Twenty-one Mayors from across Florida are making one last push to convince Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto legislation they say will inhibit the ability of county and municipal governments to respond to public needs.
The bill in question (SB 620), named the “Local Business Protection Act,” creates a cause of action for businesses to seek damages from local governments if they can prove a new ordinance caused a 15% income loss in one year.
Eligible companies that have operated for at least three years in a jurisdiction would be able to recover expert-determined sums unless the municipality or county in question rescinds the ordinance.
The Legislature passed the bill March 9. It awaits DeSantis’ signature.
In their letter, the group of Mayors contend the bill will prevent local governments from passing responsible and popular local laws affecting an array of issues, from the environment and housing to public health and vacation rental rules.
“Even worse, it would have a devastating impact on Florida residents, who would be forced to pay for lawsuits that businesses use to threaten local lawmakers,” the letter said. “This bill gives too much leverage to local or multinational businesses in the creation and stalling of legislation designed to promote the public good in their community.”
They wrote: “As Mayors, we recognize the vital importance of local businesses and their contributions to our communities. They are the lifeblood of our local economies and are our neighbors. However, this bill sets the stage for abuse, more frivolous lawsuits, taxpayer dollars wasted.”
Proponents like Dover Republican Rep. Lawrence McClure, who carried the item’s House companion (HB 569), say it will impel governments to more carefully consider how the new rules they pass will affect local industry.
“Until you haven’t slept because you’re worried about