Monday, December 12, 2011

Supremes to offer last word on constitutionality of county term limits

The Florida Supreme Court has decided to hear an appeal of the 4th District Court of Appeals decision in August that unanimously affirmed the constitutionality of voter-approved term limits throughout the state.

Here's the Supreme Court's order, issued today.

The appeal is being led by county politicians and their allies in Broward County who have been using the courts, so far unsuccessfully, to try to overturn 2000 referendum in which 80 percent of Broward voters limited the term of their county commissioners. The petitioners initial brief is due by Jan. 6, 2012.

If the Supreme Court affirms the 4th DCA's decision, it will finally secure the county commission term limits passed by voters in 10 of Florida's 20 charter -- or "home rule" -- counties. It would also give a green light to nascent county term limits efforts getting under way in Lee, Osceola and Miami-Dade Counties.

Politicians have challenged voter-approved term limits in several counties, notably Sarasota County where term limits are in the charter but where politicians have used local litigation and political manuevers to avoid enforcement. It is expected the Supreme Court will put a stop to such shenanigans. We'll see.

UPDATE: The court has also agreed to hear the Polk County case in which a county commissioner and a local crony are suing to try to overturn term limits.

UPDATE: In Sarasota, where local politicians are refusing to enforce the term limits in their county charter, a group of 16 citizens are asking a local judge to force the county to comply. Further, they are asking that the case go directly to the Supreme Court a la Polk.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First committee to hear Congressional term limits memorial

Good news! Per grassroots lobbyist John Hallman of the Campaign for Liberty, Rep. Matt Caldwell's Term Limits Memorial bill (HB83) will be heard in Federal Affairs Committee the first week of session, the week of January 10th. The next step will be the State Affairs Committee and then to the floor. Rep. Caldwell is confident.

Recall this Memorial is an official call from the Florida legislature to our Congressional delegation to support Congressional term limits. For the full story, go here.

Right now, the heavy lifting is on the Senate side. Keep in mind that genuine representatives of the people like Caldwell are few and far between. For the others, they need pressure from the people to do the right thing.

The first committee in the senate is the Rules Subcommittee on Ethics and Elections. Let's contact the cahirman and ask for a hearing on Sen. Joe Negron's SB672, the Senate version of the Congressional Term Limits Memorial. Let's contact the others and ask them to support the bill. Just click on the senators names to send them an email.

Sen. Greg Evers is already on board and deserves a 'thank you.' Sen. Don Gaetz is the incoming Senate president and is worthy of special attention.

Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R)
Vice Chair:
Senator Nancy C. Detert (R)

Senator JD Alexander (R)
Senator Oscar Braynon, II (D)
Senator Paula Dockery (R)
Senator Greg Evers (R)
Senator Don Gaetz (R)
Senator Arthenia L. Joyner (D)
Senator Steve Oelrich (R)
Senator Garrett Richter (R)
Senator David Simmons (R)
Senator Christopher L. "Chris" Smith (D)
Senator Eleanor Sobel (D)
Senator John Thrasher (R)

We need eight votes and only have one definite. Let's get to work!