Key panel devolves into farce | Oct. 29, editorial
Commission listens to citizens
This Times editorial misrepresents how the Constitution Revision Commission is actively incorporating ideas and proposed constitutional amendments submitted by Floridians. Direct sponsorship of a public proposal is only one of several ways public input is incorporated in the CRC process. To assert that only six public proposal submissions were advanced by the CRC is an intellectually dishonest statement.
The 2017-18 CRC has received historic public input compared to previous commissions. Thousands of Floridians attended our statewide public hearings and thousands more have taken the time to share their thoughts and ideas with us by email and on social media. We also received more than 2,000 public proposal submissions. As we reviewed these public proposals, comments and ideas, it became clear that hundreds of citizens were proposing similar changes to the Florida Constitution.
For example, nearly 600 public proposals submitted to the CRC were related to the issue of E-Verify. In response, one CRC commissioner recently filed a proposal on the same topic so it can be more thoroughly vetted and considered in the committee process.
At CRC public hearings held across the state, many Floridians came before the CRC to present their ideas to commissioners. Two of the most popular topics were the restoration of felon rights and repeal of the alien land law. Both issues have been picked up by commissioners who have created proposals reflecting those ideas in the appropriate legal language.
This is a public-driven process and we encourage all interested Floridians to continue sharing their feedback as we incorporate their ideas into proposals that may eventually be placed on Florida's 2018 general election ballot. Proposals being considered by the CRC are available for public review on our website at flcrc.gov/Proposals/Commissioner.
Carlos Beruff, chairman, 2017-18 Constitution Revision Commission, Tallahassee
House backs $4T budget | Oct. 27
Wrong time for tax cuts
The economy has slowly rebounded since the crash of 2009. The top 1 percent have experienced unfathomable increases in their personal wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high. Many corporations find that they have never been more powerful or profitable — parking most of their profits offshore to avoid taxation all together.
Yet, we continue to run the government at a deficit. Throw in proposed record increases to military spending, never-ending undeclared wars, and the added costs of dealing with multiple national disasters, and you have a machine that is severely leaking oil. Any good mechanic knows that to keep the motor from seizing, you have to stop the leak and add back more oil.
There is no rationale for the tax giveaways that Congress is proposing. The corporations who receive the tax cuts will not use the money to create jobs. Jobs are created by demand, not tax cuts. They will use this money to buy back their shares and/or declare dividends for their shareholders.
Tax cuts for the poor and middle class will stimulate the economy, because they will spend it all. Not true with the super-rich and tax-dodging corporations. For them, we should be talking about a return to a tax system that we had in the '50s and '60s.
Gary Gibbons, Tampa
Trump orders many JFK files to remain closed | Oct. 27
End the secrecy
I am concerned but not shocked that the government did not release the last of the Kennedy assassination documents. I believe that all government documents belong to the American people; the claim that they could be "damaging" to our country after more than 50 years is absurd.
If documents remain secret forever or are redacted forever, how will we ever know the truth of what they contain? What could the CIA, FBI and State Department be hiding? It seems to me that there is a conspiracy: one of silence by government agencies that don't want to be embarrassed by their past behavior and failures.
They foster suspicion for no good reason at all.
Arthur A. McTighe, Tierra Verde
War of words imperils Republican agenda Oct. 26, commentary
I take umbrage at George LeMieux's conclusion that Sen. John McCain voted against the repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act because McCain did not like Donald Trump's remarks about McCain's POW status.
Some politicians do not act on personal insults. Some politicians are mature enough to not need their ego stroked constantly. McCain knew the repeal measure was not good legislation. He voted with logic, not revenge.
Teddy Buell, Clearwater
Annual checks needed
When individuals apply for a Florida concealed weapons carry permit, they are required to have demonstrated competence with their weapon once, which is documented in their initial permit application. That permit is good for seven years. After seven years, if the individual reapplies, that individual faces no requirement to demonstrate continued competence.
In 2004, President George W. Bush signed HR 218, the Law Enforcement Officers' Safety Act, into law. It allows individuals who have retired in good standing from a law enforcement agency to carry their weapon concealed as long as they carry appropriate identification and show evidence of having qualified annually with the type of weapon they carry.
If retired law enforcement officers are required to qualify annually to show continued competence in the handling of their weapon, it certainly makes sense that non-law enforcement individuals who carry a Florida concealed weapon permit should also be required to demonstrate competence on an annual basis.
Robert Cromwell, St. Petersburg