The diversity of services provided to Florida’s citizens by counties requires a strong legislative and legal team in Tallahassee. FAC represents counties on a range of important issues before the state legislature, the governor and Cabinet, various state agencies, commissions, and the courts. The FAC legislative advocacy team covers more than 80 percent of the thousands of bills proposed each legislative session, working hard to preserve home rule. The below issue areas cover all the the bills FAC is tracking in that field for the 2020 Legislative Session.
As Florida’s population continues to grow and change, it is important that our communities continue to reflect local values. This is best accomplished by empowering local voters and their representatives and not by one-size-fits-all regulations from Tallahassee. For the past few years, efforts have been made to require all local government actions to be specifically authorized by the Legislature. To look at bills filed this Legislative Session that would do such, please click here.
Recognizing instances where the state has overreached in the past, bills have been filed which would repeal some of the additional preemptive regulations on Florida's local governments. For a list of bills which would remove current state preemptions, please click here.
Economic prosperity depends on communities with dependable basic services, but also where the quality of life encourages businesses and individuals to flourish. Counties need flexible tools to develop economic strategies that target local strengths, enhance and expand employment opportunities, and maintain adequate infrastructure. To view bills relating to economic development and community services, please click here.
Providing for public safety is one of the core functions of county governments. Counties provide for safety through support of first-responder services from sheriffs’ offices, ambulance services, fire and rescue, and emergency management centers that protect the public during natural or man-made disasters, terrorism, emergencies, and public health threats. Florida’s counties also play a critical role in the state’s criminal justice system, providing prevention, pre-trial, and reintegration services, juvenile programs, victims’ assistance, and jail funding throughout the state. For a look at the public safety and criminal justice bills that FAC is currently following, please click here.
County officials recognize the importance of adequately providing for quality health services to protect and assist citizens in need. Counties must be included in formulating and implementing policies that protect the health and welfare of all the citizens of the state. For the health policies tracked by FAC, please click here.
Conservation and protection of Florida’s natural resources is critical to managing growth, promoting economic development, and maintaining a healthy environment to ensure a high quality of life for Floridians. To view bills relating to agriculture and the environment, please click here.
The impact of growth and development in Florida during the last 30 years has brought significant benefits and costs to county government. Given Florida’s expected future growth and because Florida’s communities are remarkably diverse, Florida’s counties must have flexibility in planning decisions to address unique local concerns and conditions. County officials must have the ability to make reasonable decisions for the advancement of the local community on zoning, comprehensive planning, transportation, and infrastructure issues without being subjected to prohibitive claims for damages for infringement on private property rights. For a list of bills relating to growth management and comprehensive planning, please click here.
The Florida Association of Counties believes that Florida’s transportation system is a vital component in building and sustaining communities, moving people and goods, and developing competition at local and regional levels, and on a national scale. Florida’s counties play a critical role in the state’s transportation system. Florida’s counties should be recognized as major partners in the maintenance and development of Florida’s transportation infrastructure and provided levels of funding and authority that adequately reflect their role in the state’s transportation system. To view legislation regarding transportation, please click here.
Increased demands on Florida’s water supply are forcing many diverse interests to work with county government to plan the future of water policy in Florida. In an effort to achieve the best possible result, county government should continue to expand partnerships with the agricultural community, urban water users, regional government agencies, and environmental organizations to encourage water conservation, water resource, and water supply development projects. For water quality and supply legislation being tracked by FAC, please click here.
The power to administer county government can be found in the State Constitution and the Florida Statutes. However, the system of shared governance between the state and counties, and its political subdivisions, is critical to the successful administration of local services in the most efficient and effective manner. Decisions regarding statewide administrative policy must accurately reflect the ability of the state and counties to utilize resources in an optimal manner to provide and produce essential public services. To view bills relating to county's administrative duties, please click here.