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Politics / Issues
Read our current and previous coverage of the 2018 election season as you prepare to cast your ballot. You'll find information on important races, explanations of constitutional amendments and details of local referendums.

Brandes Again Seeks To Eliminate Constitution Commission

St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes
St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes

St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes is once again seeking to do away with the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, the powerful panel that sparked controversy last year for linking unrelated issues in proposed constitutional amendments.

On Friday, Brandes filed a resolution (SJR 142) that would let voters decide if the state should abolish the commission, which meets every 20 years to consider changes to the Florida Constitution.

Brandes filed the measure, which he hopes to place on next year's ballot, for consideration during the legislative session that begins in January.

Brandes this year launched a similar effort, which drew support from Gov. Ron DeSantis after the legislative session ended.

Brandes' 2019 effort, and a separate proposal to limit the commission to putting forward single-subject proposals, both were approved by the Senate.

However, neither measure received a House floor vote.

Lawmakers criticized the 37-member commission --- mostly appointed by former Gov. Rick Scott, former Senate President Joe Negron and former House Speaker Richard Corcoran --- for, among other things, “bundling” multiple topics into one ballot measure, such as a voter-approved proposal that banned offshore oil drilling and banned vaping in workplaces.

The commission placed seven amendments on the November ballot, all of which were approved by voters.

Since the 2019 session concluded in May, DeSantis has criticized “bundling” and has expressed concerns that the panel exceeded the intent of voters, who created the commission in 1968. All constitutional amendments require approval from 60 percent of voters to pass.