Connect with us

Florida

State preemption bills have a good year at the Florida Legislature

Published

on

State preemption bills have a good year at the Florida Legislature


The 2024 Florida Legislature passed a number of bills that would take away authority from local governments. Known as preemption bills, they were cleared for issues ranging from local wages to vacation rentals to affordable housing. Some of those that failed this year will likely be back next year.

“Over the past six or seven years, it’s not been a good year for home rule.”

That’s Jeff Sharkey, president of Capital Alliance Group. He represents Leon County government, so it’s his job to push back on preemption bills. Florida lawmakers filed about 1900 bills this year and roughly 325 bills passed.

“One out of 20 of those 1900 bills were preemption bills,” said Sharkey. “So, you can imagine it’s a constant battle with local government advocates, city officials, county officials, Florida Association of Counties, Florida League of Cities…trying to manage that onslaught of preemption bills.”

Advertisement

One of the most controversial is House Bill 433, which would prevent local governments from putting requirements on contractors about wages and heat-exposure protections for workers. Republican House sponsor Tiffany Esposito of Fort Myers and other supporters said the proposal would save taxpayer money and that businesses should be able to determine the wages of workers. Sharkey disputes that.

“But there wasn’t, to my knowledge, one piece of evidence or ordinance that showed it that had a dramatically adverse effect on businesses,” he said. “I mean, you talk about roofers, you talk about construction companies, you talk about landscaping. This is hot in the summer, and it’s not getting any cooler.”

A related measure by Republican representative Jason Shoaf of Port St. Joe. would override existing city and county ordinances that impose hiring preferences on local public works projects. In debate on the Senate floor, Democratic Senator Jason Pizzo said Broward County, part of which he represents, has a program to subsidize some workers’ wages so they can qualify for benefits.

“[Does] anything in this bill, if passed and signed into law, that would prohibit a place like Broward from offering that hourly subsidy?”

Republican Senator Jay Trumbull of Panama City in response:

Advertisement

“Senator Pizzo, not fully understanding the nuances within Broward, but there’s nothing in this bill that would prohibit Broward from giving a gift of some dollar amount to a particular industry or vendor…is my understanding.”

Another successful preemption bill deals with vacation rentals. Sharkey says there are hundreds of thousands of these in Florida now, and lawmakers have tried for years to address them. Some see them as extra income for property owners, others as party houses with no accountability. Senate Bill 280 by Republican Senator Nick DiCeglie of Pinellas County would preempt the regulation of vacation rentals to the state. Here’s DiCeglie:

“There’s been somewhat of — I’d say a weaponization of government to prevent these properties from operating as vacation rentals,” he said, “and I think that this bill is going to address those concerns.”

Also passing: a ban on public sleeping, new requirements for food delivery platforms and electric vehicle charging stations, and the uniform handling of complaints against law enforcement.

Other preemption bills failed, including a measure that would have capped transfers from a city or county’s municipal utility to its general fund…and a move to ban the removal of historic monuments that have been in place at least 25 years.

Advertisement

Republican Senator Blaise Ingoglia of Spring Hill fought for term limits for county commissioners, but ultimately the House and Senate couldn’t agree.

“I will continue working on this bill,” he said before the bill died. “We still have a way to go. We still have the House to reconcile with.”

Sharkey expects some of those proposals and others to come back in the next legislative session.





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Florida

‘Yes on 4′ rally held in Orlando as Florida justices tee up ballot measure to codify abortion rights

Published

on

‘Yes on 4′ rally held in Orlando as Florida justices tee up ballot measure to codify abortion rights


ORLANDO, Fla. – The “Yes on 4″ campaign kicked off with a rally in Orlando on Saturday, about two weeks after Florida’s Supreme Court ruled to allow a November ballot measure on making abortion rights part of the state’s constitution.

Hundreds of people showed up to the rally at Lake Eola Park, including those on both sides of the issue. For Danielle Tallfuss, the subject hits close to home.

