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Tallahassee, other Florida cities challenge parts of HB 1 that allow state control over budgets

Lawsuit
Posted at 6:38 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 18:38:05-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The City of Tallahassee joined seven other Florida cities Tuesday morning in a legal challenge against parts of HB 1 that allow the Governor's office to control local government budgets if they reduce funding for law enforcement.

HB 1, also known as the "Anti-Riot" Bill, was signed in April 2021 and allows local police to challenge budgets, opens communities to liability for poor riot control and creates or strengthens penalties against those it deems rioters.

In addition to Tallahassee, the city governments of Gainesville, Lake Worth Beach, Miramar, North Bay Village, North Miami, North Miami Beach and Wilton Manors were included in the legal challenge.

The roughly 60-page legal challenge outlines why the local governments feel that it is their responsibility, not the Governor's office, to make budgetary decisions of any kind.

"Local governments provide the day-to-day services that Floridians rely on, from public transportation to parks to libraries to safety and emergency services," the challenge reads. "Municipalities have a responsibility to allocate these services in ways that best respond to the needs of the local community, and to do that, they need the authority to craft budgets that reflect community values."

The challenge goes on to say that HB 1, "overrides the local legislative process by enabling the Administration Commission to re-appropriate local tax dollars with no guiding standards, no limitations from the state legislature, and no accountability to the impacted local communities. "

The cities argue that the consequences of HB 1's process are too severe and that they are afraid of triggering them. They also added in the challenge that the cities do not truly know which decisions they make may cause the Governor's office to step in and begin the re-allocation process.

In addition to not knowing what may cause an executive override, the cities also add that they do not know how far the Administration Commission will go to reallocate local funding under HB 1.

Gov. DeSantis' office told ABC 27 that they are evaluating the lawsuit and look forward to defending HB 1 in court.

You can read the full legal challenge below: