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Controversial new Florida law has some local government officials giving up their seats

Controversial new state law causing local government officials to give up their seats
Posted at 7:18 PM, Dec 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-27 20:21:21-05

FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. — A controversial new Florida law going into effect January 1, 2024 has some elected local government officials giving up their seat.

Now former Fort Myers Beach councilman Bill Veach handed in his resignation, his work issued-laptop and cellphone Tuesday.

"I don't think I would call it regret, but it was a difficult decision," Veach said. "I really do care about the residents and small business owners of Fort Myers Beach."

Veach told Fox 4's Briana Brownleethis wasn't a decision he took lightly.

Senate Bill 774, commonly known as "Form 6," is why he says he's stepping away.

Form 6

Starting January 1, local government officials must disclose most assets, liabilities and transactions of more than $1,000. This includes their bank information, income, car payments, mortgages and student loans.

"In this day and age there is a lot more digital crime, more hacking, a lot of potential for unauthorized withdraws from accounts," Veach said. "If I go out and lay it out what bank I have assets in and what those assets are, it makes it a lot easier for someone who doesn't have good intentions to hack."

He also said he doesn't think Form 6 will help because if someone is taking a bribe, he doubts they will put it on the form.

"I think it's more of an intent to damage home rule which the state has been trying to do for years with primitive laws," Veach said.

A week before Veach's resignation, Naples Vice Mayor Mike McCabe also announced he will resign.

"I won't name any names but I know at least one council member who is seriously considering doing the same thing, but they haven't done it yet," Veach said. "Maybe not until the 31st is when we will really know how many people resign."

These elected officials have until December 31 to make a final decision. Veach said some are holding off to see if the state will amend the law.

Fort Myers Beach didn't get back with Fox 4 to answer how they will fill Veach's seat, but Veach said protocol would be for them to appoint someone.