House bill would rewrite Art.V

first_img March 15, 2001 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News House bill would rewrite Art.V Senior Editor A proposed constitutional amendment that would do away with all judicial nominating commissions, require appellate judges up for retention to get a two-thirds approval rate, and dismantle The Florida Bar has been proposed in a rewrite of Article V introduced in the Florida House. HJR 627, by Rep. Fred Brummer, R-Apopka, would allow the governor to fill directly all appellate vacancies with the consent of the state Senate. It would also set a two-year minimum limit on writs of habeas corpus and give the legislature vastly increased powers over court procedural rules. And those are only some of the changes in the 36-page measure. Bar President Herman Russomanno said many of the changes in bill are “troubling” and some of the proposals would have the state revert to systems and practices which were purposefully changed decades ago to provide accountability and remove politics from the system. “Floridians expect fairness and impartiality in the court system and their expectations are justified and attainable,” Russomanno said. “But the efforts to stampede the judicial branch and the legal profession with unwarranted changes such as those proposed in HB 627 are completely contrary to what Floridians clearly want.” Bar President-elect Terry Russell said the bill ignores several past problems with the judiciary and court system that the current constitution fixes. “It’s regressive,” he said. Tallahassee attorney Barry Richard, the Bar’s outside counsel, said the overall effect of the proposal would be to increase the influence of politics in the court system. “This resolution would set our state back 100 years,” Richard said. “It would remove all checks on the politicization of judicial selection, place incumbent judges at the whim of the legislature or any groups of persons dissatisfied with a particular decision, and significantly reduce the independence of the judiciary, a critical element in the maintenance of a just and democratic society,” Richard said. The Bar has also picked up indications that the House Committee on Judicial Oversight could consider Brummer’s bill early in the Regular Session, which opened March 6 as this News went to press. At deadline, no companion bill had been introduced in the Senate. As a constitutional amendment, it must get a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate before it can be submitted to voters next year. Russomanno also said in many respects the Bar was “stunned” by the bill, particularly in that it addresses many issues studied extensively by legislative directive in recent years by the 1995 Article V Task Force, the 1997-98 Constitution Revision Commission and the 2000-01 Supreme Court Workload Study Commission. HJR 627 makes changes throughout Article V. One provision appears aimed at Secretary of State Katherine Harris’ actions in last year’s disputed election that were challenged in court. A new subsection (b) in Section 1 provides that there must be some legal or equitable claim for a court to issue a quo warranto writ. It also limits cases when those writs could be used, which apparently would drastically limit citizens’ ability to challenge a public official’s action in court. The language specifically provides: “The power to issue a writ of quo warranto does not establish power to review any right, power or duty of a public official other than the right to hold the particular office claimed by such official, and the writ of quo warranto shall not be used for any purpose except to test a person’s authority to continue holding an office when challenged by competing claimant to such office.” The section would also allow the legislature by law to set a statute of limitation on the writs. Other sections on specific courts’ powers affect habeas corpus writs. The amendment adds language that judges may issue the writs “provided that such writs are subject to statutes of limitation of not shorter than two years from the final judgment or mandate on direct appeal in a criminal case.” Judicial Restraint Several other sections are aimed at restricting the power and activities of the courts. Section 1 would have language added that, “Subject to any additional limits in this constitution, the jurisdiction of such courts shall extend only to actual cases in law, equity, admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, and to actual controversies arising under the constitution and the laws of the State of Florida and of the United States.” Richard noted that could be read to eliminate the court’s authority to issue declaratory judgments and also to exercise oversight of the practice of law. The legislature also would be given power in that section to designate that a district court of appeal could exercise statewide jurisdiction “respecting any subject matter granted. . . by general law.” Richard said this provision could be read that the legislature could assign a matter to a DCA to the exclusion of the Supreme Court. Some observers have suggested the legislature could use the section to create a statewide court of criminal