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Proposal Takes Aim At Preemption Of Local Regulations

State capitol during the day

A Senate Democrat on Friday filed a proposal that would make it harder for the Legislature to limit the power of local governments.

Sen. Gary Farmer, D-Fort Lauderdale, filed the proposed constitutional amendment (SJR 1674) for consideration during the legislative session that starts Tuesday. It comes amid efforts by cities and counties to fend off legislative attempts to “preempt” local regulations.

Under Farmer’s proposal, preemption bills would have to be approved by two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate, up from the current majorities. As a proposed constitutional amendment, Farmer’s measure also would have to be approved by voters.

Preemption bills for the 2020 session have been filed by Republicans and Democrats. Those bills deal with issues such as local occupational licensing (HB 3), permitting standards for mobile home parks (HB 647), vacation rental properties (HB 1011) and home-based businesses (SB 778).

Already drawing heavy attention has been a proposal (HB 113 and SB 172) that would prevent local governments from banning certain types of sunscreens and cosmetics. The proposal would prevent Key West from enforcing a ban on sunscreens containing chemicals that could be harmful to coral reefs. Business groups have argued that state preemptions are needed for consistency and to clear up patchworks of regulations at the local level.