A House committee Thursday passed a plan that would make it harder for groups to gather petition signatures to place proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot. The proposal comes after 11 constitutional amendments passed in November. Under the legislation approved by the State Affairs Committee, people collecting signatures for citizens’ constitutional initiatives would be required to be registered with the state, to list both their permanent and temporary addresses, and to sign a sworn statement that they will obey all state laws and rules.
Florida residency would not be a requirement to collect petition signatures for proposed constitutional amendments, but House members moved forward Thursday with a measure that critics say would make it harder to pass citizens’ initiatives. The measure (HB 7111), approved in a 15-8 vote by the State Affairs Committee, would require petition-gatherers to be registered with the state, to list permanent and temporary addresses and to sign sworn statements that they will obey state laws and rules.
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.
The Palm Beach Post
When it comes to big-footing local governments’ authority, it seems nothing is off-limits for Florida legislators. Taxing authority. Plastic straws. Vacation rentals. It doesn’t matter how local, or how well-meaning. If the issue somehow insults a lawmaker’s -- or influential lobbyist’s -- sensibilities, it’s considered fair game to quash the smaller government’s ability to act. Only there is nothing fair about a St. Augustine senator’s bill (SB 588) threatening local governments with a $25,000 fine if they prohibit the sale of certain sunscreens.
Door County Pulse
It’s a common refrain: If rich people weren’t scooping up every available affordable home and converting it to an Airbnb to make even more money, affordable housing in Door County wouldn’t be an issue. But the boom in tourism that has closely followed the growth of vacation-rental platforms has funneled millions into the region. The tension between the tourism economy and the sustainable growth of the community has no greater stage than vacation rentals.
Finding affordable housing is getting harder. It’s been an issue for people who work in the area for years, because the cost of living on the Suncoast is so high. "We would like to change that, we would like to have those opportunities,” said James C. Brown, a long time Sarasota resident. He says he has seen how the city has evolved over time. However, the one thing he noticed is how housing prices skyrocketed. “I can’t quite understand why we’re in a substantial crisis situation,” he said.
Sunshine State News
As hurricane-weary Northwest Floridians grow more impatient with the financial dickering of state and federal officials, a former lawmaker from the region helped call a disaster-relief audible Thursday. University of Florida football legend Steve Spurrier, longtime Florida State University assistant football coach Mickey Andrews and Coastal Carolina University basketball coach Cliff Ellis stumped in the Capitol for disaster relief with Robert Trammell, a lobbyist and a former Panhandle lawmaker.
An "energy choice" constitutional amendment proposed for the 2020 ballot would provoke "cataclysmic" change in utility regulation, the Public Service Commission told the state Supreme Court on Thursday. The commission, writing in a court brief, said the proposal, rather than providing electricity choice, would deny customers of investor-owned utilities the ability to choose their current energy providers.
When it came to population growth last year, cities in central Florida grew by stadiums. Metro Orlando grew by 60,000 residents last year, almost as large as the number of people who can fit into the city's Camping World Stadium, where college football bowl teams face off each winter. The Tampa area grew last year by 51,000 residents, more than the number of fans who can fit into Tropicana Field, where the city's Tampa Bay Rays play baseball.
House and Senate tax-relief bills are making their way to floor votes but will require extended negotiations over the session’s final two weeks to produce a package Gov. Ron DeSantis will sign. Among differences: The Senate’s plan calls for more tax cuts to compensate for its proposal to begin collecting online sales tax from retailers, while the House’s package includes spending voter-approved tax dollars on charter schools.
Emotions ran high as the House State Affairs Committee today unanimously approved a bill to provide insurance coverage and death benefits for firefighters who get cancer on the job — 15 years after the committee rejected a similar measure. “The last time this bill was scheduled in this committee was in 2004 and it was TP’d, so this is a really big day,” said Rocco Salvatore, vice president of the Florida Professional Firefighters.