Legislature passes overhaul of state courts

May 5, 2011

The following article was published in the Tampa Tribune on May 5, 2011: 

Legislature Passes Overhaul of State Courts

Florida lawmakers have put a watered down court-system overhaul on the November 2012 ballot, where it’ll need 60 percent voter approval.

The proposed constitutional amendment (HJR 7111) received final legislative approval in the Senate by a 24-11 vote – the bare minimum needed for passage. The Senate earlier removed a provision from the House proposal that would have expanded the Supreme Court from seven to 10 justices and split them into two divisions for civil and criminal appeals.

The measure otherwise requires Senate confirmation of justices. It also asserts legislative authority over the court rulemaking and would require ta panel that investigates judicial misconduct to share information with lawmakers.

The overhaul was pushed by House Speaker Dean Cannon, but drew opposition from the legal community including former justices.

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