The Florida Constitution Revision Commission was created in 1965 (Ch. 65-561, Laws), culminating a movement begun with a 1947 publication by The Florida Bar — A Proposed Constitution for Florida. Composed of 37 members, the Commission was created to prepare recommendations for the revision of the 1885 Florida Constitution.
The Commission first met in December 1965, with the full Commission meeting from November 1966 to January 1967 to create the final draft for the Legislature. The Constitution was passed by the Legislature in July 1968 and ratified by the electorate in November 1968.
1977-1978 Constitution Revision Commission
Chaired by Sandy D’Alemberte, this Commission had eight proposals on the ballot for voter consideration. Although none of the proposals passed, some were implemented later by ballot initiative or legislative proposal. A sample of the issues that this Commission placed on the ballot included:
- A revision to provide that no person will be deprived of any right because of gender;
- The elimination of the Florida Cabinet (then composed of a secretary of state, attorney general, comptroller, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture, and commissioner of education) in January 1983;
- Revisions to the process of the selection and retention of Circuit and County Judges; and
- A modification that the State Board of Education be appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.
1997-1998 Constitution Revision Commission
Chaired by Dexter Douglass, this Commission held 11 public hearings across the state and received nearly 200 proposals from the public. Ultimately, nine revisions were selected by the CRC to be placed on the 1998 ballot. Florida voters passed eight of those amendments in 1998, when only a simple majority of more than 50 percent was required for passage. A sample of the issues that this Commission placed on the ballot included:
- The creation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission;
- The declaration that the education of children be a fundamental value of Florida;
- Restructuring the State Cabinet;
- Revisions to local and municipal property tax exemptions;
- Revisions to ballot access requirements of independent and minor party candidates; and
- The implementation of a required criminal history and records check for firearm sales.
The only proposal that was not approved by the voters dealt with local and municipal property tax exemptions and citizen access to local officials. It narrowly failed with 49.8% of the vote.