News Section: Local Government
BOCC Contemplates Legislative Priorities
BRADENTON -- Manatee County Information Coordinator Nicholas Azzara presented county commissioners with a first draft of the new and recurring issues likely to go before the Florida Legislature when it reconvenes. The board was asked to consider what issues it wishes to prioritize in the upcoming session, which is scheduled to kick off March 4, 2014 in Tallahassee.
Azzara started with new issues likely to be reviewed once the legislature is in session, and moved to issues once submitted, which didn't get consideration in the last session. Barring special sessions, the Florida legislature meets only once each year for a single 60-day session.
First on the non-prioritized list was the county's request for a full repeal of chapter 30961, Laws of Florida, relating to mandatory nonprofit use conditions in leases and conveyances.
The county wants the state to continue funding of their law library, even though much of the material deemed no longer relevant will be replaced with current "online" sources. The county wants a full repeal of chapter 61-2455, Laws of Florida.
The county supports revision to Section 159.17, Florida Statutes, allowing the county to automatically attach utility liens for uncollected fees for water and sewer, saving the county the cost and time spent filing suit.
The county also wants the state to fund treatment-based drug court programs, which have shown a lower recidivism rate than incarceration.
To relieve the county and local businesses from the growing expense of health insurance, and guarantee the over one million uninsured in Florida care, the county supports the state acceptance of more than $50 billion in federal dollars to implement the Affordable Care Act.
The county wants the state to not sell-off property that includes Manatee River State Park; so to raise revenues -- the county does not support the Senior Homestead Exemption, until it is redesigned so other holdings are noted and considered; and the county supports an amended F.S.893.138 allowing Code enforcement and nuisance abatement period to be extended from 6 months to 12.
The list of issues to revisit the legislature are: Taxation for sales from remote vendors/Internet retailers; Home Rules, giving local government greatest say in how they are governed; and the county wants the right to recognize Vacation Rentals, dissimilar to residents, with a full repeal of HB 883.
The county will decide if they will pursue: red light camera laws; candy flavored tobacco laws; vessel and waterway laws; and fertilizer/landscape laws and send those requests to the legislature.
Azzara suggested commissioners submit a top priority list of items, so that later, in a workshop, the board can narrow its focus to what is most likely to pass in the next session.