Proposed constitutional amendments to be discussed during June 11 CONA meeting

Session planned to educate voters about bundling of proposed changes

Image from the CONA website

On June 11, the Sarasota County Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) will presenta discussion of the proposed stateConstitutional Review Committee (CRC) ballot amendments, which “voters will need to understand in order to determine which ones they will approve,” CONA has announced.

Sarasota County Tax Collector Barbara Ford-Coates, Dennis Maleyand Lourdes Ramirez will discuss the issues, a news release says.

Sixty percent of voters must approve each amendment for the measure to become law, the release adds. This year, “decisions about many changes to the state constitution have been complicated further by the CRC grouping its proposed changes instead of using the traditional single-issue amendment format that is more familiar to voters,” the release explains.

Every 20 years, a committee is appointed to review the state constitution and to draft changes committee members alone recommend, the release continues. “Contrary to the typical procedures for state constitutional amendments, these are not citizen-initiated through a process that requires the consent of a significant portion of the voters just to get one onto the ballot,” the release adds with emphasis. The grouping of amendments this year “has been used to obscure the large number of the 2018 committee’s proposed changes,” the release says.

“The grouping device seems designed to require voters to adopt unpopular changes in order to approve popular changes,” the release adds. Careful scrutiny and understanding will be needed this year in order to avoid approval of changes to the state constitution that are not desired — just because they are tied to a change that voters do desire,” the release says.

Both historical and contemporary perspectives of the amendments proposed by this Constitutional Review Committee will be presented to assist voters in making their decisions, the release notes.

A question-and-answer session will follow the discussion.

Following a traditional half-hour social beforehand, the meeting will open with brief updates from Chris Bales on Arbour Lake PreserveBen Cannon on the proposed expansion of the Bath and Racquet ClubSura Kochman on Siesta Promenadeand Tom Matrullo on the Fresh Start initiative for projects on county-owned land next to the Celery Fields, the release says.

See for more about CONA.

CONA holds its sessionsat the Sarasota Garden Club, which is located at 1131 Boulevard of the Arts in Sarasota. The building is at the intersection of Tamiami Trail, just south of the Municipal Auditorium. The parking area and the entrance are reached from Van Wezel Way.