It has been quite an education to serve on Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission.
If you follow my blog, you might recall that during the 2017/18 Commission, I sponsored five public-submitted proposals, all environmental in nature: A Right to a Clean and Healthful Environment; the Department of Environmental Protection as a cabinet position; Clarifying the Water and Land Legacy; Florida Wildlife Commission/Wildlife Corridors; and No Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida’s Territorial Seas.
Early on in my journey, with an outcry of controversy from the Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Chamber, and the Florida Agriculture Coalition, I fought. It was a scathing experience, I will never forget.
With regard to A Right for a Clean Environment, former Chief Justice of the Florida Supreme Court, Kenneth Bell, was hired along with lawyers from U.S. Sugar Gunster Law Firm to destroy my proposal, which they did.
In the end, only one of my proposals made it to the ballot, supported by all by but one CRC vote that day. That proposal, now an amendment, is “No Oil and Gas Drilling in Florida’s Territorial Seas,” our state waters, ten miles off our west coast and three miles off the east. These waters belong to the people of Florida, not to the federal government.
And now Amendment 9 is under attack from yet another former Supreme Court Justice, Harry Lee Anstead! For me, it is of no consequence that my proposal is bundled with another environmental proposal.
I think it is repulsive that these men of influence, who raised their hand to represent fairly all the people of Florida now are spending their “golden years” off the bench getting paid by Big Corporate Interests to partake in the carnage of Florida’s environment. Former power and influence should not be allowed to seduce the court.
Shame on you former Supreme Court judges, for getting paid by Big Business, Big Petroleum, Big Tobacco, and Big Gambling to try to influence the Florida Supreme Court to deny taxpayers of Florida the quiet enjoyment of their properties and the waters we all treasure.
More than likely we shall know by September 24 if the Florida Supreme Court decides to place CRC Constitutional Revision 9 on the 2018 ballot or not. In the meanwhile, hang in there and please keep fighting for Florida’s precious environment.
Gunster, Kenneth Bell: https://gunster.com/staff/attorneys/kenneth-b-bell/
Former Judges: Harry Lee Anstead: https://www.4dca.org/Judges/Former-Judges/Former-Justice-Harry-Lee-Anstead
Links to CRC Lawsuits, Florida Court System
2-15-18 Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Bell, and other giants of business fight against A Right to a Clean Environment:http://floridapolitics.com/archives/250218-aif-fight-proposed-constitution-amendment-environmental-protection
8-21-18: Ex Lieutenant Governors and Lawmakers Fight Ballot Proposals http://sunshinestatenews.com/story/ex-lieutenant-governors-and-lawmakers-fight-ballot-proposals
9-14-18 Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead fights against Amd. 9 Prohibiting Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling; Prohibiting Vaping in Indoor Work Places and other constitutional amendments: http:// www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/08/14/heres-another-legal-challenge-for-floridas-constitutional-amendments/
9-5-18 As there have been multiple cases to watch in the court system this article helps to explain: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.tampabay.com/blogs/gradebook/2018/09/05/whats-at-stake-in-todays-florida-court-hearings-over-amendment-8/%3ftemplate=amp
9-12-18 Good News, Amd. 9 and others going to Supreme Court