniform perspective that is understandable, realistic, fair and accountable .
24. MARY ANN SMANIA - Oakland Park (Self)
Art. V, s. 15: Amend this section to provide that no active member of the Florida Bar can serve on the Judiciary Committee during his or her tenure as an elected officer in the legislative branch of government.
25. GARY ILARDI - Pompano Beach (Libertarian Party)
Supports the 12 proposals of the Constitution Liberty Coalition.
Art. VI: The power of the major political parties is insurmountable. The ballot access laws are the worst in the western world. To run for Congress, the fee is $400 in Pennsylvania, and $10,000 in Florida. Proposes: (1) Reduce filing fees to the cost of processing; (2) guarantee a petitioning requirement as progressive as the most progressive state in the union; and (3) shrink districts by increasing the Senate to 60 members and the House to 160 members.
26. TONI LEEMAN - Fort Lauderdale (Coalition Advocating Medical Marijuana)
Art I: Place an initiative on the ballot to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis to certified patients and stop subjecting truly sick people to criminal prosecution.
27. GREG SCOTT - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. I: Place an initiative on the ballot to permit the certified medical use of marijuana. Use should be restricted to patients acting under doctors’ advice.
28. ROOSEVELT WALTERS - Fort Lauderdale (Florida State Conference of NAACP)
Art. I: All of the people of the State of Florida should have equal opportunity. This should be specifically stated in the constitution.
29. KATHY HARRISON - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. XII, s. 9: Supports the extension of P2000, and favors the creation of a permanent trust fund for conservation. This could possibly be funded through a documentary stamp tax.
30. CYNTHIA FRISCH - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. II, s.7: Supports environmental programs. Florida’s money is in her beauty.
31. RODERICK TIRRELL - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. II, s. 7: Consider a constitutional amendment to more strongly protect our natural resources. The protections of this provision are not being sustained.
Art. X: Consider the property rights of the community as well as the property rights of private individuals.
32. STUART PAVLIK - Pompano Beach (International Game and Fish Association)
Art X, s.16: Supports net ban
33. A. JESSIE GUIDO - N. Pompano Beach (Self)
Art. IX, s. 4: Allow for multiple school districts within counties. Change this section to read: "at least one" district. Or, the constitution could be amended to at least allow for the legislature to consider making smaller school districts.
34. ROSALYN SCHERF - Hollywood (Self)
Bank fees are outrageous. Some banks require a minimum balance be maintained in accounts.
Insurance coverage has skyrocketed. Policy will cover only actual value, not replacement value.
35. TOM GUSTAFSON - Fort Lauderdale (former State Representative)
Art. III, s. 16: The requirement for single-member districts should be specifically set out in the constitution.
36. MARILYN BONILLA KRANTZ - Boca Raton (Planned Parenthood)
Also speaking for Mr. William R. Amlong (Broward County Commission on the Status of Women)
Art. I, s. 23: Urge the Commission to leave this section as it currently reads. The majority of Floridians favor leaving the decision on reproductive rights to women. Florida courts have interpreted the privacy right section moderately.
Art I, s.2: Supports an equal rights amendment for gender, race and religion.
37. KATHLEEN MORIN - Pompano Beach (Self)
Art. I, s. 23: Supports the rights of parents to make decisions for their minor children.
38. ALISA RASKIN - Pembroke Pines (National Organization for Women)
Art. I, s. 2: Add gender and age to those protected in this section.
39. MICHAEL J. FRAWLEY, Miami Lakes (Self)
Art. X, s. 16: Supports the net ban. Leave it as it is.
40. MIRIAM HERNANDEZ - Miami (Self)
Art. V: There is a lot of corruption in Dade County. The courts do not provide relief.
41. ANNETTE VAN HOWE - Fort Lauderdale (Florida Women’s Consortium)
Art. I, s. 2: Supports equal rights for women. Add sex or gender to this section.
42. HERMAN SIEGEL - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
The constitution should define a commercial and non-commercial vehicle. When a person is over 70, their eyes should be tested; when over 75, their driving ability should be tested.
43. TOM REGNIER - Lauderhill (Self)
Art. VI: Florida has the most restrictive ballot access laws in the country. Florida is the land of the incumbent. Proposes adding the following: The rights of electoral participation and political association are fundamental. Any law burdening their exercise is subject to strict judicial scrutiny for legitimacy regarding ends and means and must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. Political choices and competition are primary interests of the citizenry.
44. STAN WERTHEIMER - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. X, s. 7: Supports local option for casino gambling.
45. JACK SCHIFREL - Coral Springs (Self)
Art. V, s.10: Supports the election of judges
Art IV, s. 4: Supports the election of cabinet members
46. CHARLOTTE GREENBARG - Fort Lauderdale (Broward Coalition/IVBE, Inc.)
Art. IV, s.4: The cabinet should be reformed. The only elected members should be the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller and commissioner of education.
Art. XI, s. 3: It should be more difficult to amend the constitution, but the process should not be made so onerous as to become impossible.
