Tallahassee: Stay Out of Local Government’s Business

Every year the Florida Legislature puts forth bills with the goal of hamstringing local governments.

From prohibiting local bans on plastic straws to preventing any new business regulation by a city or county, our lawmakers are filing bills intended to do nothing but prevent local control.

The worst offender in 2019 is Port Charlotte Republican Michael Grant who introduced CS/HB 3 “Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing.” If passed, local governments would be prohibited from imposing any new regulations (with a few exceptions) on businesses without the Legislature’s approval.

His bill and others like it fundamentally violate the principle of home rule, which Florida voters added to the state Constitution in 1968.

But Grant will kindly allow local authorities to pass regulations after jumping through a bunch of hurdles. Some of these hurdles include getting a supermajority vote of approval from the county commission or city council. But the hurdle-jumping would expire in two years.

If you find pickle-ball noise to be a nuisance, or a new business opens up that you find objectionable, don’t bother complaining to the city council or county commission. You would have to take your beef to Tallahassee and try to get the 160 members of the Legislature to even care.

This is an attempt to once and for all shift all power away from local governments and into the hands of a more powerful state apparatus.

The needs and priorities of Charlotte County are different than those of  other counties. Tallahassee has no business unfairly restricting our ability to govern ourselves.

Grant’s bill is dangerous. Voters need to send him and any supporter of his bill packing when re-election time comes around, regardless of whether the bill is stopped or not.