Florida League of Cities: Local Control Survived the Assaults From Tallahassee

With the 2019 legislative session now in the rear view mirror, the Florida League of Cities (FLOC) is happy to see it over.

On issues ranging from banning plastic straws, impact fees and short-term rentals, the FLOC felt under attack.

“We knew coming into the 2019 legislative session it was going to be an assault on Home Rule,” the FLOC noted.

The FLOC listed some of the bills that were trying to strip local control for municipalities and instead to be determined by Tallahassee law makers including: preemption on the regulation of businesses, professions and occupations, imposing huge unfunded mandates, limiting and restraining the creation and operation of CRAs; and placing utility poles in municipal rights of way, adding restrictions on impact fees and various zoning and land use regulations and restricting regulations of short-term rentals.

Bill Robbins, a Florida news anchor for I Heart Radio, said voters were concerned about Tallahassee going too far.

“When covering these stories, people would call into talk radio and literally ask, why are state lawmakers wanting to take away the citizen’s abilities to have a say in the way their cities are run,” Robbins told Florida Daily.

Some local officials are on the same page, including retiring Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Schellenberg.

“If state lawmakers want to have more control, then what’s the point of having local elected leaders?” Schellenberg asked.

Still, if the FLOC felt under attack, it also felt that cities across the Sunshine State survived.

“When the dust settled on the 61st day of the 60-day session, Florida’s cities were in fact, ‘bloody, but unbowed,’” the FLOC insisted.

FLOC Legislative Director Scott Dudley credited local officials who stood up to protect and promote Home Rule.

“Despite the Legislature’s withering attacks, by the end of the session, most of the bad legislation was thwarted, or at least significantly amended to minimize the adverse impacts on municipal operations,” the FLOC noted.

The FLOC will review the 2019 legislative session,on May 14 at 2:00 pm ET with an hour webinar, which also will provide tips and insight on the 2020 legislative policy development process which begins next month.

 

Contact Ed at Ed.Dean@FloridaDaily.com.

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