There is a movement in Tallahassee to regulate and control local politics. It doesn’t make any sense for a Republican dominated statehouse to reduce local control and increase state control over municipal decisions. As your state senator, I will make sure that the local government is respected and protected.

Here are a few examples of what Tallahassee is doing to attack home rule.

HB 759 – GRU

I will fight Tallahassee-crafted bills that don’t make sense for our local community – which is happening right now with House Bill 759 (and Senate Bill 1568). I have asked our State Senators to oppose HB 759, which Keith Perry proposed three times in 2014, 2015, and 2016. 

Currently, our elected City Commission appoints a utility board which is comprised of members who live within the city limits as well as those in the unincorporated parts of Alachua County. With the legislation signed by Rick Scott, the City Commission will appoint an “Authority” that will have full reign over GRU and its operations. The “Authority” will have no checks and balances, based on the language of the current bill – that is to say, the members of the “Authority” will not be accountable to anyone and cannot easily be removed from the board once appointed. Also curious is that the “Authority” members’ tenure will outlast the City Commission in duration.

Some are asking, “Why not put this up for voters to decide? What’s the big deal with that?” The problem is that voters have had little to do with the introduction of this bill over the past four years. So the real question is: Who stands to gain from this bill?

Read more about the GRU Bill: http://www.gainesville.com/news/20170607/gru-bill-signed-voters-will-decide-who-runs-utility

HB 17 – Local Regulation Preemption

Another bill of worry, that died this legislative season, is HB 17. The text from HB 17 states, “…a local government may not adopt or impose a new regulation on a business, profession, or occupation unless the regulation is expressly authorized by general law.”

What does this mean? Local government must have the “OK” from Tallahassee in order to enact a regulation unless the powers that be in Tallahassee allow it. Fortunately, this bill died in the Commerce Committee this past legislative session but we can see what our legislatures are up to.

Let’s keep local politics local – and keep Tallahassee out of local government.