Category Archives: CRC

Update on the Constitution Revision Commission and Our Environment

Early in 2017, the work of the Constitution Revision Commission began. There were multiple public hearings around the state and thousands of public proposals were submitted for consideration. Out of the two thousand or so proposals, 103 of these were chosen by commissioners to be sponsored, or considered. 37 made it through the arduous committee process. Here is a list of those 37: http://flcrc.gov/PublishedContent/ADMINISTRATIVEPUBLICATIONS/CRCActiveProposalsHearings2018.pdf

Mind you, this list is difficult to interpret unless you go to the CRC website, hit the “Proposals” tab and  put in the number of the proposal to read the text along with the details. This takes a lot of work. http://flcrc.gov

An easier approach, to get an idea of each of the 37 proposals, is to refer to this Sun Sentinel article that list all 103 proposals with a short summary: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/politics/florida-politics-blog/fl-reg-constitution-revision-commission-final-proposals-20171120-story.html Obviously, just go the numbers and read “the 37,” from the first list I provided. You may need to print them out.

In the end, only a few of these 37 will be placed on the ballot for voter consideration. The full CRC will determine this after the second round of public hearings that is happening now.

As far as my proposals. I had 5 environmental proposals: #23 A Right to a Clean and Healthful Environment; #24 Commissioner of Environmental Protection; #46 Clarifying Amendment 1, Land Acquisition Trust Fund; #48 FWC/Wildlife Corridors; and #91 No Oil and Gas Drilling in Floirda’s Territorial Seas.

One proposal made it through committee out of five. P91 or “No Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida’s Territorial Seas” I am thankful, and cannot look back, or mope over what did not get through; I  must now turn all of my energy to this one proposal. And a remarkable proposal it is! I hope you will support it too, even if you had your hopes up for one of the others, as P91 is the sole environmental proposal of the 37, and a monumental opportunity.

This proposal would protect our territorial seas, our state waters, the waters under our jurisdiction. These waters have been drilled before and, hands down, if the oil and gas industry can, they will influence our state legislature so that they can drill our coastal waters again. There is no doubt about it. Just study history!

If this proposal makes it to the ballot it will be absolutely historic. Don’t think about the politics, think about the legacy. We would be the only state in the nation to have this in our state constitution. This would sound a loud environmental message, forever…

We all know, drilling so close to shore, as is done in other coastal southern states, would be visually, environmentally, and economically destructive to Florida’s unique/peninsular marine, wildlife, real estate, and tourism resources.

It is written in Article II of our state constitutional that “we shall protect our natural resources and scenic beauty.” P91 belongs in Florida’s Constitution. It would be an enormous statement on behalf of the people of Florida and would have major policy implications on many, many levels.

Thank you for following the CRC process and I will keep you appraised of P91 as the CRC process continues and we move towards what gets on the ballot for 2018.

In the meanwhile here is the CRC’s second round public hearing schedule:https://www.flcrc.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/1071

You are welcome to speak and encouraged to attend!

Jacqui

Florida Channel videos of all CRC meetings: https://thefloridachannel.org/programs/constitution-revision-commission/

_MG_1455a_small_Robert_Holland_original

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 CRC:http://flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch

Let’s Make History! “No Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida’s Territorial Seas”~ Florida ballot 2018

This past Wednesday, I presented, P91 or “No Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida’s Territorial Seas” to the Declaration of Rights Committee of the Constitution Revision Commission. This was the second and final committee hearing and it passed! My other four environmental proposals were “killed”…

To be clear, as it is confusing, there are coastal territorial seas and there are offshore federal waters. This proposal would protect our territorial seas, our state waters, the waters under our jurisdiction. These waters have been drilled before and, hands down, if the oil and gas industry can, they will influence our state legislature so that they can drill our coastal waters again. There is no doubt about it. Just study history!

We all know, drilling so close to shore, as is done in other coastal southern states, would be visually, environmentally, and economically destructive to Florida’s unique/peninsular marine, real estate, and tourism resouces.

