Richard Corcoran, the 100th Speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives, announced his nine appointments to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission yesterday, including our very own Rich Newsome. Corcoran’s appointments will join the 37-member commission assembled every 20 years, which will convene over the next 12 months. The group is tasked with identifying any necessary modifications to Florida’s constitution. Corcoran, who took office in November, selected three House officials, two Senators, a member of the Collier County School Board, the sheriff of Pasco County, and two lawyers that are based in Orlando.
Corcoran’s selections will join the appointments made by three other officials from Florida; Governor Rick Scott, Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga, and Senate President Joe Negron. The commission will be led by Carlos Beruff, a real estate developer, selected by Governor Scott. A final spot on the commission is reserved for the Attorney General Pam Bondi. Corcoran told reporters that he searched for candidates “who understood and respected the role of our Constitution and the separation of powers.” Any recommendations accepted by the commission will be voted on by Florida residents in the November 2018 general elections and any amendments to the constitution will need 60 percent of the vote to pass.
“My only charge to each has been to do what they believe to be right,” said Corcoran. “I am sure that each member appointed today will do their part to ensure freedom and the rule of law are embodied in our final product.”
Rich Newsome, one of the two lawyers appointed to the commission, is a senior partner at the Newsome Melton law firm. Newsome, who can trace his Floridian roots back nine generations, has been practicing law in his home state for 27 years. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, Newsome went onto complete his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida’s law school in 1989. While in school Newsome was introduced to policymaking firsthand when he worked for the Florida House Minority Office.
After passing the Florida Bar exam the same year he graduated from law school, Newsome went to work as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office covering the Northern and Middle Districts of Florida. Newsome then went to work for a product liability firm representing manufactures. But in January 1995, less than two years later, after working a case filed by a family who lost their child, Newsome decided to start his own practice representing consumers instead of manufacturers.
Since the founding of his law firm more than 22 years ago, Newsome has been honored with numerous awards and appointments, including his selection by then Governor Jeb Bush to the Fifth District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission. He was also recently named the 2016 “Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, a peer-review publication founded in 1981.