Florida Groups Unite to Take on Preemption

In late July, a Florida county circuit court struck down some of the penalties added in 2011 to Florida’s law banning local governments from regulating firearms. Those penalties included the ability to remove local elected officials from office, fining them up to $5000 and suing them personally while prohibiting that government funds be used for their defense. This ruling, more than a year after the mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman-Douglas High School, did not address the underlying ban on local regulation of guns. This ruling may seem like a watered-down response to the wave of youth activism the Stoneman-Douglas shooting unleashed, but Florida activists see it as a victory. Florida was second only to Texas this year in the number of preemption laws introduced into the state legislature. Those bills circumvent local decision-making authority by prohibiting local laws on certain topics. ... Yet instead of giving in to dejection, a broad range of Florida groups have come together to fight bills that gut local control. In response, Surfrider, the Florida League of Cities, the AFL-CIO, Equality Florida and the American Heart Association, among others, have joined forces to fight back against state-level pre-emption. Source

... In response, Surfrider, the Florida League of Cities, the AFL-CIO, Equality Florida and the American Heart Association, among others, have joined forces to fight back against state-level pre-emption. ...

... Some preemption laws, however, go beyond barring local communities from deciding what rules they want to live by and set harsh penalties for the public officials who decide to disobey. For example, Florida’s Senate Bill 168, which became law in mid-June, mandates that local governments consent to detaining individuals on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but it also allows the governor to file charges against local officials who refuse to comply. ...

... “I have seen firsthand legislators who have changed their minds on these issues,” Parker says. “I won’t say it’s a lot of them, but I have seen a handful, who just didn’t think it was an issue, who didn’t think preemption was an issue, who didn’t think plastic was an issue. But when they hear compelling testimony from their local Girl Scout troop or from these people who live in their community and they tell you exactly which beach they pick up and what they find, they find it powerful and persuasive.” ...


by: ZOE SULLIVAN     AUGUST 7, 2019

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