As Florida State Legislature Attempts to Silence Local Governments, Local Leaders Speak Out

TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida is a home rule state, yet the Republican-controlled state legislature continues to vehemently push for a complete state takeover of local control – directly against the will of everyday Floridians.

This legislative session we are already seeing vicious, targeted attacks on local control – stripping localities’ power to respond to their residents’ immediate housing needs during a devastating housing crisis, protect their vulnerable immigrant communities, address their local climate needs, fund their public schools, and more.

Francesca Menes, Deputy Organizing Director for Local Progress, contextualized the situation on-the-ground in Florida.

“As a native Floridian, I can tell you that we are exhausted. We are tired of state lawmakers year after year trying to take more and more power away from our communities,” Menes said. “But Floridians are resilient. Everyday, there are people standing up for our communities who are committed to not back down, no matter how long it may take.”

The Florida state legislature’s anti-local control agenda is cloaked in culture wars and hard-right rhetoric. Thankfully, local elected officials are seeing through the nonsense, and as Menes alluded to, are among those committed to not backing down. During times like these, when local control is being stifled and local voices are being silenced, it’s more important than ever to hear from our local government leaders.

That’s why five current and former local elected officials, and Local Progress Florida members, representing communities across Florida spoke up this morning and shared how these attacks on local control would impact their communities:

“Rent stabilization is a common-sense, evidence-based policy option that 8 in 10 Floridians across the political spectrum support. Any effort by the legislature to ban rent stabilization efforts would not only deepen our affordability crisis, but it would directly contradict voter choice.” Emily Bonilla, Orange County Commissioner

“The Florida state legislature is attacking and dehumanizing millions of Floridians for whom everyday life can already be a challenge, while simultaneously taking away the power of local governments to help support these individuals and their families.” Nancy Metayer Bowen, Coral Springs Commissioner

“I wish I could say that amid all of these terrible bills put forth by the legislature, the one area of common ground that we agree on is that the future of our childrens’ public education is strong. But sadly, that isn’t even true anymore.”  Tina Certain, Alachua County School Board Chair

“Local governments are critical tools for addressing our climate crisis and for ensuring that the next generation of Floridians are able to afford a healthy home, safe water, and clean air. Instead of performing political theater over gas stoves, we should be empowering everyone – local governments included – to help us reach this goal together.” Alissa Jean Schafer, former Broward County Soil & Water Conservation Board

“Whether it’s taking away localities’ ability to address our residents’ housing needs, protect our vulnerable populations, fund our public schools, or conserve our precious natural resources – it’s critical to keep in mind that in each of these examples of abusive state interference from the legislature, the will of everyday Floridians is being not only ignored, but directly contradicted. In short, this state interference just makes life more difficult for everyday Floridians.” Joshua Simmons, Coral Springs Commissioner