Future of Florida Summit participant proposals show students have finger on state's pulse


When Florida voters arrive at the polls on November 6, 2018, they may be given an opportunity to approve or reject two revisions to Florida's constitution that Bob Graham Center students had a hand in advancing through the 2017-18 Florida Constitution Revision Commission process.

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which convenes every 20 years, has the unique power to place prospective constitutional amendments directly on the ballot. All told, the 2017-2018 commission held nine public hearings, received countless comments and emails, and more than 1,400 public proposals.

Three of those proposals came from students at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service's Fourth Annual Future of Florida Summit, which focused on the revision commission and its process.

At the summit, 12 groups of students worked through the weekend with state policy experts and leaders to discuss the state’s biggest challenges and draft amendment proposals. These drafts were presented to a panel of six judges and evaluated based on quality and feasibility. Three proposals, chosen by the judges, were sent to the commission for consideration. Two of the three proposals have continued on in some form through the revision commission process. 

One — a proposal to close Florida’s primary elections write-in loophole — was proposed by Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida State Attorney Dave Aronberg and sponsored by Constitution Revision Commission Commissioner Sherry Plymale. It reflects the intent of a proposal put forth by summit attendees.

Another, which changes the mandatory retirement age of state judges from 70 to 75, was proposed by Commissioner Robert Martinez and mirrors a proposal from the summit.

However, in order to make it on the November 2018 ballot, proposals still require 22 votes from the full 37-member commission. The proposal process must be completed 180 days before the election, meaning that all commission-referred amendments must be in place by May 10, 2018.

More information on how proposals advance through the CRC process can be found at https://www.flcrc.gov/PublishedContent/ADMINISTRATIVEPUBLICATIONS/CRCProposalProcess2017.pdf.

The Future of Florida Summit was started in 2014 by University of Florida undergraduate students working in conjunction with the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. The summit has continued to grow since its inception and is viewed as a premier nonpartisan gathering of the brightest and most politically engaged students from Florida’s colleges and universities. In its fourth year, UF hosted 125 student participants, representing 25 Florida colleges and universities.