City asks governor to veto proposed legislation

City asks governor to veto proposed legislation
Anna Maria City Commission Chair Carol Carter has been at the forefront of the city’s opposition to SB 620. - Joe Hendricks | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The mayor and city commission are asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto Senate Bill 620, also referred to as the Local Business Protection Act.

The commission took this action when adopting City Resolution 22-777 on April 14. As of April 18, DeSantis had not yet signed SB 620 into law, nor had he vetoed the proposed legislation.

If signed into law, the Local Business Protection Act would authorize certain businesses to claim business damages from a county or municipality that enacts or amends certain ordinances or charter provisions that results in lost revenues.

The proposed state law was sponsored by Sen. Travis Hutson and supported by the majority of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives. Representing Manatee County, Sen. Jim Boyd and Rep. Will Robinson Jr. both voted in support of the legislation.

Senate Bill 620 proposes: “A private, for-profit business may claim business damages from a county or municipality if the county or municipality enacts or amends an ordinance or a charter provision that has or will cause a reduction of at least 15 percent of the business’ profit as applied on a per location basis of a business operated within the jurisdiction; and the business has engaged in lawful business in the jurisdiction for the three years preceding the enactment of or amendment to the ordinance or charter.”

According to the adopted city resolution first suggested by Commissioner Robert Kingan, “Senate Bill 620 allows businesses to threaten local governments with lawsuits paid for by taxpayers. Senate Bill 620 will lead to a number of financially motivated and malicious lawsuits, costing local governments millions annually because local governments will be forced to increase taxes or reduce services to cover legal fees. Senate Bill 620 would hinder the governing body at the local level and would overall be detrimental to communities. Senate Bill 620 can provide national companies with the ability to exploit the bill for their advantage against local ordinances.”

In closing, the city resolution says, “The city of Anna Maria hereby urges the Honorable Governor Ron DeSantis to veto Senate Bill 620.”

The city’s ongoing opposition efforts also include a request for concerned citizens to email DeSantis using form letters provided on the “Take Action” page at the Home Rule Florida website.