It is written in Article II of our state constitutional that “we shall protect our natural resources and scenic beauty.” P91 belongs in Florida’s Constitution. It would be an enormous statement on behalf of the people of Florida and would have major policy implications on many levels helping to keep all oil drilling away from our state today and in the future.

P91 is now one of 37 proposals of 103 that made it through the CRC committee process.

Today I am publishing the notes from my presentation that should be interesting and informative to readers.

Thank you for following the CRC process and I will keep you appraised of P91 as the CRC process continues and we move towards what gets on the ballot for 2018.

In the end, we must do something for our environment!

Fondly,

Jacqui

P91, presentation Declaration of Rights 1-31-18

Greetings Chair Carlton and Honorable Commissioners; I am Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch  from the Town of Sewall’s Point in Martin County.

This morning, I am pleased to be presenting P91, also known as, “no oil and gas drilling in Florida’s territorial seas.”

~So you may ask,“ what are Florida’s territorial seas?”

The boundaries of Florida’s territorial seas are based on the foresight of our forefathers who expanded the boundaries of Florida, accepted into Florida’s Constitution in 1868 during the era we rejoined the Union. These boundaries are defined as: three marine leagues, or approximately 9 miles, on to the west coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, and extending as far as the shifting Gulf Stream, or three miles east, which ever is further, into the Atlantic Ocean off Florida’s east coast.

The US Code defines Florida’s territorial seas as three marine leagues on the west cost, and three miles out on the east coast.

Most of us have forgotten our history, but in 1944 Florida sold “everything hugging the shore out to 10.36 miles, from Apalachicola to Naples,” on the Gulf Coast to Arnold Oil Company. These lands consisted of of 3.6 million acres.

After decades of embittered fighting, unsuccessful exploration, and a movement to end the leases, in 1989 the Florida legislature banned oil and gas drilling in Florida’s territorial waters and stopped collecting lease money from the oil company that had the rights to these leases lands.

The battle ensued over time and party lines, but in 2002 Governor Jeb Busch with the help of his brother, the president of the United States, arranged for the oil company to accept 12.5 million state dollars to “abandon all further claims.” This transaction was finalized by 2005 with great fanfare of the public that was ecstatic to have Florida’s beautiful beaches and important natural resources “off the table.”

And yet by 2006 there were rumblings and by 2009, there was even serious talk of a bill on the floor of the Florida Legislature allowing for drilling within five miles of Florida’s west coast. Once again, tremendous pressure to reopen Florida’s territorial seas!

In 2010 the nightmare of the BP Deepwater Horizon really took this possibility off the table for discussion, but we must not be naive, especially in the current climate, this threat to our shores is still there!

Today, you as Commissions  of the Constitution Revision Commission have a chance to make history by voting “yes” on P91 “no oil and gas drilling in Florida’s territorial seas,” giving the possibility for Floridians to put language into our state constitution in 2018 that would protect Florida.

Let’s make history.

1868 map
Florida’s territorial seas
Gulf Stream

Links:

P91 CRC http://flcrc.gov/Proposals/Commissioner/2017/0091

Herald Tribune 2009 http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090926/News/605227437

Florida Trend 2009 http://www.floridatrend.com/article/5050/revenue-vs-environment

Earth Justice, David Guest,  2009:https://earthjustice.org/blog/2009-september/oil-drilling-axis-targets-floridas-offshore

Offshore Magazine, Destin Dome: http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/print/volume-57/issue-3/news/exploration/eastern-us-gulf-of-mexico-destin-dome-may-yet-revive-eastern-gulf-of-mexico.html

Blake Plateau, Florida’s east coast is under partial currents of the Gulf Stream: http://edcon-prj.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/G1094_ocean.jpg

USGS Blake Plateau https://pubs.usgs.gov/pp/0659/report.pdf

CRC Analysis 2 http://flcrc.gov/Proposals/Commissioner/2017/0091/Analyses/2017p0091.pre.dr.PDF

