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League Of Cities: A Battle Royal For Home Rule

Sanoma Index-Tribune

On the eve of the 2017 legislative session, local governments are circling the wagons.

The Florida League of Cities is focusing most of its energy on HB-17 by Republican Representative Randy Fine of Palm Bay. The measure would preempt local governments from regulating businesses, unless authorized by state law.

League assistant general counsel David Cruz says the measure is overly broad and turns the traditional notion of home rule on its head. Cities wouldn’t be able to keep Sunday mornings peaceful with a typical leaf-blower ordinance, Cruz says.

“After this bill passed, we would no longer be able to do it if we applied it to a business, but we would be able to apply it to a resident. And so I think we create two various classes.”

Of course, that's not the only legislation the league is tracking.

Lawmakers want to make it easier for about 40 thousand firefighters to qualify for cancer benefits, but the league considers the measure an unfunded mandate.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.