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Tallahassee Democrat

'Home Rule' often violates the rule of law | Opinion

How many city commissioners does it take to ban a light bulb in Florida? Only three in most cases, a simple majority (depending on how many members sit on the board). These local politicians can ban your entire business as well. Or have you arrested for drinking beer on the beach. Or make it too painful and expensive to acquire an occupational license to earn a living and practice your craft. The list goes on and on. What’s worse is that local governments can do it all year long.


Should State Legislators Override Local Decisions? Cities And Counties Say No.

Organizations are asking state legislators to stop preemption regulations. Preemption gives the state legislature the ability to limit or override local government rules. The policy has caused both lawmakers and local governments to bump heads for years in turf battles. “The state of Florida doesn’t like it when the federal government mandates something for them, so why should it be wise for the state of Florida to mandate something for the local level, the local jurisdiction,” says Mark Landreth, the Florida Director of the American Heart Association.


Senate advances $700M sales tax proposal

The Senate advanced a plan that would require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes, a move that could bring $700 million in annually. Current law imposes taxes on out-of-state sales, but leaves it to the purchaser, not the company selling the product, to report the tax. Compliance with the law is notoriously low in part because individual buyers don’t know they owe the tax. “You have to remit that sales tax and give it to the state of Florida on your own,” said state Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican and the sponsor of the proposal.