______________________________

The next phase of the CRC is public hearings; there is a hearing in Ft Lauderdale tomorrow. After the public hearings the final proposals will be chosen to go on the 2018 ballot.
http://flcrc.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/1071

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 CRC, all comments are public record:  http://flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch

Florida Channel’s taping of prevention: Thank you to those who spoke in favor of the proposal. https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/1-31-18-constitution-revision-commission-declaration-rights-committee/

Article 11 Sec. 1 of our constitution defines Florida’s boundaries. Our forefathers had foresight in doing this. Our boundaries are much more extensive than other coastal sates. May we have the same foresight in expanding the boundaries to protect or territorial seas.

A Picture Speaks a 1000 Words About Florida’s Governors, CRC

The Florida Capitol is a walk through our state’s history. It’s really worth a visit just to look around. Over most of the walls, hang portraits and pictures that tell the story of our state.

Today, I thought I would feature what I call the “Hall of Governors” that one passes on the way to the Constitution Revisions Commission’s (CRC) headquarters. My photos are taken right to left as I exited the CRC, adjacent to the Governor’s office.

From what I understand, each governor has input into the mood and composition of his, (as there are yet no “her”), portrait. I find this very interesting. Look closely and see what this reveals.

And what shall be our future?

Le Roy Collins 1955-1961
Charlie Crist 2007-2011
Claude Kirk 1967-1971
Jeb Bush 1999-2007
Ruben Askew 1971-1979
Buddy MaKay 1998-1999
Bob Graham 1979-1987
Lawton Chiles 1991-1998
Wayne Mixon January 3, 1987-January 6, 1987
Bob Martinez 1987-1991

Governor portraits, Florida Dept. of State:
http://dos.myflorida.com/florida-facts/florida-history/florida-governors/

List of Florida governors: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Governors_of_Florida

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 CRC: https://www.flcrc.gov

“Florida, the Land of Enchantment?” Then Re-fund Florida Forever. P46, CRC


Recently, I convinced my husband, Ed, to come up to Tallahassee with me for the “State of the State” reception at the Governor’s mansion.

It was very exciting; however, we had waited in line for almost an hour, to shake hands with the Governor and First Lady, when a secret service man told me we weren’t going to make the cut. The line was cut off one person in front of me!

“You’re kidding? That’s a bummer.” I thought. “Maybe they’ve had enough of my controversial Constitution Revision Commission environmental proposals? Perhaps I’ve been put on the Affiliated Industries of Florida’s blacklist? Just chance? Hmmm. I can handle it, but poor Ed!”

I tried to negotiate with the secret service man. He was not budging.

While I moped, Ed seemed unaffected, rolled his eyes, smiled, and headed for the bar.

I, on the other hand, could not let go. I was determined to have the Governor see me, or for me to see the Governor, so I moved as far to the front of the room as I could.

When I was right up with the crowd surrounding the Governor, I saw an empty chair. I didn’t see any secret service men staring at me, so I sat in the chair. I could see everything!

But, right at that moment the Governor, First Lady, and crew made a quick exit, and I was sitting there in my black dress, and fake fur, trying to look cool, gazing purposely at a book on the side table.

It was beautiful, very old, and entitled,”Florida Land of Enchantment.” Old-fashioned keys covered the historic book’s fading green face. I stared at it thinking about how the mystique of Florida is “what built Florida.” And how that historic mystique was, and remains, built on the enchantment of Florida’s lands.

Well, Ed and I didn’t get to shake hands with the Governor or First Lady, but I got to see this magnificent book and I’ll never forget it.

This Friday, at 11:00 am, my fourth CRC proposal, P46, or Land Acquisition Trust Fund, goes before the CRC Legislative Committee. The goal of P46 is to have a very needed conversation and to clarify language in Article X, Section 28 of Florida’s Constitution (Amendment 1, 2014) and direct the state legislature to deposit no less that one third of the revenue, not to exceed 300 million annually, into the Florida Forever Trust Fund. This money would go specifically to conservation land purchase as prioritized by the long standing and once “always funded” Florida Forever program.