appeals. Court procedural rules “may not be inconsistent with statutes in place at the time of adoption of such rules, shall be revised to conform to subsequently adopted statutes that regulate substantive rights, and may be repealed by general law. Rules adopted pursuant to this section shall neither abridge, enlarge, nor modify the substantive rights of any litigant, but additional rulemaking power may be expressly delegated to courts by general law.” Richard noted that language eliminates the distinction between substantive and procedural rules and allows the legislature to write court rules. He said there has not been any criticisms or problems with rules that would justify such a change. Dropped from the constitution would be a provision requiring a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate to override a court rule. The court would be allowed to issue advisory opinions on the request of the attorney general or governor, but opinions issued at the request of the governor “shall not be binding upon any party not voluntarily participating in such proceeding.” The measure would also limit the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to items enumerated in the constitution, including judicial discipline. Section 9 of Article V would be rewritten. Currently, when the Supreme Court certifies the need for new judges or to reduce judges, the legislature can change the number, but it requires a two-thirds vote. The bill would simply allow the legislature to set the number of judges by law, including the number in each circuit and county court. The Supreme Court would be able to make recommendations on increasing or decreasing the number of judges and also on changing the district and circuits. The proposed revision did keep the number of Supreme Court justices at seven. Retention Upped Section 10 would be changed to require that Supreme Court justices and district court of appeal judges get a two-thirds “yes” vote in their merit retention referenda. That could have a potentially devastating impact on the First District Court of Appeal and substantial impacts on other appellate courts. While all three First DCA judges on last November’s ballots would have been retained, it would have been very close if they were retained with 68 to 69 percent of the vote. However, all six judges on the 1998 merit retention ballot and all four on the 1996 ballot would have lost, as they garnered 63 to 64 percent “yes” votes less than the 66.67 required in the proposed amendment. Results from 1994 were not immediately available, but in 1992, all six First DCA judges on the ballot would have lost, as well as all five on the ballot in the Fifth DCA and two in the Second DCA. In 1992, there was organized opposition to then Chief Justice Rosemary Barkett and she wound up with 60.9-percent approval a landslide by most standards, but not enough under the bill. In addition, the other three justices on the ballot Justice Major B. Harding and former Justices Ben F. Overton and Parker Lee McDonald would have fallen short of the two-thirds vote, by one to less than two percent. As Richard noted, “Judges, who among public officers should be the least sensitive to public opinion, would be made more subject to the sway of public sentiment than executive or legislative officers.” Trial judges would remain elected, but midterm vacancies, as well as all vacancies on the appellate courts, would be filled directly by the governor without using judicial nominating commissions. Those appointments would be subject to “the advice and consent of the Senate.. . . ” The Article V provisions setting up the JNCs and governing their actions would be stricken under Brummer’s measure. The bill provides that if the Senate is not in session when the appointment is made and does not call itself into session to consider a nomination within 30 days, then the nomination is deemed approved. If the Senate is in session and fails to confirm a nominee within 30 days, then the nomination is rejected, unless Senate rules allow for an exemption. If judges find their jurisdiction and powers limited, they could become more politically active. Brummer’s bill would constitutionally override judicial canons that prevent judges from becoming involved in partisan politics or expressing their views on issues likely to come before them on the bench. The bill specifically provides, “No judicial rule of conduct or other court rule may limit the political rights of candidates for election or appointment to judicial office, including, but not limited to, serving a political organization, endorsing or opposing other candidates for public office, making speeches, attending political functions, or making statements with respect to issues; however such limits consistent with other provisions of this constitution may be imposed by general law.” The amendment, while not mentioning it by name, would do away with or substantially reduce The Florida Bar by changing Section 15. That revised section would allow the legislature to assume at least some oversight of the profession. The section provides that the Supreme Court would have exclusive jurisdiction over admission and discipline for those