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Proposal 95 would end home rule in Florida
Constitution Revision Commission Proposal 95, sponsored by Commissioner Lee, will be heard by the Local Government Committee on Friday, January 26th at 9:00am. Proposal 95 would eliminate home rule in Florida as we know it.
Proposal 95 would create a constitutional prohibition against any county, municipality, or special district’s regulation of any type of commerce, trade, or labor, unless such regulation operated exclusively within the respective entity’s own boundaries in a manner not prohibited by law.
Additionally, Proposal 95 would prohibit any regulation enacted by a county, municipality, or special district from intruding upon, or impeding, commerce, trade, or labor across the respective entity’s boundaries.
The language contained in Proposal 95 is incredibly broad and the Proposal provides no definition for the terms “commerce”, “trade”, or “labor”. This could lead to numerous legal challenges brought against not only local government ordinances and regulations, but also against legislation enacted by the Legislature.
"SECTION 6. Regulation of commerce, trade, or labor.-A county, municipality, or special district may only regulate commerce, trade, or labor occurring, exclusively within the respective entity's own boundaries in a manner not prohibited by law. A regulation enacted by a county, municipality, or special district may not intrude upon or impede commerce, trade, or labor across the respective entity's boundaries."
Proposal 95 invites endless litigation because of its expansive and vague language. Ultimately, courts will determine what it means to “intrude or impede upon commerce, trade, or labor” for almost all local government activities. The list of potential litigants is nearly endless, including state and local governments, business competitors, and community groups.
Florida’s counties operate ports, airports, and other transportation hubs that affect commerce outside of the local government boundaries – this includes commerce in other states and internationally. If put in the constitution, this would create a cause of action for any of Florida’s competitors to challenge a local government’s regulation of these facilities.
Unfair to Local Businesses
Proposal 95 would allow businesses with offices in two or more jurisdictions to be completely exempt from local government regulations. This would benefit big business and hamstring local businesses who want to be good neighbors.
Empowers Tallahassee’s Bureaucracy
This language would be in Florida’s constitution and would prevent the legislature from even authorizing a local government from engaging in a regulation that has been determined to intrude or impede upon commerce, trade, or labor. As a result, various regulatory programs currently handled by local government would have to be handled by the state or not at all. Local governments would be unable to handle most local issues and the citizens would have to come to Tallahassee to seek solutions to localized and mundane problems.
In summary, Proposal 95 would:
- Affect fundamental local decision such as zoning, animal control, tree protection, and traffic flows
- Force local leaders to navigate a network of approvals and appeals to tackle mundane administrative matters
- Require local employers to engage in the state legislative process for minor matters that could easily be addressed at the local level
Please visit flcrc.gov and ask the members of the Constitutional Revision Commission to vote for localism and against Proposal 95.
An Amendment to Proposal 95 is filed
On Wednesday, January 24, an amendment to Proposal 95 was also filed. Under this amendment, any regulation that would intrude or impede upon commerce, trade, or labor across the enacting entity’s boundaries would be required to be enacted pursuant to special law and approved by a vote of the electors of the affected government entity.
This would require any new local government regulation or amendment to an existing regulation to be approved by both chambers of the legislature and effective only upon a vote of the electors.
The proposed amendment specifies that a local government may only regulate commerce, trade, or labor occurring exclusively within the respective entity’s own boundaries IF the legislature passes a special law to allow it. This language turns county home rule power, where counties have such authority to regulate unless the regulation is inconsistent with general law, completely on its head.
This would bring Florida’s governments to a halting stop; overwhelm the 60 day legislative session with requests for action that could be easily handled at home; expand the state’s already unwieldy bureaucracy at the expense of rural and small communities; and favor the well-financed special interests in Tallahassee.
AMENDMENT TO PROPOSAL 95 DEFEATED
An amendment to Proposal 95 had been filed that made the constraints on local government tighter. In committee, the amendment was debated and defeated. As a result, the Sponsor of the proposal Senator Tom Lee, requested that Proposal 95 be temporarily passed. This means the measure has been postponed and can either be withdrawn by the sponsor or be brought back up at a future CRC Local Government Committee Meeting.