Posted November 3, 2017 09:41 am - Updated November 3, 2017 10:54 am
The CRC: Send in the clowns
In politics today, it seems almost certain that any good idea can turn into a bad one, once reality creeps in.
Take the Constitutional Revision Commission — please.
It’s touted as a group of independent thinkers who spend months traveling the state and listening to the public’s ideas on how Florida’s Constitution might be improved through the amendment process.
The group meets every 20 years and can forward amendments citizens believe will better the state or remove amendments that may have proven ill-conceived in practice.
The CRC received 2,000 plus ideas from the public this year.
In order to be considered for the ballot a proposal must be nominated by one of the 37 commissioners and receive at least nine additional votes from colleagues.
Of the 2,000 ideas, the CRC agreed to discuss six — or 0.3 percent.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that the last time the group met in 1997-98, commissioners considered 696 public proposals and 18 percent received the 10 votes to move forward… so so much for public priorities.
So scratch one of the proposed foundations of the CRC.
Another is a non-partisan look at the public suggestions by an unbiased group of commissioners. We’ve pointed out before that the members are selected this way:
— Fifteen were tapped by Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who never made a political appointment that he didn’t have on speed dial. Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Republican Senate President Joe Negron get nine picks each.
— Conservative Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga names three and Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi is an automatic appointment. If you add those up, that makes 37 appointments by Republicans. The Commission is made up of 37 members.
What’s interesting about this is that Big Government and citizens’ rights to privacy from an overreaching government are so central to conservative mantra.
Yet one of the proposed amendments that seems certain to make its way onto the ballot is one with the potential to trash our right to privacy. Florida’s Constitution reads: Every natural person has the right to be left alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life.
The proposed amendment says: Every natural person has the right to be left alone and free from governmental intrusion into the person’s private life with respect to privacy of information and the disclosure thereof.
The difference is huge. It’s yanking down the pants of privacy for political mischief and gain.
Political types believe the hidden agenda in this attack is to give anti-abortion forces a new weapon. But, whether or not you agree with abortion, the attempt to erode personal privacy is clear — and dangerous for us all.
If Gov. Scott has his way, the Florida Supreme Court will move from a slight liberal majority to a 6 to 1 conservative court in January. They too, will all be picked and promoted by Republicans.
None even attempt to hide the philosophical and political bias of the process.
That may be the most frightening part of all in the constitutional circus called the CRC.