practicing, according to a new phrase added to the section, “before the courts of this state.” Also added to the section is this provision: “The cost of such regulation and discipline shall be funded by appropriations, disciplinary penalties, and fees paid to the Supreme Court as authorized by general law. No attorney may be required to pay dues to any organization and no fees may be otherwise assessed by the court as a condition to admission to practice law before the courts of this state. The professional practice of law other than before the courts of this state may be regulated by general law.” “This provision would eliminate the Bar as an arm of the Supreme Court and make the court’s ability to regulate [the] practice [of law] entirely dependent upon the willingness of the legislature to fund the regulation,” Richard wrote. With the Judicial Qualifications Commission, the Bar’s four lawyer appointments would be taken away and given to the legislature. Among other changes proposed in Brummer’s bill are: • An addition to Section 14 that, “Any prevailing party in any civil proceeding or any defendant convicted in any criminal proceeding may be assessed, as provided by general law, the full cost of all services utilized and expenses incurred in such proceeding as determined by the clerk of the circuit or county court, to the extent that such services or expenses are provided by appropriations, fees, or service charges.. . . Such assessments may be enforced as any money judgment or tax obligation.” • An addition to Section 3(b)(5) that when a case is certified to the Supreme Court as being of great public importance, “the district court’s jurisdiction shall be retained unless and until the Supreme Court issues an order accepting jurisdiction.” • The opt-in, opt-out merit selection plan for trial judges added to the constitution in 1998 by voters would be stricken. (That was a two-part process. The voter approval in 1998 set up a referendum in every circuit and county last November, on whether voters wanted to continue electing their trial judges or switch to a merit system. By a decisive margin in every jurisdiction, voters chose to continue with elections.) • A provision of Section 14 that says courts have no power to fix appropriations would be changed to read that courts “have no power to fix or order any modification of appropriations.” • The requirement that one Supreme Court justice come from the jurisdiction of each of the five district courts of appeal would be removed. • The section that allows retired judges over the age of 70 to sit in temporary assignments would be removed. • Various requirements to hold law-related offices, such as judgeships, or elected state attorneys or public defenders, would remain unchanged except that those office-holders would not be required to be Florida Bar members. Instead they would have to be “authorized to practice law in Florida.”center_img House bill would rewrite Art.Vlast_img read more


Smithtown’s New Zoning District Lets Hauppauge Industrial Park Add Space, Jobs

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York In a major victory for the Hauppauge Industrial Association—which oversees a 1,400-acre business-hub industrial park that is home to more than 1,300 companies—the Smithtown Town Board voted earlier this month to establish a new zoning district that will give the facility greater flexibility to handle its own development.“The new zoning rules will promote investment among our business members, allowing them to expand,” says Terri Alessi-Miceli, president of the HIA.The adoption of the zoning overlay district arrives on the heels of another HIA project, one aimed to improve the industrial park’s 30-year-old sewer system. Begun in 2013, the sewer system expansion project aims to increase daily capacity from 600,000 gallons to over 1.5 million gallons, which would add capacity for commercial expansion.One of the largest industrial parks in the nation, the Hauppauge Industrial Park comprises more than 60 percent of the companies in the HIA, with more than 55,000 people employed in construction, manufacturing and service industries, according to its president. Among the corporate offices in the park are the Coca Cola Company, consumer electronics producer Audiovox, satellite-communications company Globecomm, and Allstate.According to Alessi-Miceli, who declined to give a total amount, the HIA has worked with the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency to provide its members millions of dollars in property tax abatements and sales tax exemptions in order to help the companies complete their investment projects and expand their sales operations.The new zoning rule could pave the way for an increase in growth, says Alessi-Miceli. Building heights that are currently limited at 35 feet could now rise to 50 feet, a 43 percent increase. The new allowance could let existing business members add more office space or create room for new businesses to set up in the park. The growth does not stop there. Buildings along Vanderbilt Motor Parkway received an extra boost to hit 62 feet. The zoning legislation also allows for increased outdoor storage and the installment of two-story