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Keys News

Florida bill would ease challenges to local government laws

Legislation that would make it easier for Florida businesses and individuals to challenge local ordinances cleared its first state Senate test Wednesday, with supporters calling it a needed check on government heavy-handedness and opponents saying the bill goes too far. The measure, sponsored by Republican Sen. Travis Hutson, would make cities and counties come up with a “business impact statement” on a proposed ordinance and require the suspension of any ordinance when it is challenged by a lawsuit under certain conditions — and if the lawsuit prevails, the government would owe attorney's fees.

Click Orlando

Cities, counties worried over Florida bill to make businesses ‘whole’

Local government officials raised concerns Wednesday about a Senate proposal that would block enforcement of new ordinances when challenges arise over the projected impacts to businesses. The Republican-controlled Senate Community Affairs Committee voted 7-2 along party lines to approve the proposal (SB 280), which would require counties and cities to produce a “business impact statement” before passing ordinances and to suspend enforcement of the ordinances amid legal challenges. Bill sponsor Sen. Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, said the proposal is an attempt to “resolve statewide preemption bills” while protecting businesses. Preemption bills, which have been highly controversial in recent years in the Legislature, restrict the authority of local governments.

The Capitolist

Senate President Simpson kicks off 2022 legislative session; highlights statewide political accomplishments

Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson signaled the start of the 2022 Legislative Session on Tuesday morning with his opening day address where he highlighted political ambitions that largely mirrored those of Governor Ron DeSantis. Simpson’s ‘to-do list’ included pay increases and bonus payments to law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, increased investment in teacher salaries, bus drivers, and maintenance workers, and improvements to the child foster care system. “We invested record funding in education, with the biggest per-people funding ever,” said Simpson. “We expanded school choice. One of the cornerstones of breaking generational poverty is to ensure we have a strong school choice option so parents can direct their children’s education. We are the promised land for education-minded families.”