“I can tell you where I was and what I was doing the day Roe v. Wade was overturned,” Tallfuss said. “My experience was having to have an abortion at almost 23-weeks pregnant due to a fetal anomaly and at the time, Florida was a 24-week state, but I assure you if it had happened after the 15-week ban or now after the six-week ban, we would have traveled out of state to receive this care.”

On Monday, April 1, Florida’s Supreme Court passed down a ruling allowing a ballot measure to let voters decide whether the right to an abortion should be enshrined in the state’s constitution. The same court also upheld Florida’s 15-week abortion ban, which Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in 2022 and would ultimately make room for a six-week abortion ban he signed last year.

Advertisement

[EXCLUSIVE: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s FREE) | PINIT! Share your photos]

Now, organizations across the state have come together for the “Yes on 4″ campaign to educate voters and gather support ahead of the November election.

“We can’t let patients be under the risk that the government is putting them under right now,” said Lauren Brenzel, “Yes on 4″ campaign director. “We need to get these politicians out of these healthcare decisions so that they can sit with patients and their doctors instead of their senator and their representatives.”

Those against the amendment also shared their thoughts at the rally. We asked Mark Romagosa if he would like to see a total abortion ban.

“Yes. We don’t choose, God chooses. It is not our choice, it’s God’s choice whether we live or die, it’s not up to us,” Romagosa said. “I’m very opposed to abortion, I think it’s one of the saddest things to ever hurt our nation and I’m totally against it. I’m hoping it can be reversed. It’s going to be a tough uphill battle.”

Advertisement

Amendment 4 will be on the ballot for the November 2024 general election.


Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

Copyright 2024 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Florida

Surge in Haitian migrants hasn’t hit Florida shores, so far. What happened?

Published

on

Surge in Haitian migrants hasn’t hit Florida shores, so far. What happened?


The predictions were dire: Florida was on the verge of experiencing an onslaught of refugees from Haiti, driven by widespread gang-fueled lawlessness to make the perilous overwater voyage of hundreds of miles seeking safety in the U.S.

Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the mobilization of Florida personnel and equipment to supplement the federal response from the Coast Guard and other agencies.

“Given the situation in Haiti,” the governor declared in his mid-March announcement, he ordered more than 250 law enforcement officers, National Guardsmen and soldiers from several state agencies to South Florida and the Keys. Such actions are necessary, his office said, “when a state faces the possibility of invasion.”

A month later, it turns out there hasn’t been an invasion — or a noticeable change in Haitians arriving in Florida by boat. There isn’t agreement about why it didn’t come to pass.

Advertisement

In March, DeSantis reiterated the warning about what could be on the way to Florida in a Fox News appearance and told a conservative podcast host he might send Haitian refugees arriving in Florida to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., the way he did with Venezuelan asylum seekers in 2022.

Democratic elected officials were also concerned. A week after DeSantis’s move all the Democrats in the Florida congressional delegation warned about “the potential mass migration from Haiti to Florida.”

Their priority — advancing funding for a multinational security force for Haiti — was different, but they said action was needed to “help keep the Haitian people safe and Florida secure.”

No surge

The surge never happened.

“There’s no mass exodus,” said Ronald Surin, a former vice president of the Haitian Lawyers Association, an assessment shared in interviews with other Haitian American community leaders and elected officials in South Florida.

Advertisement

“We have not seen any Haitians coming over here,” said state Rep. Marie Woodson, a Hollywood Democrat.

MarieGuerda Nicolas, a psychologist and professor in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Miami, is co-founder and president of the Ayiti Community Trust, a community foundation in Haiti.

“People in Haiti right now are not necessarily saying, ‘How do I get a boat to come to Miami?’ That’s not what people in Haiti are thinking about at all,” Nicolas said.

That does not mean the situation in Haiti has improved in the last month.

“Nothing has really changed. There has not been any peace,” said Surin, a Fort Lauderdale immigration lawyer and president of the Haitian American Democratic Club of Broward County. “People are still being kidnapped and women raped, housing destroyed, police stations and medical facilities, banks and all of those are still under control of gang violence.”