I already know, there are many reasons, and many conspiracy theories, about why the state legislature has stopped funding Florida Forever. And no matter what occurs at the CRC meeting, the proposal will not be self-executing. We cannot force the legislature to spend money a certain way. That is their prerogative, a power that is derived for them alone from the state constitution.

But a strong message can be sent. A directive can be given. And shouldn’t they listen? They should.

How many years has that book been sitting by the table? Governors and legislatures will come and go, but if “Florida, the land of enchantment,” is to remain, we must continue to invest in Florida Forever.

Florida Forever: https://floridadep.gov/lands/environmental-services/content/florida-forever

Legislative Meeting, CRC: http://flcrc.gov/Committees/LE/

The Best Constitutional Recipe is “Self-Executing,” SLR/IRL

Serving on Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission the past year, I have learned quite a bit. Ingredients certainly have their place in the cookbook of Tallahassee, but the final recipe followed belongs to those in power.

Unless…you can come up with a recipe that is failsafe, a recipe that is “self executing.”

Let’s review a definition of self-executing: “A constitutional provision is selfexecuting when it can be given effect without the aid of legislation, and there is nothing to indicate that legislation is intended to make it operative.”

Remember P23, “A Right to Clean and Healthful Environment?” My proposal that was met with tremendous statewide opposition, the one Affiliated Industries of Florida hired four Gunster attorney’s to fight? The proposal that was voted down on January 12 by the Judicial Committee?

I believe that proposal was “so threatening” because many believed, or wanted to believe, that the proposal was “self executing.” Meaning if it got into the Florida constitution, like a light switch everything would just change as it would go into effect without direction from the legislature.

Let’s look at the language of P23

   (c) The natural resources of the state are the legacy of
   27  present and future generations. Every person has a right to a
   28  clean and healthful environment, including clean air and water;
   29  control of pollution; and the conservation and restoration of
   30  the natural, scenic, historic, and aesthetic values of the
   31  environment as provided by law. Any person may enforce this
   32  right against any party, public or private, subject to
   33  reasonable limitations, as provided by law.

On the other hand, if you look at the language for Amendment 1, 2014 that passed by 74.9% by Citizen Initiative, the language is definitely not-self executing.” The legislature has to “make it operative” —as it has to do with money, appropriations….

Florida Constitution, Article X

SECTION 28.Land Acquisition Trust Fund.

(a)Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.
(b)Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be expended only for the following purposes:(1)As provided by law, to finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land, water areas, and related property interests, including conservation easements, and resources for conservation lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams, springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II, Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands, including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space; rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational enjoyment of conservation lands.
(2)To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to Article VII, Section 11(e).
(c)The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012, shall not be or become commingled with the general revenue fund of the state.

So now Amendment 1 2014, has sat in the Florida constitution since 2015 and funds have been spent have been spent for agency salaries, risk management, vehicles, but not conservation land purchase.

Why because the language is not self-executing. And because the state legislature is not minding the will of the people.

As a CRC member, I took on P46, now know as Article X, Section 28, Land Acquisition Trust Fund because the public repeatedly asked the CRC to address this issue during the public hearings and on-line.

I am now realizing even with new language, or an amendment,  Land Acquisition Trust Fund will remain non-self executing.

I can fight for the intent of Amendment 1, 2014, and that I will, but I cannot make Article x, Section 28 Land Acquisition Trust Fund self-executing. For that we need new cooks in the kitchen.

