REVIEW OF FLORIDA LEGISLATION
The Review of Florida Legislation is an annual publication of the Florida State University Law Review, which offers articles examining significant legislation enacted during the preceding legislative session, important issues the Florida Legislature has not yet addressed, and federal issues and legislation affecting Florida. The Review’s purpose is two-fold: First, articles that review recent legislation provide a resource for those seeking legislative history and possible legislative intent; and second, articles that propose changes to current law are aimed at policy makers and lawmakers as a framework for evaluating possible legislative action.
E PLURIBUS UNUM IN A MULTI-RACIAL, MULTI-CULTURAL STATE
Reubin D. Askew and Lance Dehaven-Smith
There is an old saying in Florida that aptly expresses the state’s political philosophy: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This saying implies a generally conservative stance, but also a streak of liberalism. Floridians are reluctant to make changes in their laws and customs, but they will do so when necessary, that is, when things are broken.
THE EVERGLADES IN JEOPARDY: A DRAMA OF WATER MANAGEMENT AND ENDANGERED SPECIES
Keith W. Rizzardi
The Cape Sable seaside sparrow (CSS sparrow) is just one of many endangered species in the Everglades. Yet ever since the El Niño weather events of 1997 and 1998, the CSS sparrow has taken center stage, reaching fame on the front page of The New York Times as an endangered species in jeopardy of extinction. Unfortunately, the efforts to save the CSS sparrow may be putting Everglades restoration efforts in jeopardy as well.
TORT REFORM 1999: A BUILDING WITHOUT A FOUNDATION
Robert S. Peck, Richard Marshall, & Kenneth D. Kranz
For the better part of thirty years, corporate and other interests bent on avoiding responsibility for their misdeeds have led a battle to “reform” the civil justice system in a manner that tilts the legal playing field substantially and shamelessly in their favor. Acting under the umbrellas of various “citizens” groups, such as the American Tort Reform Association, the Civil Justice League, and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, these business interests have sought to scale back the rights of American consumers by heightening negligence standards, abolishing centuries-old legal doctrines, capping damage awards, and instituting other reforms that effectively deny the American public access to the courts.
FLORIDA’S TORT REFORM ACT: KEEPING FAITH WITH THE PROMISE OF HOFFMAN V. JONES
George N. Meros, Jr. & Chanta G. Hundley
Tort law addresses an elemental question: When is a citizen liable for the physical harm he accidentally causes? The answer lies in the confluence of competing policy considerations, including the need to compensate injured victims, promote personal responsibility, encourage socially and economically productive conduct, and discourage irresponsible conduct. An overarching imperative is that the civil justice system, and the judiciary in general, be perceived as fair and responsive to common sense.
1999 AMENDMENTS TO THE FLORIDA ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE ACT: PHANTOM MENACE OR MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING?
David M. Greenbaum & Lawrence E. Sellers, Jr.
In 1999, the Florida Legislature enacted additional amendments to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) primarily to address several appellate court rulings interpreting the 1996 revisions to the APA. The 1999 amendments enjoyed broad support in the Legislature, which viewed the amendments as merely clarifying the limits on agency rulemaking authority and “leveling the playing field” in disputes between citizens and their government. However, the amendments were strongly opposed by others primarily because of claims that they would put hundreds of environmental rules in jeopardy. In other words, some thought the 1999 legislation was the Phantom Menace, while others thought it was Much Ado About Nothing.
A TABLE OF REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE RULEMAKING
The following table of requirements that an agency must consider when adopting a rule was prompted by the concern of the ABA Rulemaking Committee, Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, over the protracted nature of the current rulemaking process. When Congress adopted the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the notice and comment requirement for rulemaking was viewed as a variant on the legislative process that would allow agencies to adopt and amend rules quickly in response to changing circumstances. The early 1970s, an era that introduced statutorily mandated review of agency action to ensure adequate assessment of environmental impacts, together with judicial demands for adequately reasoned decisions, began a transformation of the notice and comment process into one requiring extensive documentation of the information on which the agency relies and detailed explanation of the choices the agency made in deciding to adopt a rule.
ARE STATE-SUPPORTED HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES JUSTIFIABLE AFTER FORDICE?—A HIGHER EDUCATION DILEMMA
John A. Moore
As the above statement suggests, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continue to play a significant role in the development and education of African Americans. Eliminating these institutions will likely increase the educational disparity between African and Anglo-Americans since HBCUs maintain higher graduation rates for their black students than do predominately white colleges and universities. Despite the above observation, the continued existence of state-supported HBCUs poses a serious social and legal dilemma. Supporters of desegregation have fought hard to establish legal rules that forbid denying an individual access to higher education because of his or her race. However, these same supporters want to preserve and enhance HBCUs, recognizing the vital role that these institutions play. The dilemma, then, centers on preserving state-supported HBCUs while at the same time demanding full integration of traditionally white institutions.