parking garages, which the HIA claims will help its members organize their businesses better and get to work faster.Accommodating new companies vertically, rather than horizontally, could also alleviate the severe traffic congestion, which Alessi-Miceli acknowledged was the biggest problem facing the park in 2009 when she spoke with the Long Island Business News. Six years later, the HIA is still trying to help improve its members’ productivity and the park’s mobility.The overlay district vote was temporarily delayed by a request from HBO. Its communications center is stationed in the Hauppauge Industrial Park, and its executives expressed concerns that heightened buildings could have potentially interfered with HBO’s satellite transmissions to its millions of subscribers worldwide. But upon further investigation, HBO found no cause for worry, and the Smithtown zoning vote went underway.The new district could have a profound economic impact on the Town of Smithtown, which has jurisdiction over the main portion of the Hauppauge Industrial Park’s real estate. The park already is an asset for Smithtown’s economy; its land and buildings account for about 70 percent of the total assessed value of industrial property in Smithtown. According to the HIA, the industrial park currently generates over $19 million in annual tax revenue for the town. Easing building regulations could open up the door to additional tax revenue, as well as address the town’s inefficient handling of building-permits.Over the last three years, the unemployment rate for Smithtown has been falling from its 20-year high of 7.2 percent in July 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The town’s unemployment rate stands at 4.2 percent as of June, well below New York’s state-wide average of 5.5 percent.Further developments to the Hauppauge Industrial Park may put even more downward pressure on the town’s unemployment rate.“More jobs can be created to fill the new office spaces and satisfy the need for additional services,” says Alessi-Miceli.Whether all these zoning changes will make a difference remains to be seen but at least things at the park are looking up.last_img read more


German tourists are still the most numerous on the Adriatic

first_imgIn May 2018, tourists spent the most nights in hotels, 2,2 million overnight stays, which is 38% of the total number of overnight stays. Compared to May 2017, hotels recorded an increase in arrivals by 13% and an increase in tourist nights by 14%.In May 2018, 252 thousand rooms, apartments and camping places with a total of 648 thousand permanent beds were available to tourists.In the group Resorts and similar facilities for short vacations, there were a total of 100 thousand rooms and suites available to tourists (which is 40% of the total number of available rooms and suites) with a total of 264 thousand permanent beds (which is 41% of the total number of available permanent beds ).In the group Hotels and similar accommodation tourists had at their disposal a total of 76 thousand rooms and suites (which is 30% of the total number of available rooms and suites) with a total of 158 thousand permanent beds (which is 24% of the total number of available permanent bed). The average occupancy of rooms was 59,6%, and permanent beds 55,7%.Tourists aged 65 and over realized the most overnight staysSource: CBSIn May 2018, tourists in the age group of 65 and over realized the most overnight stays, 1,1 million, which is 18% of the total overnight stays. They are followed by tourists in the age group from 55 to 64 years with 980 thousand overnight stays, which is 17% of total overnight stays, and tourists in the age group from 45 to 54 years with 933 thousand overnight stays, which is 16% of total overnight stays.Domestic tourists prefer the City of Zagreb, and foreign tourists DubrovnikIn the first five months of 2018, domestic tourists realized the most overnight stays in the City of Zagreb, Rovinj – Rovigno, Opatija, Split, Dubrovnik and Zadar, which is 31% of the total number of overnight stays of domestic tourists.Foreign tourists prefer Dubrovnik, then the City of Zagreb, Rovinj – Rovigno, Poreč – Parenzo, Split and Umag – Umago, which is 35% of the total overnight stays of foreign tourists. Hotels achieved the most overnight stays In the first five months of 2018, tourists made 3,5 million arrivals and 10,3 million overnight stays in commercial accommodation facilities, which is an increase of 19% in arrivals and a 24% increase in tourist overnight stays compared to the same period in 2017.In the first five months of 2018, domestic tourists realized 655 thousand arrivals and 1,4 million overnight stays, which is 10% more arrivals and 8% more tourist nights than in the same period last year.In the first five months of 2018, foreign tourists realized 2,8 million arrivals and 8,9 million overnight stays, which is an increase of 22% in arrivals and a 27% increase in tourist overnight stays compared to the same period last year. Most overnight stays of foreign tourists were realized by tourists from Germany (27%), Austria (11%), Slovenia (9%) and the United Kingdom (7%).In May, 35% of the total overnight stays were made by