 CRC - 2017                                                  P 46
       
       
        
       By Commissioner Thurlow-Lippisch
       
       thurlowlj-00052-17                                      201746__
    1                         A proposal to amend                       
    2         Section 28 of Article X of the State Constitution to
    3         revise the manner of the distribution of funds that
    4         are deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund
    5         from a portion of the net revenues derived from the
    6         excise tax on documents.
    7          
    8  Be It Proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission of
    9  Florida:
   10  
   11         Section 28 of Article X of the State Constitution is
   12  amended to read:
   13                              ARTICLE X                            
   14                            MISCELLANEOUS                          
   15         SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund.—
   16         (a) Effective on July 1 of the year following passage of
   17  this amendment by the voters, and for a period of 20 years after
   18  that effective date, the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall
   19  receive no less than 33 percent of net revenues derived from the
   20  existing excise tax on documents, as defined in the statutes in
   21  effect on January 1, 2012, as amended from time to time, or any
   22  successor or replacement tax, after the Department of Revenue
   23  first deducts a service charge to pay the costs of the
   24  collection and enforcement of the excise tax on documents.
   25         (b) Funds in the Land Acquisition Trust Fund shall be
   26  expended only for the following purposes:
   27         (1) No less than one-third of the revenue must be deposited
   28  into the Florida Forever Trust Fund, as defined by the statutes
   29  in effect on January 1, 2017.
   30         (2) The remainder must be expended as provided by law, to
   31  finance or refinance: the acquisition and improvement of land,
   32  water areas, and related property interests, including
   33  conservation easements, and natural resources for conservation
   34  lands including wetlands, forests, and fish and wildlife
   35  habitat; wildlife management areas; lands that protect water
   36  resources and drinking water sources, including lands protecting
   37  the water quality and quantity of rivers, lakes, streams,
   38  springsheds, and lands providing recharge for groundwater and
   39  aquifer systems; lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area and
   40  the Everglades Protection Area, as defined in Article II,
   41  Section 7(b); beaches and shores; outdoor recreation lands,
   42  including recreational trails, parks, and urban open space;
   43  rural landscapes; working farms and ranches; historic or
   44  geologic sites; together with management, restoration of natural
   45  systems, and the enhancement of public access or recreational
   46  enjoyment of conservation lands.
   47         (3)(2) To pay the debt service on bonds issued pursuant to
   48  Article VII, Section 11(e) as may be required.
   49         (c) The moneys deposited into the Land Acquisition Trust
   50  Fund, as defined by the statutes in effect on January 1, 2012,
   51  shall not be or become commingled with the general revenue fund
   52  of the state.

P46 will go before the CRC Legislative Committee on Friday, January 26. You can write committee members here: https://flcrc.gov/Committees/LE/

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 CRC: https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch

Back Up, After a Triple Knockout, CRC January 11-12, 2018

Face down on the dike at Lake Okeechobee, photo Ed Lippisch 1-15-18

On Monday, I had Ed drive me to the lake. I needed to see it face-to-face, and be reminded of why I am driven to protect Florida’s environment.

It was a beautiful, chilly, day and as I lay on the warm earth, soaking it all in, Ed snapped a photo. I laughed when I saw it, thinking it summarized my experience at the Constitution Revision Commission last week in Tallahassee.

A triple knock out.

But I am back up, and today will fill you in on last week, and note what remains possible for the future.On Thursday, January 11th, I presented two proposals to the Executive Committee; a committee upon which I serve. Both proposals were voted down.

They were: P 24, “Creating a Commissioner of Environmental Protection,” and P48, “FWC/Wildlife Corridors.”

I presented right after highly respected, former Senate President, Don Gaetz, who spoke in favor of a making the Secretary of State, once again, a cabinet position.

We were both voted down. The committee had no tolerance for expanding the executive branch in any form.

Exec. Committee Florida Channel: https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/1-11-18-constitution-revision-commission-executive-committee/

On Friday, I awoke to torrential rains and cold temperatures, rushing to make it in the darkness by 8:00 am to stand before the Judicial Committee, finally, for a vote on controversial, Gunster-attorney-fought, and widely reported P23, “A Right to A Clean and Healthful Environment.” It was voted down by every member of the committee as it would have created  a new “cause of action,” and given citizens standing, regarding environmental claims, in a court of law. In the committee’s opinion, P23 would have caused a Florida litigation nightmare.

