first_img Bar takes legislative positions Dealing with constitutional amendments and lawyers for juveniles The Florida Bar Board of Governors has adopted two new legislative positions involving constitutional amendments and lawyers for juveniles, as the legislature worked on bills in both areas.Acting at its April 8 meeting in Tallahassee, the board followed the recommendation of the Legislation Committee and approved the recommendations of the Special Committee on Constitutional Amendments and the Legal Needs of Children Committee in adopting the new positions. (An official notice on both new lobbying stances is in this News. )At its January meeting, the board had tabled the proposal from the Special Committee on Constitutional Amendments. That panel advocated that the Bar adopt a position saying all constitutional amendments fit three criteria: They affect an existing provision of the constitution; they deal with a basic right of citizens; or they address the basic structure of government.Special committee Chair Harold Melville reported that the concern raised in January, that such an amendment might preclude the a future amendment on judicial nominating commissions, was unfounded. He noted that JNCs are already mentioned in the constitution, hence any further amendment would pass the “filter” test.The special committee also modified the recommendation to apply only to initiative amendments, and the board approved the new position.The legislature is considering a variety of issues on constitutional amendments, including requiring them to pass with 60 percent of the vote, requiring that they pass with 60 percent of the vote in 60 percent of the congressional districts, limiting the subject to basic issues, and tightening requirements for initiative petition signature gatherers.The second action came as a suggestion from the Legal Needs of Children Committee that the board adopt the committee’s position holding that children in the delinquency system should not be able to waive their right to an attorney unless they had a meaningful opportunity to consult with a lawyer on the waiver.The board approved the position unanimously. A bill to accomplish it has been introduced in the legislature. SB 1218, which provides that a child in the delinquency system must consult with a public defender if that child is not represented by a private attorney, cleared the Senate Criminal Justice Committee unanimously in April 1. The bill also specifically provides that a child may not waive the right to counsel until he or she has had a meaningful opportunity to consult with a lawyer. Bar takes legislative positions May 1, 2005 Regular Newslast_img

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