Submitted by cmosteller on Fri, 01/12/2018 - 13:41

FAC News Clips – January 12, 2017


Local News


Panama City News Herald

Walton bans charcoal, increases beach vendor fees

SANTA ROSA BEACH — At a special meeting Monday, Walton County commissioners made additional changes to the county’s beach activities ordinances. The changes, on the heels of a Dec. 12 discussion, include the following: • banning charcoal grills on Walton County beaches • increasing the annual fee for temporary service vendors, such as beach photographers, to $150 annually • making it illegal to move vendor poles or lifeguard stands • allowing 10-by-10-foot canopies on the northern third of the sandy beach


Gadsden County Times

County commissioners to consider live streaming meetings — again

Gadsden County Commissioners recently stopped airing their meetings live on Facebook, causing some citizens to question why. Interim County Administrator Dee Jackson said they stopped live-streaming the meetings because some of the commissioners had complained about it.  She also said since commissioners never voted to live-stream the meetings, they didn’t have to vote on the issue to stop. Since the county stopped airing the meetings on Facebook in November, Commissioner Gene Morgan has asked for an on the subject update at every meeting.


Beach Access (Customary Use)


St. Augustine Record

St. Johns County again combats bills that could curb public use of beaches

For the second year in a row, St. Johns County is contending language in property rights bills filed in the Florida House and Senate containing language that could affect local governments’ ability to protect long-standing customary use by the public of beaches behind oceanfront homes. In a letter Wednesday to Sen. Greg Stuebe and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, chair and vice chair of the Committee on Judiciary, the county says it has “expressly recognized and protected customary use for many years.”


Daytona Beach News Journal

LANE: Legislature sees local-issue repeats

Beach access, finacial literacy, Bethune statue ... there are a lot of repeats on the docket As the Florida Legislature gets down to business in its first week, you may notice not just familiar faces, but familiar legislation. There are a lot of repeats on the docket, including some that will look locally familiar In last year’s episode, Rep. Katie Edwards (now Katie Edwards-Walpole, congratulations!), D-Plantation, introduced an innocuous-looking bill that on closer examination seemed to limit public access to the dry-sand part of most Florida beaches. Including Volusia County’s.


Drug Abuse



Florida lawmakers consider opioid crisis funding bill

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - As opioid-related deaths in Florida continue to skyrocket, Gov. Rick Scott and lawmakers have deemed the public-health crisis a top priority during the 60-day legislative session that began this week. Scott wants to spend $53 million to address the issue, with much of the money going to substance-abuse treatment. Legislative Democrats came forth with some ideas of their own, ranging from putting warning signs on prescriptions to charging additional court fees in drug-related cases.


Fort Myers News Press

Opioid overdoses rise 800 percent in four years in Lee County

Lee County has emerged as the epicenter of the opioid epidemic in Southwest Florida, with twice the number of deaths than Collier County to the south and quadruple those of Charlotte County to the north.  Overdoses, the majority of which are not fatal, have risen 800 percent in the past four years in Lee County, from 171 in 2013 to 955 in 2017, according to Lee Health, the largest medical provider in the county. The crisis claimed 5,725 deaths in 2016 in Florida, a 35 percent increase from the 4,242 Florida deaths in 2015, the latest full years for which statistics are available from the Florida Medical Examiners report, published in November.


Home Rule


Times / Herald

Richard Corcoran to cities: Drop dead

As he plots a possible run for governor, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is aggressively using the Legislature as a bully pulpit to court conservative voters and restrict powers of cities and counties. Corcoran's election-year strategy is coming into sharp focus as the full House scheduled action on more than a dozen issues in the first week of the 60-day session. They include a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, limits on public subsidies to sports teams, new barriers to local tax increases and higher ethical standards for local elected officials — all bills that restrict municipal power.


The Florida Oracle

Florida House Speaker targets cities, pushes his agenda

As he plots a possible run for governor, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran is aggressively using the Legislature as a bully pulpit to court conservative voters and restrict powers of cities and counties. Corcoran’s election-year strategy is coming into sharp focus as the full House scheduled action on more than a dozen issues in the first week of the 60-day session. They include a ban on so-called sanctuary cities, limits on public subsidies to sports teams, new barriers to local tax increases and higher ethical standards for local elected officials — all bills that restrict municipal power.


Tallahassee Democrat

Mayor, labor officials and consumer advocates denounce House attacks on home rule

Local officials, immigration advocates, and labor leaders denounced the Florida House agenda Thursday morning in advance of the first floor debates of the 2018 session. Among the bills Speaker Richard Corcoran has teed up for early passage is a crackdown on sanctuary cities, new restrictions for local tax increases and repeal of a host of business regulations. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democratic candidate for governor, at a news conference argued the House bills are an abuse of legislative power.