For me, the lack of prioritization for the environment, the over-protection of permit holders, and the “buddy-agency-system,” holding it all in place, is already causing a “nightmare;” thus, I was all for a change and in favor of this student-inspired proposal that spoke for what the CRC is supposed to be speaking for—-its citizens.

In any case, it was quite a lesson for me, bleeding my heart out, and getting denied. I was not embarrassed, just kind of numb. I must say, it was very kind, and I appreciated that many of my comrades complimented my efforts and encouraged me to continue my fight, right before the knock-out punch. 🙂

Judicial Committee meeting, Florida Channel: https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/1-12-18-constitution-revision-commission-judicial-committee/

Thank you to reporter Jim Turner, from the News Service of Florida, who stood with me afterwards as I mumbled trying to find words to instill inspiration in my defeat. His article is a good summary:

Jim Turner, New Service of Florida: http://sunshinestatenews.com/story/controversial-crc-environmental-proposal-dead

So, I have two of my five proposals still alive.

P48, “Clarifying Language Amd. 1, 2014, Land Acquisition Trust Fund” and

P91,  “No Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida’s Territorial Waters”

No dates have been set to hear these proposals, but in the meanwhile, I am back up on my feet and getting ready for the next round. I know it will come. I have been studying one of my favorite boxers, Sugar Ray Leonard, who was a favorite of my students in Pensacola, for some moves. I’m going to be ready!

Thanks for you support and for your love of Florida’s environment.

Jacqui

JTL is a member of the Constitution Revision Commission 1018.  See Jacqui’s sponsored proposals and CRC webpage here: https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch

Ed on the dike with Bo and Luna, Lake Okeechobee 1-15-18
I’m standing….
S-308 at Port Mayaca, the awful ACOE structure that allows water in from Lake Okeechobee that destroys the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon; note color of water even in winter, video below.

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission; she was appointed by Senate President Joe Negron: https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch

CRC P24 Comr. of Environmental Protection Presentation, “Save the Florida Goose”

The following are my notes, images, and basic outline for my presentation to the CRC Executive Committee for P24, Creating a Commissioner of Environmental Protection. I will present on January 11th at 11am. JTL

CRC Executive Committee Agenda: https://www.flcrc.gov/Committees/EX/ExpandedAgenda/141

To write to members of Exec. Committee in support or with concerns: https://www.flcrc.gov/Committees/EX/
____________________________________________________

Notes: P24, Creating a Commissioner of Environmental Protection or “CEP.” SAVE THE FLORIDA GOOSE

Inspiration

~”Florida has this magical thing— that one person can make a difference…” CRC Chair Carlos Beruff, 4-12-17, interview, Florida Channel

~2 members of the public verbally presented the idea of Commissioner of Environmental Protection thus a Cabinet position for the environment during the  CRC Public Hearings that took place across the state in 2017.

~Public Proposal 700012 was submitted in written form by Mr Gamez below:

PUB 700012: To Make a Broader Approach to Protecting the Environment by Carlos Gamez

ARTICLE IV: EXECUTIVE, New Section. Catchline: Department of Environmental Protection The Legislature may create a department of Environmental Protection and prescribe its duties. The provisions governing the administration of the department must comply with Section 6 of Article VI of the State Constitution.

This led to P24, sponsored by JTL .The people were the inspiration for this proposal.