Advertisement

“The gangs remain very powerful,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, whose agencies include the Coast Guard, said via a spokesperson it is monitoring the situation.

“At this time, irregular migration flows through the Caribbean remain low. All irregular migration journeys, especially maritime routes, are extremely dangerous, unforgiving, and often result in loss of life,” an agency spokesperson said via email.

DeSantis himself acknowledged the absence of a surge.

“We have not seen a real strong, really any, uptick in vessels trying to come from Haiti to Florida,” he said on Monday during one of his regular soliloquies criticizing President Joe Biden’s immigration and border policies.

Advertisement

DeSantis credit?

DeSantis took some credit for the surge that didn’t materialize. The governor said his deployment of personnel and more than a dozen watercraft and aircraft, played a deterrent role when combined with the Coast Guard.

“It’s not like you’re gonna be able to get through that,” he said.

DeSantis said the state has “worked well with the Coast Guard,” but said it is understaffed, asserting the Biden administration “hasn’t provided enough resources.”

Overall, though, DeSantis said Haitians have gotten a message: Don’t try to make the voyage to Florida, because you’ll be stopped.

”When you know that’s gonna happen, it makes it much less likely that people are gonna want to go in and try to make that trip. That’s a pretty long trip from Haiti to Florida,” he said.

Advertisement

Haitian American Democrats said DeSantis’ moves had no effect on anyone who might have contemplated the 700-mile trip to Florida.

“The people on the coast do not pay any attention to what the governor of Florida does before they leave on a boat,” Surin said, dismissing the deployment of state forces offshore as meaningless.

Other Haitian American Democrats excoriated DeSantis.

“Despite the Governor’s anti-immigrant grandstanding, there has not been a significant surge of Haitians fleeing the island. The assertion that there would be a surge was either politically motivated fear mongering, or miscalculated conjecture,” state Rep. Dotie Joseph, a North Miami Democrat, said via text. “Many Haitians impacted by the violence in the capital are internally displaced to other areas within the country which are not currently dominated by the so-called gangs.”

Tessa Petit, executive director of Florida Immigrant Coalition, was critical of DeSantis — and of the Biden administration for not denouncing DeSantis and doing more federally to help Haitians.

Advertisement

“Florida’s response to what is happening is a shameless attack on Haitians by Governor DeSantis stating the need to protect Florida against an invasion of Haitians,” she said Thursday in a telephone news conference.

A Mexican immigration official speaks to migrants, including many Haitians, as they line up for their appointment with United States immigration officials to apply for asylum, Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Tijuana, Mexico. Gang violence wracking Haiti has reverberated among millions who left Haiti for Brazil, Chile, Mexico and the United States. (Gregory Bull/Associated Press)

Returned to Haiti

The U.S. Coast Guard, part of the Homeland Security Department, has reported encountering some, but not many, people attempting to leave Haiti by boat.

When its ships encounter boats carrying people from Haiti or other countries it intercepts them — and repatriates the people on board back to the countries from where they came, including Haiti.

“U.S. policy is to return noncitizens who do not have a fear of persecution or torture or a legal basis to enter the United States. Those interdicted at sea are subject to immediate repatriation pursuant to our longstanding policy and procedures. The United States returns or repatriates migrants interdicted at sea to The Bahamas, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti,” the homeland security spokesperson said.

The Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies such as the Coast Guard regularly warn people not to set out on the dangerous voyage, and publicizes cases in which it interdicts boats and repatriates those on board.

Advertisement

In March, for example, the Coast Guard Cutter Venturous repatriated 65 migrants to Haiti. They’d been found near the Bahamas.

Petit and representatives of other immigration advocacy groups, who joined several leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Haiti Caucus in the telephone news conference, sharply criticized repatriation.

Deportations of Haitians who aren’t legally in the U.S. have been paused for now, but Petit said that policy should be expanded to include people interdicted at sea. Paul Namphy, lead organizer of Family Action Network Movement, said the U.S. should “not return Haitians to a country that is extremely fragile.”

