The “Style and Drafting” sub-committee was directly responsible for grouping the amendments together. We spoke to Commissioner Hank Coxe over the phone, and he was not a fan of the practice.
“It became clear that they were contemplating bundling a number of these provisions or proposals," said Commissioner Coxe, "I thought it was wrong to do that. Totally wrong. I thought it was an insult to the voters.”
There’s nothing illegal about the Constitution Revision Commission bundling amendments, although citizens and the legislature can’t do it. But some make the argument it does confuse voters.
For instance, the topics of proposal 9 are vaping, oil and gas. The first part of the amendment would prohibit vaping indoors and in the workplace. The second part of the amendment would prohibit offshore oil and gas drilling. You wouldn't usually put these two topics in the same category, but they are in a bundle for voters to vote on.
The commission had at least one debate about bundling, and from reading the transcripts of the meetings, it seemed contentious. We reached out to multiple members of this commission, but Commissioner Coxe was the only one who responded.
Coxe sent a letter to the entire committee in April urging them not to group amendments. In the letter Coxe tells commissioners that they owe the citizens of Florida the opportunity to decide on each proposal to be placed on the ballot.
"In simple terms, grouping cheats the citizens of that privilege," said Coxe, "and forces the citizens to decide based on the political drive of Commissioners.'
We’re still looking into exactly why certain amendments got grouped together or if the committee put a limit on how many amendments they wanted to put on the ballot. And when we find out, we’ll let you know.
You can read the full letter Commissioner Coxe wrote in April below.