 CRC - 2017                                                  P 24
       
       
        
       By Commissioner Thurlow-Lippisch
       
       thurlowlj-00025A-17                                     201724__
    1                         A proposal to amend                       
    2         Sections 3 and 4 of Article IV and create a new
    3         section in Article XII of the State Constitution to
    4         establish the office of Commissioner of Environmental
    5         Protection as a statewide elected officer, to provide
    6         duties of the commissioner, and to include the
    7         commissioner as a member of the Cabinet.
    8          
    9  Be It Proposed by the Constitution Revision Commission of
   10  Florida:
   11  
   12         Sections 3 and 4 of Article IV of the State Constitution
   13  are amended to read:
   14                             ARTICLE IV                            
   15                              EXECUTIVE                            
   16         SECTION 3. Succession to office of governor; acting
   17  governor.—
   18         (a) Upon vacancy in the office of governor, the lieutenant
   19  governor shall become governor. Further succession to the office
   20  of governor shall be prescribed by law. A successor shall serve
   21  for the remainder of the term.
   22         (b) Upon impeachment of the governor and until completion
   23  of trial thereof, or during the governor’s physical or mental
   24  incapacity, the lieutenant governor shall act as governor.
   25  Further succession as acting governor shall be prescribed by
   26  law. Incapacity to serve as governor may be determined by the
   27  supreme court upon due notice after docketing of a written
   28  suggestion thereof by four three cabinet members, and in such
   29  case restoration of capacity shall be similarly determined after
   30  docketing of written suggestion thereof by the governor, the
   31  legislature or four three cabinet members. Incapacity to serve
   32  as governor may also be established by certificate filed with
   33  the custodian of state records by the governor declaring
   34  incapacity for physical reasons to serve as governor, and in
   35  such case restoration of capacity shall be similarly
   36  established.
   37         SECTION 4. Cabinet.—
   38         (a) There shall be a cabinet composed of an attorney
   39  general, a chief financial officer, a commissioner of
   40  environmental protection, and a commissioner of agriculture. In
   41  addition to the powers and duties specified herein, they shall
   42  exercise such powers and perform such duties as may be
   43  prescribed by law. In the event of a tie vote of the governor
   44  and cabinet, the side on which the governor voted shall be
   45  deemed to prevail.
   46         (b) The attorney general shall be the chief state legal
   47  officer. There is created in the office of the attorney general
   48  the position of statewide prosecutor. The statewide prosecutor
   49  shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the state attorneys to
   50  prosecute violations of criminal laws occurring or having
   51  occurred, in two or more judicial circuits as part of a related
   52  transaction, or when any such offense is affecting or has
   53  affected two or more judicial circuits as provided by general
   54  law. The statewide prosecutor shall be appointed by the attorney
   55  general from not less than three persons nominated by the
   56  judicial nominating commission for the supreme court, or as
   57  otherwise provided by general law.
   58         (c) The chief financial officer shall serve as the chief
   59  fiscal officer of the state, and shall settle and approve
   60  accounts against the state, and shall keep all state funds and
   61  securities.
   62         (d) The commissioner of environmental protection shall have
   63  supervision of matters pertaining to environmental protection
   64  that the Department of Environmental Protection or its successor
   65  agency and water management districts are required or authorized
   66  by law to implement and administer.
   67         (e) The commissioner of agriculture shall have supervision
   68  of matters pertaining to agriculture except as otherwise
   69  provided by law.
   70         (f)(e) The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
   71  and the attorney general shall constitute the state board of
   72  administration, which shall succeed to all the power, control,
   73  and authority of the state board of administration established
   74  pursuant to Article IX, Section 16 of the Constitution of 1885,
   75  and which shall continue as a body at least for the life of
   76  Article XII, Section 9(c).
   77         (g)(f) The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
   78  the attorney general, the commissioner of environmental
   79  protection, and the commissioner of agriculture shall constitute
   80  the trustees of the internal improvement trust fund and the land
   81  acquisition trust fund as provided by law.
   82         (h)(g) The governor as chair, the chief financial officer,
   83  the attorney general, the commissioner of environmental
   84  protection, and the commissioner of agriculture shall constitute
   85  the agency head of the Department of Law Enforcement.
   86  
   87         A new section is added to Article XII of the State
   88  Constitution to read:
   89                             ARTICLE XII                           
   90                              SCHEDULE                             
   91         Recomposition of the cabinet; commissioner of environmental
   92  protection.—The amendment to Section 4 of Article IV relating to
   93  the election of the commissioner of environmental protection and
   94  the inclusion of the commissioner as a member of the cabinet
   95  shall take effect January 3, 2023, but shall govern with respect
   96  to the qualifying for and the holding of the primary and general
   97  elections for the office of commissioner of environmental
   98  protection in 2022.