Welcome refugees

As the situation was getting lots of attention, most American voters surveyed in a March 27 Quinnipiac University poll said they would welcome Haitian refugees.

The question was stark: “As you may know, Haiti is in the midst of a violent takeover by gangs. If Haitians flee to seek safety and attempt to reach U.S. shores, should the United States provide safe haven for Haitian refugees, or not?”

Advertisement

Among all voters surveyed, 55% said “yes” and 36% said “no.”

As with virtually all issues today, people are highly polarized.

Democrats, independents, people with four-year college degrees and those under age 50 heavily favored the U.S. granting safe haven for Haitian refugees.

Republicans were overwhelmingly opposed, and fewer than 50% of people 50 and older and people without four-year degrees said yes.

Among Democrats, 79% favored providing a safe haven and 14% were opposed. Independents were also supportive, 61-28%.

Advertisement

Among Republicans, 29% favored offering a safe haven for Haitian refugees and 65% were opposed.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, a Broward-Palm Beach county Democrat and the only Haitian American member of Congress, said she was troubled by the politicization. “As we keep going back and forth with these political games, we see that Haitian lives are at stake.”

‘Haiti fatigue’

The March warnings about a possible surge of migrants came about two weeks after gang violence sharply escalated on Feb. 29.

News coverage was flush with pictures and videos of heavily armed young gang members controlling the streets in much of Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital, and home to a third of Haiti’s population.

With the main airport closed, government and private flights were organized to get Americans out of the country, also generating lots of attention.

Advertisement

(DeSantis, who faulted the federal air evacuation efforts, also ordered evacuations by the state of Florida. From March 20 through April 2, the state Division of Emergency Management reported it had evacuated 220 Americans from Haiti to Florida. The effort reprised what the state did after the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel.)

In recent weeks, though, news coverage has dramatically decreased, as attention has turned to domestic stories, such as abortion rights, the presidential campaign and billion-dollar lottery jackpots.

It is still dominant for Haitian Americans, Woodson said, but more broadly there was “a lot of hype, and then the next thing you know everything dies out.”

Surin lamented what he said was probably “Haiti fatigue.”

“The Haitian people feel they are abandoned by the U.S., by the international community, by those nations who have claimed to be their friends,” Surin said. “They feel like attention is given to Ukraine and Gaza, rightfully so, but they are in kind of a similar predicament. But nobody is paying attention. There is no rescue.”

Advertisement

Anthony Man can be reached at aman@sunsentinel.com and can be found @browardpolitics on Bluesky, Threads, Facebook and Post.news.





Source link

Continue Reading

Florida

Gamecocks deliver series-opening win at Florida

Published

on

Gamecocks deliver series-opening win at Florida


GAINSVILLE, F.L. (South Carolina Athletics) – The University of South Carolina baseball team used six strong innings from Eli Jones and 13 hits to defeat No. 24 Florida, 10-3, Friday night (April 12) at Condron Family Ballpark.

Jones struck out six in six innings, allowing five hits and just one run with two walks. Chris Veach picked up his second save of the year, not allowing a hit in the final two frames.

Cole Messina, who hit leadoff, led the Gamecock offense with three hits, while Parker Noland, Talmadge LeCroy, Gavin Casas and Will Tippett had two hits apiece.

Noland opened the scoring with a solo home run in the first. The Gators answered with a run in the third but Carolina had home runs from LeCroy and Tippett to take a 3-1 advantage. Carolina scored two in the seventh on a Messina RBI single and bases-loaded walk to Kennedy Jones.

Advertisement

The Gamecocks scored five runs in the top of the ninth with the big hit a two-run Jones single up the middle.

POSTGAME NOTES

  • Gavin Casas had his first triple of 2024 in his pair of hits.
  • Carolina has won three games in a row, all against ranked opponents.
  • Carolina stole four bases on the night.
  • Jones pitched six innings for the fifth time this season.

UP NEXTCarolina and Florida will play game two of the series on Saturday afternoon (April 13) at 4 p.m. The game will be streamed on SEC Network Plus.



Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending