Earlier this week, I pointed out what I see as some dangerous trends developing inside the Constitution Revision Commission: in a nutshell, too many of the proposals appear to be dangerously expanding the constitution’s role in Florida. And the reason, I suggested, is that lobbyists and political operatives have figured out that the Commission represents an opportunity to revive ideas that have already been considered, debated and ultimately rejected by the state legislature.
Yesterday, a group called the American Senior Alliance filed an ethics complaint against Brecht Heuchan, one of the members of the commission, alleging a conflict of interest because he does lobbying work for a law firm that the group says could benefit from a proposal backed by Heuchan. From the release:
Mr. Heuchan is a paid, registered lobbyist for Wilkes & McHugh, a law firm that specializes in personal injury cases against nursing homes. In his capacity as a member of the Constitution Revision Commission,
Mr. Heuchan has filed a proposal that would make it far easier for law firms to sue nursing homes, revoking provisions of a law enacted in 2014 over Mr. Heuchan’s objections on behalf of his client Wilkes & McHugh. Several provisions of Mr. Heuchan’s proposal mirrors policy positions advocated by Wilkes McHugh.
“That’s laughable and absurd — I am a commissioner,” Heuchan responded. “This is a typical special interest tactic — when you can’t argue the merits, attack the proposer.”
- I don’t believe the CRC is the proper place for this proposal, especially considering similar language has previously been considered and rejected by the legislature.
- Without passing judgement on the merits of the ethics complaint, it appears Heuchan has been previously involved with a similar fight, and his current involvement lends credence to my own reservations about the CRC as noted in my previous post on this subject.
Imagine the lawsuits that will instantly populate our court system if such an amendment gets passed. Apparently the CRC hasn’t imagined such things yet, because the proposal is still under consideration, when it should have been labeled as special-interest chaff and summarily flushed down the toilet the instant it was brought forward.