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House Takes Aim At Local Ordinances

florida preemption
The State of Florida

A bill seeking to crack down on local business regulations is moving through the Florida House. 

The measure would stop local governments from imposing their own business regulations and add new requirements to existing rules, like a two-year sunset.

“There are approximately 410 incorporated municipalities in 67 counties in Florida," said Rep. Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte), the bill's sponsor. "Which means that businesses operating in our state can potentially face hundreds of unique, regulatory schemes.”

Current law requires lawmakers to put a sunset requirement in legislating adding rules to unregulated businesses, said Grant. His bill would add the same requirement for local governments.

Municipalities would have to show an ordinance’s financial impact, and would have to prove it is necessary. They would also have to review the ordinance every two years.

Opponents worry about a one-size-fits-all approach for municipal regulation.

“The bill is extremely vague and broad," said David Cruz, legislative council for the Florida League of Cities. "It would potentially affect every type of regulation or ordinance that impacts business in one way or another.”

The new regulations would be “extremely burdensome,” added Cruz. 

The measure could affect ordinances that are only tangentially related to business, like street parking.

Grant acknowledged it is a broad approach to a narrow problem, and says he is willing to work with opponents.

This is the most recent in a number of attempts by the Republican-controlled legislature to limit the power of local governments in recent years. Other measures currently being heard include bans on vegetable garden regulations and local plastic straw bans.

For more news updates, follow Shawn Mulcahy on Twitter: @ShawnDMulcahy.

Shawn Mulcahy is a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU. He graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with majors in public relations and political science. He was previously an intern at WFSU, and worked as an Account Coordinator at RB Oppenheim Associates.