January 10, 2020

One of the core principles of democracy is to allow local government, with whom the citizens have the closest relationship, the power and autonomy to pass local laws that affect and regulate local issues, so long as they are constitutional. In recent years, the Florida Legislature has been dismantling that autonomy, called Home Rule.

The non-profit group Integrity Florida has identified 119 bills files since 2017 negatively impacting Home Rule.  28 of these bills went to a vote in committee or on the floor.  Our current local representative in Tallahassee, my opponent in November, sponsored or co-sponsored 6 of them, voted for 26 of them, and voted against only one.

Here’s the link to the Integrity Florida Report

This week, on the eve of next week’s start of the 60-Day Florida Legislative Session, numerous editorials and articles around the state criticized the Legislature on this point.  The Florida League of Cities announced yesterday that their primary legislative focus is “local voice, local choices”, a renewed defense of home rule, including allowing cities to regulate short-term rentals in terms of zoning and occupancy.

The South Florida New Times, for example, notes that local municipalities are banned from enacting their own minimum-wage or gun-control laws — two provisions the Integrity Florida report notes were enacted after major pushes from special interests.  At the City of Palm Beach Gardens council meeting last evening, a citizen inquired about the progress of 5G internet service in town, but the council’s hand is tied by state regulations preventing local control of permitting such services.

When I am elected in November, one of my priorities will be to be a better and more representative voice for locally elected government boards and officials, who are most in touch with the needs of our local citizens. 

I’ve added some of the recent news articles below for your convenience.