Jason Fischer’s proposed bill J-1 is working on the premise that the state legislators can change a city’s charter without the vote of the citizens or the city council. That’s outrageous!
On August 8, 2019 the legislative aid to Representative Fischer, in a meeting with some of the citizens of Jacksonville, said the unique structure of Jacksonville's consolidation allows the power behind the bill J-1. Also another aid to the Duval Delegation let me know (via email) that he was told there were special rules highlighted in the Florida Constitution dictating what a “consolidated government” can and cannot do, and that’s what is governing bill J-1. I assume both people were talking about Article VIII section 9.
I hope the Jacksonville City Council is worried about the bizarre interpretation of Article VIII Section 9 by the Office of General Counsel (OGC). Here are two bullet points from OGC Jason Gabriel's presentation:
● Under the Jacksonville Consolidation Amendment in Article VIII, section 9 Florida Constitution (1885), as held over, the State Legislature retains jurisdiction to amend or extend the Charter without referendum.
●The Duval County Legislative Delegation can follow the recommendation of the City Council or it can ignore it and approve or disapprove J-Bills on its own.
Those two bullet points are wrong because of section 6 of Article VIII. Excerpt from Section 6 of Article VIII: "Article VIII Section 9 shall remain in full force ... until that county shall expressly adopt a charter or home rule plan pursuant to this article."
Doesn't that say Article VIII Section 9 is no longer applicable once a county adopts a charter (which we have)? I hope everyone is outraged by Jason Fischer’s proposed bill J-1 and Jason Gabriel’s outlandish interpretation giving the state legislature power over our city’s charter.
The way I read the process (see link below) that Jason Fischer used to propose bill J-1, it is a way for a local city or county to ask to be exempt from a state law. It is not a way to circumvent a city charter that calls for the vote of the people or the vote of the city council before our charter is changed. Also the process certainly is not a way to request to be exempt from Florida's Constitution. Article IX Section 4 of Florida's Constitution clearly says the school board must be elected. Florida’s Constitution can only be changed by the voters.
Explanation of the process that Jason Fischer used to propose his bill J-1: https://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?PublicationType=Committees&CommitteeId=3025&Session=2019&DocumentType=General%20Publications&FileName=FINAL%202018-2020%20Local%20Bill%20Manual.pdf&fbclid=IwAR0MkMJv41WqB1mlmLwKMBWTYS2B2Ov-h1lzx2-Wva9Eis8Muj9g-lzayMU
Bill J-1: http://www.coj.net/departments/duval-legislative-delegation/docs/ada-accessibility/j-1.aspx
Quote from slide 16 of Jacksonville Office of General Counsel Jason Gabriel's power point presentation stating his bizarre interpretation of Article VIII Section 9: "This retention of authority allows the Legislature, by special act, to consider and enact amendments which normally require a referendum to approve the ordinance."
Link to Jason Gabriel's power point presentation was included in this blog: https://grumpyoldteacher.com/2019/08/07/a-j-bill/