Florida’s bill that would prevent local governments from imposing rules restricting activities in the state’s port advanced as lawmakers begin their spring session.
Regarding Key West’s vote to restrict cruise ship access, the proposed legislation states that the power to restrict trade in ports rests only with the state or federal government, and not with local communities.
According to Senator Jim Boyd, the legislation would have covered all 15 of the state’s seaports. The proposed legislation also prohibits local governments from restricting or regulating trade, the size and type of ships, the source or type of cargo, or the number, origin or nationality of passengers.
Now, Florida’s Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy Subcommittee held hearings to review the proposed bill. The objections included the nature of all ports and the preventive nature of the legislation. More specifically, legislators reached a compromise restricting the bill to lock down local regulations in the community-run ports in Pensacola, Panama City, Key West and St. Petersburg.
Those in favour of the regulation argued that allowing local authorities to set individual guidelines for their local ports could harm state trade, the flow of goods in and out of state, and the health, safety and wellbeing of the public.
On the other hand, the opposition focused on the ability of local authorities to take action to protect their communities.
The amended bill will now be presented to the state’s trade committee for another hearing before being voted on.