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Local Officials Fight for Home Rule

April 6th, 2017 by Jake Stofan

County Commissioners from across the state were in the state Capitol today speaking out against legislation they believe will erode local control.

House bill 17 has county commissioners worried.

The legislation would strip local governments of their ability to regulate business.

Commissioners think the effects would be far reaching, devastating, and jeopardize the uniqueness of each county.

“We are extremely different and extremely diverse. To think that there is a one size fits all bill, just totally would limit the advantages,” said Escambia County Commissioner, Grover Robinson.

Sponsor, Representative Randy Fine argues the differences in regulations between counties have become too extreme.

“We are not the United Counties of Florida. We are not the United Towns of Florida,” said Fine, “I understand that local politicians want to run their areas like little empires, but that’s not how the framers intended things to operate.”

But Commissioners believe it’s local government, not the state that knows what’s best for individual communities.

 

“We work closely with the people. That’s who we’re here to serve and all of a sudden we wont be able to serve our people and more,” said Donna Fiala, a City Commissioner in Collier County.

Although commissioners believe the bill would strip them of their ability to pass new business regulations, Fine Disagrees.

 

“The bill does not limit the ability of local government to pass regulation,” said Fine, “What it does is it limits the fields upon which they can make regulations.”

But opponents insist it would harm, not help local business.

 

“They certainly don’t like it when the Federal Government intrudes on State issues and we certainly don’t need the state to intrude on local issues,” said Pinellas County Commissioner, Kenneth T Welch.

The legislation has cleared one committee and has one more stop before a vote in the full House.

Along with house bill 17 they oppose five other bills that strip their authority.

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