Skip to Navigation | Skip to Main Content | Skip to Site Map

Account: Sign Up | Login

Florida Constitution Revision Commission

PUB 700170: Penalties for Violating Constitutional Amendments Passed by Florida Citizens' Initiative by Steve Webb

NEW ARTICLE

Title: PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS PASSED BY FLORIDA CITIZENS' INITIATIVE

 

When a Florida government body is found to have violated the will of the people as expressed in a citizens-initiative amendment to the Florida Constitution, the judicial remedy will include penalties charged against the body itself. This could include fines that could not be passed on to taxpayers, removal from office of those a judge deemed responsible for the violation, impounding the body's budget, or in the case of a partisan violation removing the party's line from the Florida ballot for either two or four years.

 

 

Florida now has several cases (classroom size, fair legislative and Congressional districts, purchasing sensitive public lands, greater access to medical marijuana) in which the people have grown frustrated with the governor or legislature, directed it through citizen initiatives on how to conduct themselves, and then been simply ignored. One reason these measures are difficult to enforce is that there is no penalty for defying the will of the people. To again use the example of the lawsuits that overturned some of the Florida Senate and U.S. Congressional districts drawn in violation of the Fair Districts amendments: No government official was held liable for what was in essence a Constitutional crime. None of the legislative leaders or committee members involved, no official reviewing the districts for the Department of Law, nor th governor himsel, were removed from office, or fined, or banned from future political activity. One of the perpetrators, in fact, was even placed on this CRC. In addition, both sides' legal fees to overturn this defiance of the public will ended up being paid by the same public. The people who took oaths to prevent such a defiance are too incestuously insulated accountability.