03 November 2006

Florida Amendment 3

While Colorado voters will be considering, and probably rejecting, Amendment 38 designed to make it easier to get issues on the ballot this year, Flordia voters will be considering Amendment 3.

Florida Amendment 3 would require 60% support of the voters to pass a constitutional amendment, rather than the current 50%. Two polls taken in September showed it on track to passage. Zogby for Miami Herald found in its September poll that the proposal was leading 67% yes, 27% no. A Mason-Dixon poll in September found the proposal leading 44% yes, 23% no.

A blue ribbon commission in Colorado looking at changes important to the state's economic development and finding that poor public finance decisions driven by voter initiatives (like TABOR, Gallagher and Amendment 23) were an important barrier to the state's economic growth proposed that Colorado take a similar step.

If Florida Amendment 3 passes in there, supporters of the concept that it should be harder to amend the state constitution than it is to enact a statute might be emboldened to place it before Colorado voters in a future election.

There theory is that major bedrock rules of the entire system set forth in the state constitution ought to have a wider consensus support than a mere 50%+1 of the votes cast on a single day. The downside of the proposal for good government advocates is that it further entrenches the clutter that is in the state constitution now, making it harder to strip out existing provisions.

3 comments:

Doug Campbell said...

This concept has already been rejected by Colorado voters. Its problem is that it gives the nay-sayers a 20-point head start. Furthermore, the proponents of this "stick" approach never want to subject this idea to its own standard, i.e., 60%-to-pass. Amendment 38 uses the "carrot" approach by extending similar protection against legislative meddling to statutory initiatives that constitutional ones enjoy: changes the legislature wants to make have to be approved by the voters as a referred measure (simple majority for referral of a statute). Further incentive can be offered if the legislature will lower the signatures required for statutory initiatives, as allowed by 38. (Again, the legislature always wants to "stick" what they don't want instead of "carroting" what they allege they do want. Actually what they want is no initiatives at all.) BTW, Gallagher was not an initiative, but rather a referred measure from that all-knowing legislature you tout as "representative government"; and TABOR was working just fine until amendment 23 hoodwinked voters into believing TABOR refunds were guaranteed forever. We tried to warn y'all...

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Sorry Doug. Your style of legislating has done more harm to this state than either political party could imagine.

It simply allows special interests to put issues that command bare majorities on the ballot and have serious flaws hidden in the details that aren't discovered until after the fact.

TABOR was rejected by Colorado voters multiple times and just barely passed when it did. It gutted the fiscal soundness of our state government, and has undermined its future. Many people could have supported the core idea of TABOR, which was to require a referendum on new taxes, but the devils, like the rachet effect, were in the details. Fiscal policy by ballot measure is bad policy.

Bonnie said...

Unfortunately Andrew, most of these things are decided in the media; and media in some instances have morphed from actual news, to a position; to a strong position making them advertising and subscription based pr firms, instead.

The good news, and yes there is some; people can still have significant input in other areas.

For instance; check your state stats against California's.

As the public corruption headlines demonstrate - good government is all about transparency.

Transparency occurs when attorneys and every day citizens act to educate others. Hence, www.USAjudges.com a data-base driven Consumers Report for judges.

Or, as one businessman quipped,

"A Dun and Bradstreet on judges - I like it!"

WHAT:

USAjudges.com is the first public supported, data driven collection
mechanism available to create and/or purchase reports on a judge.

WHY:

USAjudges.com answers the public need for accountability after the
decades old pattern and practice of CJP consistently failing to
protect the public.

USAjudges.com is an especially valuable tool in the case of Judge Pro
Tems, and likewise alerts the public to good judges.

HOW:

Transparency by database. USAjudges.com functions as follows:

1. Individuals create a short, free report on a particular judge.
Although this function serves the financially devastated, free
reports are not verified and as such may or may not be included in
later reports purchased on a particular judge.

2. Individuals create an extremely detailed, in-depth report on a
judge for a low $45.00 administrative fee. Reports will be verified
and included in later reports available for purchase on a particular
judge. To avoid retaliation, requests for anonymity are honored.

3. Individuals purchase a report on a judge, commissioner, judge pro
tem or magistrate. $150.00

WHO:

Who makes and purchases these reports? Attorneys, members of the
public. Judges.

Attorneys responded first, with batches of court transcripts.
However one attorney's report included a video clip from a local news crew
featuring a judge playing computer solitaire during a custody trial.
Coverage had been removed from the station's website and shelved
after a management change. Efforts made by the public to retrieve it
had been futile.

Some attorneys reporting merely sent multiple court transcripts.
One attorney's report included an original eleven page judicial
reprimand, since reduced to a one page "Summary" on that state's
website.

There's a lot of satisfaction derived from a $45.00 report. Or, as
one attorney we called to verify said,

"I felt so good you could have charged me double."

Unlike the state CJP, a report made at USAjudges.com includes the case
type, County and the name of the judge complained.
CJP reports only release case type percentages.
http://cjp.ca.gov/2001%20statistics.htm

State reports are constructed in such a way the public is prohibited
from learning whether a particular county has a particular or continuing,
entrenched problem with one or more jurists in a particular area of law.
http://cjp.ca.gov/2001privdisc.htm

But with USAjudges.com, both the area of law and county is immediately
visible. Thus entrenched problems in specific counties with specific
jurists are immediately apparent.

The best demonstration for the need comes from the California Commission’s own report on Judicial Performance.

In 2005, the California CJP received on 965 complaints on 1,696 jurists.

The commission determined 500 were Outside CJP jurisdiction, (workers
comp, federal court or judges pro tem. It is unknown why some judges
were deemed "outside.")

Most of the 1,696 complaints were flatly rejected; as the bulk of
CJP's budget is spent in office leasing and administrative salaries for
rejecting complaints.

41 investigations were opened after 55 inquiries, began.

The result:
1 judge was removed.
1 judge was censured.
1 judge was censured and barred
4 judges were admonished.
6 judges received private admonishments
12 judges received "advisory" letters

1,696 complaints:
7 public actions
18 private "Don't do that anymore"

1,696 complaints
25 "conclusions"

USAjudges.com concluded enough is enough.

Good government is Everyone's job. Everyone doing their part, means a
job well done, in light of the CJP abandoning the public to protect from bad,
to criminal, judges.

Those wanting good government know participation is the best choice.