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Hillsborough commissioners want a say on CRC proposals

By Chris O'Donnell
Published: February 21, 2018 Updated: February 21, 2018 at 01:58 PM
Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller

Every 20 years, Florida convenes a group with extraordinary powers.

Proposals approved by the Constitution Revision Commission go straight before  voters without having to be approved by the governor or Florida Legislature.

Then if enough people vote for them, they are enshrined in the Florida Constitution.

But an arcane Hillsborough rule prevented county commissioners from having a say on those proposals  even if they have a direct bearing on county government.

No more.

On Wednesday morning, commissioners voted unanimously to revoke that policy.

"It's antiquated; we don't need it any longer and it ties our hands," said Commissioner Les Miller, who brought the matter to the board.

The move was prompted by concern about CRC Proposal 95, which states that cities and counties may only regulate "commerce, trade, or labor occurring exclusively within the respective entity's own boundaries."

The measure, which which was offered by state Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa, is currently no longer under consideration but Miller said it could be revived at future CRC meetings. Critics say it would undercut the ability of cities and counties to regulate effectively and, therefore, centralizes more power in Tallahassee.

County staff could not recall why the gag on commissioners, in place since 1995, was adopted.

"We're in a different mindset in 2018 than the board was in 1995," Miller said. "We have some issues we need to address."