Preemption, Water Regs Among Hot Topics For Sarasota Delegation

Todays News


As city leaders spoke to the Sarasota Legislative Delegation, a theme clearly emerged. The message? Let local government do its job. 

“Not all cities are the same,” said Sarasota Mayor Liz Alpert.

“We truly need to have home rule,” said North Port Mayor Mayor Chris Hanks.

“Take a good look at if you want your aunts and uncles running your houses or if you want to run your own house,” said Vanessa Carusone for the Manasota League of Cities.

Pushback against preemption laws this year became a consistent request from local elected officials to those running state government.

Of course, the push comes as lawmakers consider ways to bring further accountability to local officials. State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, plans again to file a bill putting major fines on cities that let wastewater system failures pollute waterways.

“I would list local governments as one of the worst polluters when you look at the sheer volume of human waste that gets dumped into our waterways,” he said.

Not all local lawmakers feel restrictions on municipalities will deliver the best approach. “We need to be more thoughtful,” said state Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota. “We should be working with our local governments to find ways to solve issues, not looking for new ways to punish them.”

The annual Sarasota County Legislative Delegation meeting on Monday provided a place to air grievances and to submit dollar requests. Organizations pushed for local spending, with Gruters reminding that while hundreds of requests will come into the delegation, likely just a few will make it to the state budget. College leaders, school districts and countless nonprofits came to make the case nonetheless.

State Rep. James Buchanan, R-Venice, took on a local bill to offer enforcement powers to regulations in the Holiday Park district, and state Rep. Newt Newtown, D-St. Petersburg, agreed through a staff member to do the same with a similar local bill at Tri-Park Estates.

State Rep Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, said he will take on fresh transportation projects this year, and heads to the next Legislative Session especially focused on improving the area’s bridges. 

Photo by Jacob Ogles: State Rep. Margaret Good and state Sen. Joe Gruters speak to press after the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation meeting.

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