HB 17 would concentrate immense power in Tallahassee and ban local communities from passing any regulations on “businesses, occupations and professions in the future.” The bill—backed by powerful lobbyists and startling in its scope—would effectively stop local officials from doing their jobs. Without state approval, cities and counties could not even create sanitation guidelines for horse-drawn carriages, subject street performers to decency rules, or regulate strip clubs.
“Why don’t they just abolish local government?” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (D).
“It’s a terrible idea,” said Wakulla County Commissioner Ralph Thomas (R). “Conservatives believe in smaller government but HB 17 would make government bigger, more complex and less responsive.”
The St. Augustine Record derided the bill as “overreaching,” saying it gives too much “additional power to the legislature.” To manage the “morass of problems” HB 17 would produce, “we’d certainly then need to empower and employ a new state ‘Department of Interlocal Spat Determinations.’”
This bill doesn’t stop regulation—it just shifts regulatory power from local towns and taxpayers to bureaucrats in Tallahassee, leaving a complex web of impossible-to-navigate regulatory questions that handcuff local communities, cost local taxpayers and burden local businesses.