tourists from GermanyMost overnight stays of foreign tourists in May 2018 were realized by tourists from Germany, 1,9 million overnight stays (35% of the total overnight stays of foreign tourists) and tourists from Austria, with 588 thousand overnight stays of tourists (11% of the total overnight stays of foreign tourists ), according to data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (DSZ).Compared to May 2017, tourists from Germany achieved a significant increase in arrivals by 91% and an increase in overnight stays by 116%, and tourists from Austria achieved an increase in arrivals by 50% and an increase in overnight stays by 26%. , 8,3%), Slovenia (5,0%), Poland (4,0%) and France (3,6%) of the Netherlands (3,4%) and the USA (3,2%).Double-digit increase in tourist arrivals and overnight staysIn May 2018, 1,6 million tourist arrivals and 5,8 million tourist nights were realized in commercial accommodation facilities. Compared to May 2017, there were 30,7% more tourist arrivals and 39,9% more overnight stays.Domestic tourists realized 200 thousand arrivals and 441 thousand overnight stays, which is an increase of arrivals by 10,9% and an increase of overnight stays by 8,4% compared to May 2017. Foreign tourists realized 1,4 million arrivals and 5,3 million overnight stays , which is 34,0% more arrivals and 43,4% more overnight stays compared to May 2017.Source: CBSIstria County is still the first in terms of the number of overnight staysThe County of Istria achieved the largest number of tourist arrivals and overnight stays in May 2018, 434 thousand arrivals and almost 2 million tourist overnight stays. Rovinj with 325 thousand overnight stays of tourists and Poreč with 276 thousand overnight stays are the cities with the highest number of overnight stays in the Istria County.Domestic tourists increased their arrivals by 4,6% and increased their overnight stays by 6,6%, while foreign tourists increased their arrivals by 53,8% and increased their overnight stays by 60,7%. Tourists from Germany realized the most overnight stays, more than 900 thousand (45% of the total overnight stays in the County of Istria). Compared to May 2017, tourists from Germany achieved a significant increase in arrivals by 123% and an increase in overnight stays by 140%.Dubrovnik, the city with the highest number of tourist nightsIn May 2018, Dubrovnik was the city with the highest number of overnight stays of tourists in commercial accommodation, with 460 thousand overnight stays. Most overnight stays were realized in the group Hotels and similar accommodation, 60%, and then in the group Resorts and similar facilities for short breaks, 39%.Compared to May 2017, domestic tourists in Dubrovnik recorded an increase in arrivals by 4,1% and overnight stays by 5,5%, and foreign tourists recorded an increase in arrivals and overnight stays by 13,7%. Most overnight stays were realized by tourists from the United Kingdom, 114 thousand, and tourists from the US, 51 thousand overnight stays.last_img read more


Unai Emery ready to put Arsenal flop Shkodran Mustafi on the transfer list in the summer

first_imgSergio Aguero’s hat-trick condemned Arsenal to a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City last week (Picture: Getty)‘But the fellow next to him, Mustafi, has never been good enough since the day he walked in the door and that’s the reason why all the goals come down there.‘To see Arsenal defend like that, there’s a big job there for Unai Emery to do.’Mustafi was the subject of two failed bids from Inter in the summer of 2017 but the deal fell through with Arsenal unable to find a suitable replacement.Emery was restricted to signing players on loan during the January transfer window and is reportedly likely to be handed a modest £45m kitty to work with in the summer, although that could still be boosted by player sales.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal Shkodran Mustafi was signed for £35million by Arsene Wenger in 2016 (Picture: Getty)Arsenal will listen to offers for Shkodran Mustafi in the summer as Unai Emery attempts to raise extra funds to rejuvenate his squad.The Germany international became the third most expensive defender of all-time when Arsene Wenger agreed to pay £35million to Valencia in the summer of 2016.Mustafi has failed to come anywhere close to justifying that outlay and the Telegraph reports that Arsenal are ready to place the 26-year-old on the transfer list at the end of the season.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityEmery has been unable to illicit a significant improvement in Mustafi’s performances, culminating in Sunday’s error-strewn display against Manchester City which prompted scathing criticism from Sky pundit Jamie Carragher.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘Lichtsteiner is not good enough. Maybe you could argue because of his age,’ the former Liverpool defender said at full-time. Advertisement Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 5 Feb 2019 2:12 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link115Shares Unai Emery ready to put Arsenal flop Shkodran Mustafi on the transfer list in the summer Advertisement Commentlast_img read more