Wednesday, September 14, 2016

How Laws Become Statutes in Florida

How Laws Become Statutes in Florida

Copyright 14 September 2016 by Bob Hurt. All rights reserved.

A correspondent recently wrote me asking for help to get the court to declare Florida statute unconstitutional because it does not contain the "Be it enacted" clause.  I answer with a clarification regarding a statute dear to my heart – the one requiring public employees to swear an oath to support the constitutions of the US and Florida.

The law constitutes a vehicle for creating, changing, and destroying statutes. Let us look at how the current Florida Constitution Article III grants the Legislature authority. 

SECTION 6.Laws.Every law shall embrace but one subject and matter properly connected therewith, and the subject shall be briefly expressed in the title. No law shall be revised or amended by reference to its title only. Laws to revise or amend shall set out in full the revised or amended act, section, subsection or paragraph of a subsection. The enacting clause of every law shall read: "Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:".

Accordingly, the Legislature enacts laws using the proper language "be it enacted" and records them in one of the chapters of laws, identified by year and chapter number.  The enactment authorizes creation, addition, deletion, or repeal of corresponding text in statutes.  Statutes exist in an arrangement of chapters relating to various topics.  The laws changing the statutes specify the statutes upon which they operate and provide the exact wording for deletion (by lining through deleted text) or addition (by underlining added text) to those statutes.  The statutes then contain a history note identifying the source laws, including the section number, and the Law year and chapter number.

With respect to the loyalty oaths and related statutes about the flouting of which I raised such a stink in my 2006 article Loyalty Oaths in Florida, the Supreme Court justices asked the Legislature to modify the law to make better sense. The legislature responded in Laws 2007-30 and 2011-40 which modified 876.05-876.10, the main loyalty oath statute and most if not all of the statutes that reference it.  In particular, they moved to the candidate statute the oath statute provision requiring candidates to swear the oath.

Notice the history note of the two post-article changes, one in 2007 and one in 2011:

876.05 Public employees; oath.

(1) All persons who now or hereafter are employed by or who now or hereafter are on the payroll of the state, or any of its departments and agencies, subdivisions, counties, cities, school boards and districts of the free public school system of the state or counties, or institutions of higher learning, except candidates for federal office, are required to take an oath before any person duly authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments for public record in the state in the following form:

I,  , a citizen of the State of Florida and of the United States of America, and being employed by or an officer of   and a recipient of public funds as such employee or officer, do hereby solemnly swear or affirm that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida.

(2) Said oath shall be filed with the records of the governing official or employing governmental agency prior to the approval of any voucher for the payment of salary, expenses, or other compensation.

History.—s. 1, ch. 25046, 1949; s. 22, ch. 83-214; s. 55, ch. 2007-30; s. 77, ch. 2011-40.

 

The most recent of those changes came from this Laws of Florida document posted on the web at http://laws.flrules.org/2011/40, from which I provide the following excerpt. It shows the beginning of the law which contains a summary of all the statutes and text it changed, added, deleted, or repealed, followed by the enactment language, followed by 80 sections showing the specific changes including the references to 876.05 and 876.07, followed by the end of the law.  The document comprises 88 pages.

CHAPTER 2011-40

Committee Substitute for

Committee Substitute for House Bill No. 1355

An act relating to elections; amending s. 97.012, F.S.; expanding the list of responsibilities of the Secretary of State when acting in his or her capacity as chief election officer; amending s. 97.021, F.S.;

amending s. 876.05, F.S.; deleting a requirement for all candidates for public office to record an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida; repealing s. 876.07, F.S., relating to a requirement that a person make an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida in order to be qualified as a candidate for office; providing for severability of the act; providing effective dates.

Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:

Section 1. Subsection (16) is added to section 97.012, Florida Statutes, to read:

Section 77. Subsection (1) of section 876.05, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

876.05 Public employees; oath.

(1) All persons who now or hereafter are employed by or who now or hereafter are on the payroll of the state, or any of its departments and agencies, subdivisions, counties, cities, school boards and districts of the free public school system of the state or counties, or institutions of higher learning, and all candidates for public office, except candidates for federal office, are required to take an oath before any person duly authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments for public record in the state in the following form:

I, ......, a citizen of the State of Florida and of the United States of America, and being employed by or an officer of ...... and a recipient of public funds as such employee or officer, do hereby solemnly swear or affirm that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of the State of Florida.

Section 78. Section 876.07, Florida Statutes, is repealed.

Section 79. If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.

Section 80. Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act, this act shall take effect upon becoming a law.

Approved by the Governor May 19, 2011.

Filed in Office Secretary of State May 19, 2011.

I searched for all instances of 876.05, the loyalty oath statute.  The law mentions it 7 times.  The following appears on page 56:

Section 51. Paragraph (b) of subsection (4) of section 105.031, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

105.031 Qualification; filing fee; candidate's oath; items required to be filed.

(4) CANDIDATE'S OATH.

(b) All candidates for judicial office shall subscribe to an oath or affirmation in writing to be filed with the appropriate qualifying officer upon qualifying. A printed copy of the oath or affirmation shall be furnished to the candidate by the qualifying officer and shall be in substantially the following form:

State of Florida

County of ......

Before me, an officer authorized to administer oaths, personally appeared (please print name as you wish it to appear on the ballot), to me well known, who, being sworn, says he or she: is a candidate for the judicial office of ......; that his or her legal residence is ...... County, Florida; that he or she is a qualified elector of the state and of the territorial jurisdiction of the court to which he or she seeks election; that he or she is qualified under the constitution and laws of Florida to hold the judicial office to which he or she desires to be elected or in which he or she desires to be retained; that he or she has taken the oath required by ss. 876.05-876.10, Florida Statutes; that he or she has qualified for no other public office in the state, the term of which office or any part thereof runs concurrent to the office he or she seeks; and that he or she has resigned from any office which he or she is required to resign pursuant to s. 99.012, Florida Statutes; and that he or she will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida.

Notice that while striking 876.05-876.10 from the candidate's oath, the law added separate language with the same effect as that struck.  So the legislators are not idiots, are they?  They agree that candidates should swear to support the constitution.

Please look this law up for yourself and share it with your inmates in a lecture.  They need to know how government PROPERLY creates and changes laws and statutes and how it documents them for the public to read. Show them this letter if you wish.

Remember that the law is based on reason, logic, and common sense.  Stay away from patriot myth mongers who make irrational, illogical, false, and unsupported claims about the law and legal processes.  Look up the law and related court opinions for yourself, and read them carefully before accepting someone else's strange-sounding ideas about their wording or meaning. Learn the law.  Become disposed to using it. No substitute exists for knowing the law.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Loyalty Oaths and Jury Powers


Here is a research article I wrote a decade ago:

~ 22: LAW - LOYALTY OATHS IN FLORIDA.PDF

A state prison inmate wrote me for help proving that the legislature did not properly enact the Florida statutes because of omitting the Be It Enacted clause.  I wrote today this in response.  Any comments?

Dear Antonio:

It seems clear to me that you do not understand how the Florida Legislature creates laws and statutes, so I shall explain.  The legislature enacts laws using the proper language "be it enacted" and records them in one of the chapters of laws, identified by year and chapter number.  The enactment authorizes severance of the laws into statutes according to topic category.  The laws changing the statutes specify the statutes upon which they operate and provides the exact wording for deletion or addition to those statutes.  The statutes then contain a footnote identifying the source laws, including the section number, and the Law year and chapter number.

With respect to the loyalty oaths about which I raised such a stink, the Supreme Court justices asked the Legislature to modify the law to make better sense. The legislature responded in Law 2011-40 which modified 876.05-876.10, the main loyalty oath statute and all.  In particular, they removed the provision requiring candidates to swear the oath.

