The Florida Constitution Revision Commission probably managed to delight and piss off Florida progressives on Wednesday.
The CRC, of course, tours the state every 20 years to weigh proposed constitutional amendments for voters to consider on the November ballot (they met in St. Pete March 13).
They had quite a few they had to sift through.
Of the amendments, which commissioners as well as regular citizens can propose, only a few manage to get on the ballot.
And on Wednesday, they elected to move forward with 25 proposals, which means that those amendments are up for further discussion...and all the other ones aren't.
This year, they took up some pretty controversial ones — and, apparently, kicked a few of them to the curb.
Of these was Proposal 22, which was basically a backdoor way to limit abortion by way of curbing Florida's privacy laws. It was a proposal ultraconservative activist John Stemberger, appointed to the panel by outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran, introduced. Stemberger's proposal was a blatant attempt to hurt women's access to abortion by attacking privacy laws. (Florida's generous privacy laws are the reason a judge struck down the legislature's controversial bill mandating a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could get an abortion.)
The CRC opted not to include this one on the November ballot.
Women's health advocates lauded the move.
Amy Weintraub, reproductive rights coordinator for Progress Florida, said there "was never a legitimate reason to expose Floridians to greater government intrusions into our private lives" via Proposal 22.
“In Florida, the right to privacy is fundamental, including the right to an abortion," she said Wednesday in a written statement. “Proposal 22 would have had far-reaching, negative effects on Floridians’ personal privacy rights beyond a woman’s right to control her body."
But something tells us many fans of that decision won't be super happy to hear about the CRC's rejection of a proposal that would have let voters weigh a number of gun restrictions, including a ban on assault-style weapons.
News Service of Florida reports that the problem, in part, was that the gun proposals came in the form of amendments to an unrelated amendment (Proposal 3, which had to do with immigrant property rights).
Earlier in the day, House Speaker Corcoran wrote a letter to the commission calling on them to reject the bill (Corcoran is a Land O' Lakes Republican who is probably running for governor, so...).
Environmentalists, on the other hand, are stoked to hear about the CRC's decision to keep Proposal 91 on the table so that it could be on the November ballot.
That's the proposed offshore drilling ban in state waters, which commissioners supported overwhelmingly.
"We believe Floridians will support it," said Florida Wildlife Federation president Manley Fuller in a written statement. "An oil spill in Florida would be a disaster for our economy and for wildlife. Whatever we can do to prevent that from happening, we should.”
Bonus: a proposed ban on greyhound racing in Florida (which has 12 of the nation's 18 dog racing tracks due to a weird policy) also made the cut.
The CRC should have its final list in May.
Those that do make it onto the ballot need to be approved by a 60 percent margin to make it onto the state constitution.