Posted March 27, 2019
Tallahassee, FL – Florida’s state legislature has introduced more than a dozen bills in 2019 that would strip cities and counties of a wide range of powers. Many of the bills are moving through the legislature. HB 3/SB 1748, for example, was introduced to ban cities and counties from adopting any regulation of businesses and invalidate countless existing local laws, including those that currently protect Floridians from discrimination and restrict the sale of tobacco products to young people. HB 847/SB 432 would expand the state’s existing ban on local minimum wage laws and local laws concerning employment benefits by now banning all local laws pertaining to any “employment conditions.” This expansion would impact wage theft ordinances and includes preemption of flexible and predictive scheduling ordinances, which do not exist in Florida.
A new poll demonstrates that Florida voters across party lines support local authority to adopt a wide range of policies, such as those that protect public health, the environment, and jobs. Florida voters clearly oppose the state legislature’s efforts to strip cities and counties of their local powers, and Florida legislators who approve such measures do so at the risk of losing voter support.
The poll of 752 Florida voters found that:
“Florida voters across party lines recognize the value of local government and local democracy,” explained Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, District 8. “They know that statewide laws cannot reflect each community’s unique values and needs, and they want to preserve their ability to go to their city or county elected officials and ask for the protections they need, such as stronger protection for their environment through plastic bag bans or much-needed protection for the LGBTQ community from housing and employment discrimination.”
“For years, Florida’s state legislature has chipped away at local powers to prevent city and county officials from responding to their residents’ unique needs with local laws when statewide protections simply aren’t enough,” said Laura Huizar, Senior Staff Attorney with the National Employment Law Project. “This year has brought an exceptionally aggressive onslaught of bills that would do irreparable harm to local democracy in the state.”
“Session after session, Florida legislators are passing bills that weaken local democracy,” said Kim Haddow of the Local Solutions Support Center. “They have introduced and enacted some of the most sweeping, extreme laws designed to block local decisions they don’t agree with and to intimidate and punish local elected officials for doing their jobs—acting on the will and wishes of their communities.”