Notice the history and the two changes since I wrote my Loyalty Oaths in Florida paper, one in 2007 and one in 2011:


The most recent of those changes came from this Laws of Florida document posted on the web: http://laws.flrules.org/2011/40.

The law document contains a summary of all the statutes it changed, added, or deleted, followed by the enactment language followed by the specific changes, as above.

I searched for all instances of 876.05, the loyalty oath statute.  The law mentions it 7 times.  Here is one of them.

 

Notice that while striking 876.05-876.10 from the candidate's oath, the law added separate language with the same effect as that struck.  So the legislators are not idiots, are they?  They agree that candidates should swear to support the constitution BEFORE getting elected.

And here we have the change to 876.05 and 876.07:


Please look this law up for yourself and share it with your inmates in a lecture.  They need to know how government PROPERLY creates and changes laws and statutes and how it documents them for the public to read. Show them this letter if you wish.

Remember that the law is based on reason, logic, and common sense.  Stay away from patriot myth mongers who claim secured party creditor status, claim all law is commercial or in admiralty, advocate harassing officials with spurious civil liens and administrative process, advocate passing false financial instruments, such as birth certificate bonds based on non-existent treasury direct accounts, or promote wrongful use of IRS tax forms.  These people get others thrown in prison (just ask around and you will find plenty in a federal prison).

Now I'll mention a bit of news.  A few months ago, Terry Trussell of Dixie County got convicted of numerous counts of violating 843.0855 by issuing a presentment as foreman of a "common law grand jury."   Common sense says the government will NEVER allow people to establish their own grand juries, and if people do that, and issue presentments, they will go to prison for impersonating government officials.  But I know of no law making the grand jury (see chapter 905) part of government, albeit the chief judge, the clerk, the bailiffs, and the state attorney have intimate involvement.

In pondering the danger "people's" grand juries present to government, I decided to start researching the Florida Constitutions, and I wrote the results at my blog here:

https://bobhurt.blogspot.com/2016/07/why-government-destroyed-jury-powers.html

I noticed that ante-bellum juries had more powers than post-bellum juries. Petite juries determined law as well as fact, and grand juries investigated and presented or indicted on all felonies.  Furthermore, crime victims could hire private attorneys to prosecute the accused.  After the civil war that changed dramatically.  Now 2 states don't even have grand juries, and in Florida they investigate only capital crimes.  Petite juries determine only facts, but not the law. As I contemplated the reasons for this, I realized that the governments of the states simply did not trust the electorate any more.  Why?  Because the 15th Amendment gave Negroes and other non-whites the right to vote, and therefore to sit on juries.  Negroes then committed many crimes, just as they do now, only worse, because of low average intelligence and bad decision-making.  Government leaders apparently believed that Negroes on juries would acquit members of their race regardless of guilt.  So they stripped juries of some powers.  And so it remains.  The 19th and 26th Amendments gave voting rights to women and children, so the situation has become even worse.  I proposed a solution: deny voting rights to irresponsible people regardless of race, gender, or age. One measure of responsibility is graduating from high school. Another is having adequate knowledge of the constitutions.  Another is self-sufficiency.  Another is mental maturity.

You might work with your fellow inmates to propose legislation that will repair the electorate, making it more responsible, and then to restore jury powers and the right of private prosecution of criminal defendants.  Point out to your associates that many people sit in prison because of their politics (including substance abuse), not because they actually hurt anyone.  Properly empowered juries would prevent such wrongful incarcerations.  But that will not happen till we have a responsible electorate, will it?  So, how do you make the electorate responsible?

If that project doesn't interest you, you might use your time to memorize the Florida Evidence Code (chapter 90 and 92, Florida Statues) and the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, Criminal Procedure, Appellate Procedure, and Judicial Administration. 

Remember that "good luck" happens when preparation meets opportunity.

I sincerely wish you Good Luck in your adventures of discovery,

Bob Hurt




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Bob Hurt
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