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Lawmakers Look At Moving Lakeland Appeals Court To Tampa

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2nd District Court of Appeal
The Second District Court of Appeal is currently located at 1005 E. Memorial Blvd. Lakeland, FL 33801

Despite objections from Polk County lawmakers, a House panel Wednesday approved a proposal to move the headquarters of the 2nd District Court of Appeal from Lakeland to Tampa.

The House Civil Justice Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 815), sponsored by Rep. Shawn Harrison, a Tampa Republican who said "times have changed" since Lakeland became home to the appeals court in 1956.

The court hears cases from 12 counties, stretching from Pasco to Collier counties. The court has a branch at Stetson University's Tampa Law Center.

Appeals-court Judge Morris Silberman told the House panel that the Lakeland facility is "no longer functional" and has air-quality issues. He also said the legal center of the district is in the Tampa area.

But Rep. John Wood, R-Winter Haven, unsuccessfully proposed an amendment aimed at keeping the court in Lakeland. The Polk County lawmaker said the same geographic arguments could be made about moving the Capitol out of Tallahassee to a more-central location.

A Senate version of the bill had not been filed as of Wednesday morning.