USA and FL Constitution (Research Paper Sample)
Topic for writing assignment 1:
Florida's State Constitution
First, compare and contrast Florida's state constitution with the U.S. Constitution.
What is a constitution? What is its purpose?
Discuss in your paper the similarities (in the format and arrangement, structure of governmental offices, for example) and the differences (length of the documents, specificity, # of amendments, and so on) between these two documents.
When was each constitution proposed and where? When was each ratified, how, and by whom?
Next, find the processes by which Florida's Constitution can be amended. How many ways exist by which Florida's Constitution can be amended? List and describe each way.
Then, research online to find one proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution which was on the ballot in Florida last year (2020). Did it pass? What percentage of votes did it get from Florida voters? Describe, in your own words, what the amendment was about and what it would do or will do in our state.
Finally, provide your own informed opinion: Do most changes to our state law belong in the Florida state constitution or in our state statutes (Florida state law)? Why? What is the purpose of the state constitution, and what is the purpose of our state statutory laws?
Explain your views. Cite at least one outside news article somewhere in your paper as a source of recent information, in addition to your other sources.
Comparing and Contrasting the U.S. and Florida Constitutions
The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the U.S. The Constitution of the State of Florida (FL) outlines and defines the state government’s authorities, its structure, roles, and responsibilities, as well as the state's fundamental legislation. In many aspects, the U.S. and FL Constitutions are identical. They do, nevertheless, have a number of distinctive variations. The main subjects of both constitutions are, for the most part, similar. Within each basic theme, the variations are distinct.
Similarities and Differences
The structural similarities are the most striking. Both documents have a preamble, which is an introduction to the constitution that explains its purpose. Both feature Articles that describe the government's structure. They also have amendments, which are revisions to the original document. Nonetheless, both contain people's rights or personal freedoms. However, there are also some structural differences between the two documents. To begin with, the United States Constitution was written in 1787, whereas the present Florida Constitution was approved in 1968. Second, the US Constitution establishes the federal government's structure, whereas the Florida Constitution establishes state and local governments. Third, the United States Constitution includes the Bill of Rights and other amendments after the Articles, whereas the Florida Constitution includes the Declaration of Rights in Article I.
Amending the Constitutions of the U.S. and FL can also be done in a variety of ways. There have been 27 ratified amendments to the United States Constitution, while over 10,000 amendments have been proposed. Furthermore, since the first 10—which make up the Bill of Rights—were enacted in 1791, it has only been amended 17 times. A constitutional amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of Congress and a constitutional convention summoned by two-thirds of the state legislatures. During the ratification process, 3/4 of state legislatures and 3/4 of constitutional conventions must agree to put the amendments into effect (Bodenhamer p. 7). On the other hand, since 1968, the Florida constitution has been amended over 100 times. The five ways of proposing amendments are described later in this paper. All proposals must receive 60 percent approval from voters (Florida Division of Elections para. 3).
Constitution and its Purpose
A constitution is a combination of primary principles or precedents serving as legal groundwork for an identifiable political entity, organization, or institution and, mainly stipulates the way to govern the entity. Constitutions also define various government institutions, give a prescription of what composes them, defines their power and functions, and modulate the association between these institutions (Bulmer p. 5).
There are different general purpose or functions of having a constitution in place. According to Bulmer, a constitution has eight different functions (p. 6-7). First, a constitution establishes and outlines the political society's boundaries. Second, a constitution establishes and establishes the political society's nature and authority. Third, a constitution reflects a national community's identity and ideals. Fourth, a constitution establishes and outlines citizens' rights and responsibilities. Fifth, a constitution defines and governs the society's political systems. Sixth, a constitution distributes or allocates power among various levels of government. Seventh, a constitution establishes the state's official religious ideology and establishes the boundaries between sacred and secular institutions. Eighth, a constitution binds states to specific social, economic, or developmental ideals.
Constitutional Proposal and Ratification
The United States Constitution was proposed on May 25, 1787, after the United States Congress approved a resolution for drafting a new constitution. As a result, a Constitutional Convention was held at Philadelphia's Independence Hall. The new U.S. Constitution was signed by 38 delegates available at the end of this convened meeting on September 17, 1787, and established a federal government with a composite balance of powers. It became binding only after it was ratified by nine of the 13 states, a requirement under Article VII (Bodenhamer p. 8-11).
Later on, December 7 1787, another five states ratified the document: Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut. Nevertheless, the document faced opposition from states such as Massachusetts, who claimed that it never reserved undelegated powers to states and did not constitutionally protect the fundamental political rights, including freedom of speech, religion, and the press. Later, on February 1788, the state of Massachusetts came into agreement with other states that consented to the ratification of the document, under the guarantee of instant proposal of amendments. Consequently, the Constitution was ratified in Massachusetts by a small margin, and later in Maryland and South Carolina consecutively. The constitution was rarified on June 21, 1788 by New Hampshire (9th state ), prompting an agreement to start the federal government on March 4, 1789. Later, in June, the U.S. Constitution was ratified by Virginia and later in July by New York (Bodenhamer p. 11-12).
On the other hand, the present FL Constitution was advanced by three joint resolutions in extraordinary sittings of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives on June 24-July 3, 1968. The first was the House Joint Resolution 1-2X, which was inclusive revised Articles, not inclusive of Article V, Article VI, and Article VIII. The second was Senate Resolution 4-2X, that made a proposed of a new Article VI, relating to right to vote and political franchise. The third was Senate Resolution 5-2X, which made a proposal of a new Article VIII, defining law concerning local government. The 1885 constitution, as amended, comprised Article V. The committee that developed the Constitution was chaired by Chesterfield Smith, with LeRoy Collins as a member. The electorate accepted the constitution in a referendum on November 5, 1968, with one provision advanced from the 1885 Constitution, in accordance with the amendment (Florida Farm Bureau p. 3).
Processes of Amending Florida Constitution
The Constitution of FL state provides five ways through which amendments to the state’s constitution can be proposed. The first way is through Florida’s legislature. In this case, both houses have to reach a three-fifth threshold membership vote. The second way is through the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), that is set up every 20 years to take into consideration and make proposals of amendments. The commission first met in 1977 and recently met in 2017. The next set up is scheduled in 2037. The CRC is comprised of 37 members, including the Attorney General of Florida, 15 members selected by the FL Governor, nine members selected by FL House of Representative’s Speaker, none members selected by the Florida Senate’s President, and three members selected by Florida Supreme Court’s Chief Justice who is also advised by other justices. The third way is through the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission (TBRC). The TBRC is comprised of 25 members and is set up every
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