A proposal to impose term limits on school board members was taken up as the Florida Constitution Revision Commission began evaluating 103 measures aimed at changing the state constitution.
The term-limit measure (Proposal 43) is sponsored by Commissioner Erika Donalds, a Collier County School Board member. The amendment, if placed on the 2018 ballot and adopted by voters, would limit school board members to no more than eight years in office, or two consecutive four-year terms.
The proposal is one of three school-related measures sponsored by Donalds that will be reviewed by the commission’s Education Committee, as the overall 37-member commission begins four days of committee meetings next week on a host of proposals.
Another Donalds measure (P33) would require the appointment of school superintendents, which is now done by 26 of the 67 school districts, with the majority of superintendents still elected by voters. Donalds also wants to eliminate salaries for school board members in another proposal (P32).
The committee meetings are only a first step in advancing the potential constitutional changes. To end up on the 2018 general ballot, 22 of the 37 members of the commission would eventually have to vote for each proposal.
The commission has a May 10 deadline for its proposals, which also would need to win support from 60 percent of voters during the November 2018 election to be enacted.
Some 14 education-related proposals have been filed by commission members, making it a top category. The commission meets once every 20 years and has the ability to directly place proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot.
There were also 14 proposals related to the judicial system filed by commission members.
More than a half-dozen of those proposals were taken up Tuesday by the Judicial Committee.
There are four different proposals that all would change the mandatory retirement age for Florida judges to 75, increasing it over the current 70-year-old limit.
Former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, has a variation (P8) of that proposal, which would also require state appellate judges, including Supreme Court justices, to face confirmation votes in the state Senate.
The General Provisions Committee began hearing seven proposals on Tuesday, including a measure (P29), sponsored by Commissioner Rich Newsome, an Orlando lawyer, that would require Florida businesses to use the federal E-verify system to prevent the hiring of illegal immigrants.
Businesses could face the suspension of their licenses if they fail to comply or if they hire illegal workers, according to measure.
On Wednesday, the same committee heard a proposal (P67) from Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, that would ban greyhound racing in Florida beginning in July 2021.
The commission’s Ethics and Elections Committee began two days of hearings on Wednesday on five proposals, including a measure (P11), sponsored by Commissioner Sherry Plymale of Palm City, that seeks to close the so-called write-in candidate loophole.
Plymale’s measure would let all voters participate in primaries if all of the candidates, except write-in candidates, are from the same party. Currently, the presence of general election write-in candidates keep primaries limited to only voters in one party.
The committee also considered a proposal (P62), sponsored by Commissioner Bill Schifino, a Tampa lawyer, that would let “no party affiliation” voters designate and vote in party primaries.
A proposal (P56), sponsored by Commissioner Frank Kruppenbacher, an Orlando lawyer, would eliminate the use of public financing for statewide candidates and will also be considered by the Ethics and Elections Committee.
Lloyd Dunkelberger reports for the News Service of Florida.