In Florida, local authorities often have to give way to state legislatures on laws and regulations. The outcome for this can be less than beneficial for communities, towns, cities and counties that do not share the same characteristics, outlook or opinions of the state as a whole.
According to the Orlando Weekly, Florida voter surveys indicate that voters believe their own local governments should have the authority to pass policies that address their local needs. In 1968, state legislators agreed and amended the state constitution to give cities and counties that authority. However, in more recent years, state lawmakers have taken a different tack and have begun using state preemption to overturn local decisions.
People are still turning to their local governments to make decisions regarding local issues, but state legislators are making the final call. The outcomes have led many to believe that lobbyists have more control over what goes on in their communities than the local governments do, themselves.
Some officials, state legislators, organizations and unions have joined together in seeking to take back some of the local authority that state preemption has usurped. They have introduced preemption repeal bills to reinstate a number of local ordinances across the state, although many feel success is unlikely because those legislators who are using preemption power will have a say in whether the bills pass.
Local governments often seek the advice of a government law attorney to develop ordinances and draft bills that can gain traction and support in the state legislature. When state leaders overstep their authority, litigation may sometimes be an option.