Florida Republicans Introduce Bill To Strip Local Governments Of Their Power

Florida Republicans are in an all-out war against the basics of democracy. Their latest attempt at dictatorial rule comes in the form of HB 17; a bill that essentially makes it illegal for local governments to enact local laws independently.

The bill is called Local Regulation Preemption, which sums up its intention pretty succinctly. If passed, local laws and regulations will be invalidated by the state.

Local Regulation Preemption; Prohibits certain local governments from imposing or adopting certain regulations on businesses, professions, & occupations after certain date; preempts to state regulations concerning businesses, professions, & occupations; provides exceptions to preemption.

Everything from local noise ordinances, to consumer safety rules will be gone. Wage theft, anti-pollution, and LGBT protections will also be blocked, if state legislators have their way.

Florida Today calls HB17,

A House bill that “would erode residents’ ability to petition local government by taking power away from cities and giving it to the state. House Bill 17, sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, would bar city and county governments from regulating businesses, unless state law specifically allowed them to do so…

In addition to banning new rules, the bill would repeal any local business regulations not authorized by state law in 2020…

For all their talk of small or limited government, it seems some Republicans are bent on building a monolithic state government. One has to ask, whose interests are they serving?

Florida’s big city mayors, both Democrat and Republican, were up in arms over the proposed legislation.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, told The Tampa Bay Times, “Why don’t they just abolish local government? This is by a group of allegedly conservative people who during campaigns will say less government is better and the government closest to the people governs best, and that’s local government.”

Miami Republican Mayor Tomás Regalado, was outraged by the state’s attempt to circumvent his power to govern his city.

This is a horrible, very horrible bill. The Legislature is overreaching and they don’t quite understand the consequences for the quality of life and order in a city.

One area of deep concern for Mayor Regalado is a provision that would force the rollback of minimum wage to the state minimum of $8.10. That would mean a cut for Miami Beach workers slated to reach $13.31 per hour by 2021.

Throughout the state, there are also local regulations that protect the environment, which would also be threatened. In Citrus County, for example, there is a ban on fracking. Under HB17, those residents could be steamrolled by oil companies and find their drinking water supply poisoned, especially since state environmental regulations have already seriously weakened by pro-pollution Gov. Rick Scott.

Federal clean water and clean air regulations are also under attack by Republicans, so Floridians could find themselves in a double-whammy with no local protection for their quality of life.

The real attack here is against American citizens, and it’s coming from Republican lawmakers unashamed to expose themselves as anti-democratic power-mongers willing to prostitute themselves for special interest money. They seem to think that they own their power, which is why voters need to remind them that they are simply renting it until the next election.

Tell lawmakers what you think of their plans for your future by calling the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

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About M.A. Tobin 199 Articles
Tobin is a political junkie and animal rights advocate. She won the Allvoices American Pundit Award for her reporting on the 2012 elections, and believes that if people can stand on line to buy junk food, they should also be able to stand on line to vote. Tobin is the author of "Afterlife: The Journey of a Dog's Spirit" available on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0150RP9DA