The Florida League of Cities outlined its priorities for the 2013 legislative session that include support for a statewide sustainable energy program, home rule on billboards, Attorney General Pam Bondis crackdown on synthetic drugs, and the ability of local governments to set their own fertilizer ordinances.
Among the priorities:
* Pension Reform: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation that provides comprehensive municipal firefighter and police officer pension reform and disability presumption reform.
* Economic Development: Recognizing that 89 percent of all businesses in Florida have 12 or fewer employees, the Florida League of Cities supports legislation that dedicates to small businesses state economic development resources emphasizing technical assistance, access to capital, public infrastructure and urban infill.
* Communications Services and Local Business Tax Protection: The Florida League of Cities opposes legislation that restricts or eliminates municipal revenues generated under the communication services tax and the local business tax.
* Water: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation which recognizes that diminished water quality and quantity affect existing business, future economic development, local and state government budgets, and the public health and safety. Cities must retain the necessary tools to meet their obligations and responsibilities to comply with water-quality standards and water supply planning, development and source protection. These tools include the authority of local governments to adopt and implement fertilizer ordinances; the ability to cooperatively fund expanded wastewater, stormwater, potable water and surface water infrastructure; and statutory clarification of municipal authority to establish stormwater utilities and charge assessments and fees to the users of such systems, including state agencies and school boards. Further, the League supports legislation that establishes environmental, technical and scientific criteria for the protection and recovery of water resources and also assists municipalities economic development efforts.
* Housing Policy: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation directing $300 million from the landmark national foreclosure settlement agreement to be used for existing local government affordable housing initiatives to meet the housing needs of the local communities.
* Energy: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation that establishes a comprehensive statewide policy on sustainable energy development and conservation, and that incentivizes the development and implementation of renewable and alternative energy sources. In addition, the League supports legislation that authorizes the use of $192 million in Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds allocated to the state of Florida for local government energy efficiency projects.
* Sober Homes: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation that defines and establishes minimum regulatory standards for sober home facilities and allows for more stringent local regulations of these facilities.
* Transportation Funding: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation that preserves local control of transportation planning and provides opportunities for additional revenue options to fund municipal transportation infrastructure projects.
* Billboards: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation that maintains the home rule authority of municipalities to more strictly regulate outdoor advertising. Additionally, state legislation that maintains the Federal Highway Beautification Act, as enhanced by the Florida Legislature in 1985, should be the baseline standard for regulating off-premises outdoor advertising.
* Synthetic Drugs: The Florida League of Cities supports legislation and the efforts of the attorney general and law enforcement to ban the manufacture, possession, distribution, purchase or sale of synthetic drugs, including without limitation, herbal incense, bath salts, synthetic marijuana and/ or any cannabinoids in Florida and also encourages funding for drug abuse education.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.