Art. VII, s. 6: Revise homestead tax so that all pay tax on the first $10,000 of value, with the exemption applying to the next 25,000.
Art. III, s. 16: The redistricting process needs to be changed. Suggests a commission.
Art. IX: School choice is too restrictive.
47. RUTH TRAVERS - Plantation (Florida Retired Educators Association)
Art. X, s. 14: Urges support of a constitutional amendment to this section to ensure the retirement trust fund is used exclusively for the purposes for which it was created.
48. CLARK D. TURBERVILLE - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. II, s 8(b): Campaign finance reform is needed. Add to this section the following: "Campaign finances for the candidacy of a person to public office or for the advancement or defeat of a referendum issue may not exceed the larger amount of $4000 or an amount equal to $.008 multiplied times the number of residents in accordance with the most recent US census who are the constituents of the candidate if elected or the referendum issue if passed. The base of $4000 and the base rate of $.008 shall remain through the elections of the year 2007. From that time forward the base and the rate may be adjusted each five years in accordance with the Consumer Price Index."
49. CINDY LEE WILSON - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. I: Prohibit age discrimination. She is concerned with the treatment of persons in hospitals who receive different care due to the operation of the wrongful death act.
50. GARY LaVALLE - Tamarac (Self)
Art. I, s. 22: Proposes the following change to this section: "The accused’s or aggrieved’s right to trial by jury in all instances when the government, or any of its agencies, is an opposing party, includes the right to inform the jurors of their power to judge the law as well as the evidence, and vote on the verdict according to conscience. This right shall not be infringed by any statute, jury rule, court order, or practice or procedure of the court, including any method of jury selection that could preclude or limit the impanelment of jurors willing to exercise this power. This right shall not be infringed by preventing any party to the trial once the jurors have been informed of their powers from presenting arguments to the jury that may contain issues of law and conscience, including the merits, intent, constitutionality, or applicability of the law in the instant case, the motives, moral perspectives, or circumstances of the accused or aggrieved party, the degree and direction of guilt or actual harm done, or the sanctions that may be applied to the losing party. Failure to allow the accused or aggrieved party or counsel to so inform the jury shall be grounds for mistrial.
51. GEORGE LEMIEUX - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art XI, s. 3: The initiative process can be too confusing and too easy. We need to be more protective of the constitution. Many provisions passed through the initiative process belong in the statutes.
52. EDNA WARSOWE - Fort Lauderdale (Common Cause)
Art VI: Opposes any amendment that would prohibit campaign spending limits and the clean money option.
Art. II, s. 8: Don’t amend the constitution regarding financial disclosure.
Art. II, s. 8: Give the Ethics Commission the authority to initiate investigations.
53. JERRY GRAHAM - Miramar (Self)
Art. I, s.15: Suggests this be revised to provide that no person shall be charged with any crime without being charged by grand jury indictment.
Art. I, s.15: Add: Whenever 1% of the registered electors of the county have petitioned to convene a grand jury, a grand jury shall be summoned. The grand jury shall consider any cause advanced by the petition.
54. PAIGE HACKMEN - Boca Raton (Self)
Art. I, s. 2: Prohibition against age discrimination should be added to the constitution. The current wrongful death act discriminates based upon age.
55. BOB HELMHOLDT - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art. VI, s. 4: Extend term limits to cover city and county elected officials.
Art. VI: Provide for reasonable ballot access laws
Art III, s. 3: Legislature should meet every other year
56. KEN WOODSIDE - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Art II, s. 7: Include a new article on the environment. The constitution does not adequately protect the environment.
57. JOHN MINORE - Surfside (Self)
Art. X, s. 16: Supports the net ban. Commercial fishermen will not self-regulate themselves.
58. EDWARD DeMAKO (Self)
Art. I, s. 22: Taking away the right to go to court in workers compensation cases has caused a lot of problems; current laws have created an atmosphere where cases of violence have emerged.
THE FOLLOWING SUBMITTED APPEARANCE CARDS BUT DID NOT HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK:
Charles Schmaus - Hollywood (Self)
Norman Grad - Coral Springs (Self)
Ted Apelt - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Irving Schwartzwald - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Audrey Peterman - Fort Lauderdale (Earthwise Productions)
Mary Bennett Hudson - Fort Lauderdale (Older Women’s League)
William J. Killorin - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Maria Librandi - Boynton Beach (AARP)
John T. Dyak - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Joanne Sterner - Fort Lauderdale (Broward County Chapter of NOW)
Ron Broman - Fort Lauderdale (Broward Audubon Society)
Paul Barter - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Charles Altman (Self)
Fernando Gutierrez - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Marvin Weintraub - Fort Lauderdale (SFFA & SFFFC)
Marc Gregg - Fort Lauderdale (Self)
Helene Klein - Fort Lauderdale (Broward County Local Carrying Capacity Committee)
Patricia Graef - Fort Lauderdale (Self)