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State News

Rules Would Help Determine Whether Local Officials Live In Their Districts

Latvala.jpg
StAugustine.com

Local elected officials will have to face a new set of guidelines to determine whether they live in their districts under a bill that advanced past its first Florida Senate committee Monday. The new residency rules mirror the ones proposed for state lawmakers.

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) drove the effort to clarify what it means to live in a district after hearing reports that several state lawmakers don’t live among those they serve. With the new lawmaker residency guidelines already headed for a full Senate vote, on Monday Latvala introduced another bill that targets legislators’ local counterparts.

He explained, “In the course of the publicity over this issue, a number of instances of county commissioners, city commissioners and school board members who are supposed to live in their districts—and don’t—were brought to my attention.”

The bill requires officials to declare a single domicile. That residence will be subject to verification, including questions like "How much time do they spend there?" and "Do they claim a homestead exemption somewhere else?"