4/20/18: Guns In Schools, Proposed Changes To Florida's Constitution

Apr 20, 2018

Voters will decide a stack of proposed changes to the state constitution. That’s in this week’s Florida Roundup podcast along with a look at how schools could put more people with guns on campuses to protect students.

The race to be the next governor is picking up speed and more than a dozen proposed changes to the state constitution will be on the fall ballot.

Florida Constitution Proposals Shift To Voters

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has finished its work. The 37 member panel meets every 20 years to consider changes to the state. Last Monday the group approved eight proposed constitutional amendments for voters to consider in November.

They will join five other amendments put forward by the Legislature or citizen initiatives.

Most of the CRC’s final proposals had several ideas grouped together into single amendments.

One such plan bundles term limits for school board members with civic literacy and charter school oversight.

Several CRC members tried to stop the grouping of proposals. Former Democratic State Senator Arthenia Joyner thinks voters will be turned off by the move.

"If they sincerely believe in something, and you put them together, the people are going to go negative and vote it down. Then, the good goes down with the bad,” Joyner said.

All proposed amendments must be approved by more than 60 percent of Florida voters to take effect.

Tampa Bay Times  Tallahassee Bureau Chief Steve Bousquet and

Lloyd Dunkelberger, a reporter with the News Service of Florida joined us to discuss the porposals.

School Safety

The deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in February led to a massive gun bill named after the school. A provision of the new law requires all public schools to have either a campus police officer or a school employee trained to carry a gun.

The Duval County School Board quickly passed a resolution against arming school employees. So did the Broward School Board - where Stoneman Douglas High School is located.

But Duval School Police Department Chief - Michael Edwards - told the board this week it would be too expensive to hire another 103 sworn officers. Instead, he proposed the district hire “school safety assistants.” They would be trained and work under his department -- and they would have no other job duties at the schools.

Several board members have said they would be comfortable with this compromise proposal.

WJCT Reporter Lindsey Kilbride, Duval School Board Nember Paula Wright and Broward School Board Member Robin Bartleman joined us to dig into the school safety issue.

Gubernatorial Race

The four major Democratic candidates for Florida governor had their first debate Wednesday in Tampa.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine wants less testing for public school students and less money going to charter schools -- although he couldn't say how much the state spends on education.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham said former President Barack Obama told her he was proud of her, even though she often voted against his policy proposals.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum touted his city’s defiance of a state law banning local gun ordinances that are stricter than those in Florida law.

And Winter Park entrepreneur Chris King billed himself as an outsider with new ideas -- and promised not take money from the sugar industry.

The Democrats debated while the Republican candidates have agreed to debate in late June.

Current Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has raised more than $20 million -- three times as much as his challenger Congressman Ron DeSantis.

Tampa Bay Times political correspondent William March with his analysis of the race so far.