The Florida Constitution Revision Commission meets once every 20 years to gather suggestions for constitutional amendments from Florida citizens. The last time it met, from 1997-1998, Florida was a very different place — with 75 percent of its current population and a Democratic governor. (Remember those?)
But perhaps more importantly, the Florida of 1997 was different from that of 2017 because 20 years ago, the internet hadn’t yet matured into the information superhighway that it is today.
What a pity for the Florida of yesteryear! And what a pity for the 1997 Constitution Revision Commission. It probably missed out on a lot of very good suggestions.
The 2017-2018 iteration isn’t missing out on anything. Each of the citizen suggestions to the commission has been published online. And some of them are absolute doozies.
If the 37-person Revision Commission were to approve a suggested amendment, it would be brought before Florida voters — who could then vote it into the state constitution. If you want to submit your own amendment, you have until October 6.
Here are 3 of our favorite submissions, in no particular order.
The best part about this suggestion is that if you think it mandates a symbolic designation along the lines of a state bird or state flower, you are delightfully incorrect. Submitter Jesse Dyer of Monticello, Fla. doesn’t want Florida to pay lip service to NASCAR, he wants to turn Florida into one big NASCAR race.
The amendment calls for, among other things, the building of a racetrack “in every political subdivision with a population in excess of 50,000” (!) and for an abolition of all state speed limits.
Reached by phone, Dyer admitted his suggestion was a joke.
“I’m just a NASCAR fan. It was a fun joke, and some of my friends got a kick out of it,” Dyer said. “But maybe I really would like to abolish speed limits.”
It’s an old saying that Florida is actually several different states. This suggestion wants to make that metaphor a reality.
A submitter by the name of Sofla Exit (gotta respect the branding) of Plantation, Fla. writes, “After years of neglectful, corrupt, and abusive treatment from the rest of the State of Florida,” Palm Beach County, Broward County, Miami-Dade County and Monroe County should establish “The Independent Territory of South Florida.”
Mr., Ms. or Mx. Exit — whose existence was sadly unverifiable — does not specify in the suggestion whether the Independent Territory would be its own sovereign nation or the 51st state. So sure, SoFlaExit is not as catchy as California’s CalExit or Texas’s Texit, but it is, uh, just as likely to trigger another Civil War!
3. Flags, Seals, Symbols, (Or, the one that gives the Governor his own flag)
We had to include at least one of superstar submitter Loyal Millett’s 112 suggested amendments, because we believe in the persistent spirit of democracy. This amendment, which trashes the current state flag and replaces it with a design chosen by the voters, is really fun, too. Because as Boaty McBoatface taught us, voters always take aesthetic popular referenda very seriously.
(Update 11:15 — A reader pointed us to previous news coverage of Loyal Millett, whose existence we previously had trouble verifying.)
But there’s even more to this amendment! Millett, an Uber driver from Utah whose proposals got the attention of the Tallahassee Democrat earlier this year, also wants to create a separate flag for the governor of Florida. That flag, like the state flag, would be subject to its own popular referendum. We’re in the media, so obviously we’re in favor of anything that makes politics more like professional wrestling.
Millett doesn’t stop at assigning various flags. The amendment also designates 50 different official state symbols, including the official state individual sport: Snorkeling.
Of course, that would conflict with Dyer’s NASCAR suggestion. We suppose the commission — and then the voters of Florida, perhaps? — will have a tough decision to make.