Florida’s Republican-dominated Congress is increasingly “eroding” the authority of local governments led by lobbyists and campaign donors, according to a study released Monday by Integrity Florida.
Cities and counties are being stripped of their power to act in certain areas, often to the detriment of minorities, due to new and increasingly “aggressive” state laws, the non-partisan organization’s report details.
This is a “strategy” of the Florida Legislature that has become “difficult,” lamented Ben Wilcox, Integrity Florida’s director of research.
“It’s like using a sledgehammer to kill a fly and is largely driven by campaign contributions and corporate special interest lobbying,” Wilcox said.
The organization says it is increasingly “aggressive” in this way, which seeks to “weaken the power of local governments over vast areas of law and regulation”.
It details that there are certain punitive provisions, which hold local governments and officials accountable for violating state legislation.
He noted that these are laws with “partisan, ideological or special interest motivations”.
The study indicates that some Republicans have expressly recognized that the use of this strategy is aimed at “blocking progressive local actions and punishing rebellious local governments”.
It details that they use it to block, for example, local attempts to add protections for minority LGBTQ, African-American, and poor communities.
They also prevent “local governments from enacting strong environmental and community health measures,” he said.
“It is clear that there is a concerted and strategic effort annually in the Florida Legislature to strip local government of its power to act on a wide variety of issues,” the study concludes.