This week in the Legislature - Ethics and Elections

Secretary of State, Ken Detzner, released his "Recommendations for Increased Accessibility and Efficiency in Florida Elections" which emanated from his investigation into the 2012 General Election in Florida. Secretary Detzner testified in both the House and Senate Ethics and Elections committees that the number one complaint he encountered during his statewide tour was the length of lines at polling places. Secretary Detzner attributed the lines to a record voter turnout, a shortened early voting schedule, inadequate voting locations and the length of the ballot, and offered legislative remedies for each in his report.

Red Light Cameras

A bill that prohibits counties and cities from using traffic infraction detectors (a.k.a. Red Light Cameras) passed its first committee of reference this week. HB 4011 by Representative Campbell passed the Economic Affairs Committee by a vote of 10-8. FAC staff testified that, while only four counties have these systems in place, a report by the Florida Department of Highway Safety shows that they significantly reduce red light violations and, for some intersections, have reduced the number of vehicle crashes.

HB 203 - Relating to Agricultural Lands

In 2003, the Legislature passed the Agricultural Lands and Practices Act, to prohibit counties from adopting any duplicative ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule, or policy that limits activity of a bona fide farm on agricultural land if the activity is already regulated through best management practices (BMPs), interim measures, or regulations by the DEP, DACS, or a water management district as part of a statewide or regional program; or regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture, Army Corps of Engineers, or Environmental Protection Agency.