House Bill 1 — now known as Florida’s Anti-Protest / Anti-Local Control Law — is a far-reaching law that undermines both free speech and assembly, and the ability of local governments to pass budgets responsive to their communities’ needs. It was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on April 19, 2021.
As it relates to local control, the law permits state officials to complete a line-by-line review of municipal budgets and force modification to those budgets. The law also waives sovereign immunity for cities and makes them civilly liable for personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage that occurs during a riot or unlawful assembly if the cities fail to “respond appropriately” to the riot or unlawful assembly.
In November 2021, nine cities across Florida filed a lawsuit against HB 1 with the support of Public Rights Project, Community Justice Project, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.
How It Impacts Florida Cities
House Bill 1 is a direct and sweeping attack against local control and local democracy. It impacts every single city in the state of Florida.
Under House Bill 1, if a city’s tentative budget reduces the operating budget of the city’s law enforcement agency, the Law permits the state attorney for the judicial circuit in which a city is located or any member of the city’s governing body to file an appeal by petition to the Administration Commission, a body that is comprised of the Governor and his cabinet.
Local governments are those closest to communities. It is critical that they are able to make policy and budgetary decisions that are inclusive of and responsive to the most pressing needs. HB 1 undermines that ability.
We urge cities and local elected officials to show their support and speak out against HB 1.
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