THE TIME IS NOW for the Environment to get a Seat at the Table.

Florida Chamber’s population growth projections: 6,000,000 more people for a population of 26,000,000 people by 2030…

1000 Friends of Florida “A Population Distribution Scenario for the State of Florida” 2060. This shows the areas projected to become the most populated highly impacting natural lands and water resources.

FEGN- Florida Ecological Green Network Priorities,  2016. This map shows the  importance of creating a priorities  for Wildlife Corridor creation in the growing state of Florida. Done correctly we can have both growth and connected lands for wildlife and water. But we must plan now for the next 20 years and beyond. We will never have this chance again.

Florida Department of Environmental Protection map below shows Impaired Waters of the State: 53% Rivers; 82% Lakes; 32% Estuaries. This doesn’t even mention our very impacted and magnitude lessened springs.

Water management districts have individual governing boards but the Department of Environmental Protection may exercise general supervisory authority over water management districts (s. 373.026(7), Florida Statutes). I think “may” in this sentence needs to be reinterpreted. It is too weak for today’s pressures.

Creating a Comr. of Environmental Protection would elevate today’s “Department of Environmental Protection” giving it more autonomy and less impact from the often destructive and brutal pendulum swings of politics.

Agriculture already has a Cabinet seat and has a Dept of Water Quality that oversees Best Management Practices. Why shouldn’t the environment be on equal footing with Agriculture? The environment and Florida’s tourism industry are the number one income generator of the state, agriculture claims the number two spot.

We must note that since the last CRC in 1998, our waters have become even more impaired and our lands purchases are not always well represented to the Legislature or mindful of the importance of “connectedness.” Having a Commissioner of Environmental Protection would give us leadership for a higher standard, better communication, and better success for all the public to see.

Would the people of Florida support a Commissioner of Environmental Protection? Absolutely. The people of Florida have spoke loudly in 2014. Amendment 1, 2014 now in the Florida Constitution as Art X, Sec. 28 continues to be controversial as the legislature resented what they saw as forced direction of appropriations/money. Nonetheless, it was the will of the people. A Commissioner of Environmental Protection could help ameliorate this situation with the State Legislature and and the public.

*October 2016 Poll: “Top Concerns of Floridians are economy and environment.”~ Miami Herald. (Water related problems top concern 34%; 20% Loss of Natural Lands for Wildlife second.) “The focus on the environment as top concern behind the economy should not surprise anyone who has lived in Florida…Florida’s economy has long been closely linked to its environmental assets.”

As Chair Beruff stated: “Florida has this magical thing...”

We must think about this….

If we lose the magic, if will don’t protect our environment and the people’s love of it, we lose “Florida,” killing our Goose that lays our Golden Egg…

“A cottager and his wife had a Hen that laid a golden egg every day. They supposed that the Hen must contain a great lump of gold in its inside, and in order to get the gold they killed her. Having done so, they found to their surprise that the Hen differed in no respect from their other hens. The foolish pair, thus hoping to become rich all at once, deprived themselves of the gain of which they were assured day by day…” Aesop’s Fables

In closing:

The need for Leadership; Give the Environment a Seat at the Table with a Florida Cabinet member; CRC can put P24 on the 2018 ballot and allow the electorate to vote for a Commissioner of Environmental Protection in 2022. Save the Florida Goose.

Organizational Chart for Florida 2017
P24 proposed change

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch is a member of the 2018 Constitution Revision Commission: https://www.flcrc.gov/Commissioners/Thurlow-Lippisch