Pitted against an overreaching House, few fight for more local power

There are a number of bills this Session that would shift control from local governments to the Legislature, making some elected officials — like Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum — unhappy. In the House, one of those bills is being expedited during week one of Session. House Speaker Richard Corcoran voiced his early ambitions for the House in the first week of Session, promising to pass HB 9, a bill that would heavily reprimand local officials if they enact sanctuary city policies — a phrase coined for local efforts that safeguard undocumented immigrants.



Seminole County conservation district condemns tree-rule preemption bills

The two bills moving through the Florida legislature aiming to preempt local rules and ordinances on tree removal got a vote of resounding opposition Tuesday evening from the Seminole County Soil & Water Conservation District. The Seminole district became the first county-wide agency to vote formal opposition of House Bill 521 and Senate Bill 574, as the district supervisors debated concerns that the bills are intended to protect development from local ordinances and regulations.


Tampa Bay Times

Immigrant rights advocates protest as House takes up sanctuary cities bill

About an hour and a half before the Florida House took up a controversial bill that would ban "sanctuary" cities and impose penalties on elected officials and communities that do not comply with the ban, about a hundred immigration rights advocates and several legislators held a protest outside the chamber decrying the bill as"flagrantly racist" and a threat to local governments. The bill, HB 9, which would prohibit communitites from adopting sanctuary policies protecting undocumented immigrants at the risk of incurring penalties, would also compel Florida cities to comply with detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Republicans swat Democrats’ ‘sanctuary city’ bill amendments

Five amendments filed by Democrats were clobbered on Thursday by the Republican-controlled Florida House as the chamber considered a controversial bill banning so-called sanctuary cities and threatening local officials with fines and removal from office. The amendments would have added protections for DACA recipients, required federal immigration detainer requests to be accompanied by a judicial warrant and mandated the state to reimburse local government for the costs that come from fully complying with federal immigration authorities.


Orlando Sentinel

Commentary: Hometown rules protect tree canopies and your property value

Well, it looks like another year of the Florida Legislature threatening local Home Rule. This time one of the more egregious proposed bills, Senate Bill 574, would strip local government of its authority to regulate the removal of healthy trees within its jurisdiction. Because more than 60 percent of the trees grow on private property, this bill specifically threatens the very character and charm of cities like Winter Park. Winter Park is known for its quaint downtown, abundance of parks and tree-lined streets.


Orlando Sentinel

Commentary: Fate of Florida trees: Who knows best?

Should Tallahassee take control of Florida’s trees from cities and counties? Local governments across the state can regulate types and sizes of trees on private property. Many require permits before trees are chopped down, and some charge fines if property owners don’t first seek permission. Those local ordinances rankle advocates of property rights. An outcry after Hurricane Irma cited regulations as confusing and “unnecessary permitting costs” to trim or cut down trees to clean up from the storm.


Red Light Cameras


Daytona Beach News Journal

OUR VIEW: Shut down cameras

Most types of accidents actually increased at intersections with cameras. Red-light cameras might be among the most loathed innovations of the last few decades. And many Florida cities that once embraced the electronic tattletales have shut them down, including Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach. Palm Coast was the last local holdout, ending its traffic-camera program in April. But they’re still allowed in Florida, and still operating at more than 400 intersections, spitting out more than 1.1 million tickets in the fiscal year that ended June 30. It’s time for the Legislature to pull the plug.




Foster Folley News

Sausage Making: An Op/Ed by Jack Payne/IFAS ………

It’s now the season when you can watch the sausage getting made in Tallahassee. Or, if you go to Holmes or Washington counties, you can learn to do it yourself. The woman behind a self-sufficiency movement taking hold in rural Florida is a family and consumer sciences Extension agent named Judy Corbus. The demand for the class was driven not by housewives asking, “What do I make for dinner?” but by hunters asking, “What do I do with this deer?”


Tourism Development Taxes


Florida Today

Brevard legislators Fine, Goodson spar over bill to change how tourist tax can be spent

Florida Reps. Randy Fine and Tom Goodson sparred this week over Fine's bill to expand the possible uses of tourist development taxes in Florida. Fine also took shots at the Brevard County Commission and the county's tourism industry during committee debate on his bill. The Fine-sponsored House Bill 585 passed its first of three required committee stops on Wednesday, by a 9-4 vote, in the House Tourism and Gaming Control Subcommittee. Goodson was among the no votes. The bill would allow revenue for tourist development taxes on hotel rooms and other short-term rentals to be used for capital projects that would directly benefit tourism.


Orlando Sentinel

Tourism interests object as House moves on bed tax bill

TALLAHASSEE — Legislation that would allow tourist development taxes to be spent on tourism-related infrastructure projects was approved by a House panel Wednesday despite the concerns of tourism industry groups that the change would erode efforts to market Florida. Rep. Randy Fine, R-Brevard County, is sponsoring HB 585, which would give local tourism development councils the option of spending money on roads, sewers or environmental clean-up projects that benefit tourist attractions.