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    Editor, The Sun:
    To my knowledge, the following is the greatest legal cover-up in Florida’s history.

    As a constitutional conservative whose livelihood is governed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), I must take issue with our great governor, Ron DeSantis, declaring our state a “free state.”

    In 1998, Amendment 5 placed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission into Article IV, Section 9 of the Florida Constitution. At no point did the ballot summary inform the voter that they would be forfeiting their “due process” to seven unelected bureaucrats, but for 24 years, that is exactly what has occurred.

    Article IV, Section 9 clearly states the FWC was granted “executive and regulatory” rulemaking powers, which are “statutory,” not “constitutional.” Furthermore, Article IV, Section 9 states that the FWC must provide “adequate due process” to those affected by their duties. The difference is “statutory” rules can be challenged in a court of law and “constitutional” rules can’t. Furthermore, the FWC has refused to establish the mandated “adequate due process” to those affected by their rulemaking authority.

    In 1999, the legislature made a grievous error when they passed Florida Statute 370.025(4), stating, “Pursuant to S. 9, Art. IV of the State Constitution, the commission has full constitutional rulemaking authority over marine life.” NOTICE that the statute starts out, “Pursuant to.” There is no “constitutional” rulemaking authority to be found in Article IV, Section 9.

    In court case after court case we have been told that we don’t have the right to question the FWC’s “wisdom.” In one of our court cases, an FWC rule was forcing fishermen to unnecessarily kill and waste a proven 98% of their catch (bycatch) under an amendment whose sole purpose was to “stop unnecessary killing, waste and overharvest,” when the FWC had the ability to reduce the bycatch to 2%.

    Without fear, FWC attorney, Jonathon Glogau stated that the FWC knew that the nets allowed by the FWC would catch mostly illegal fish (98% illegal in the tests) and the nets denied would have caught legal fish (97% legal in the tests). Without a logical reason to defend such stupidity, FWC Attorney Jonathon Glogau arrogantly told the 1st DCA that it’s not up to the courts to question the wisdom of the FWC. 1st Chief Judge Edwin Browning Jr. asked Glogau, “Who would vote for this?” (FWC unquestionable authority) The answer is no one did, but due to the legislative error in 1999, we’ve been living under FWC tyranny without the ability to save the environment, economy and citizens lives for the last 24 years.

    To make the 24-year quest for “adequate due process” short, after petitioning the legislature in 2007, the House and Senate voted 155 to 1 to repeal the statute FS 370.025(4). After that vote, Sen. Al Lawson assured me that the FWC would have to obey the will of the legislature and would provide adequate due process from that date forward. I assured him that they would never relinquish their imperious power.

    It’s 16 years later and with the recent brief written by our State Attorney General Ashley Moody, co-signed by the Solicitor General and Deputy Solicitor General of Florida, the FWC still can claim to be imperious because the Supreme Court simply sent a one word response to our case, “DENIED.”

    Isn’t it nice to know people we voted for to uphold the constitution work against our most basic and sacred rights in this “free state?”

    During this journey, the FWC threatened to take away a federal grant from Mississippi Sea Grant for helping me research the due process issue, threatened a nearby university if they helped us with net tests, struck the testimony of a NOAA official that claimed their rules were wrong, dealt in “bad faith” at every meeting I attended, lied to stakeholders, attempted to cause trouble at the job I just retired from at the Florida Department of Agriculture and far more.

    We have spent tens of thousands of hours fighting to acquire the constitutional due process supposedly guaranteed by our state and U.S. Constitution for 24 years… 24 years Gov. DeSantis. Isn’t it well past time to set us “free?

    David Grix Boynton Beach

    This is a follow up letter to a series of letters about FWC. Use the folowing links to navigate to the other letters. SEEKING ANSWERS ON FWC (Published January 12, 2023), NO DUE PROCESS UNDER FWC (Published January 26, 2023), MORE ON FWC DUE-PROCESS ISSUE (Published February 2, 2023), SEEKING DUE PROCESS FROM FWC (Published February 23, 2023), CAPITOL PROTEST SET OVER DUE PROCESS (Published March 16, 2023) and SEEKING DUE PROCESS AT FWC (Published April 13, 2023)