On October 24 2023, the Leon County Commission held a workshop to discuss the 2024 State and Federal Legislative priorities. Provided below are comments by elected officials.
Commissioner Proctor noted his concern for the 8-year term limit intended for County Commissioners and asked one lobbyist why the Legislature would target County Commissioners to an 8-year limit. The lobbyist explained that this action taken by the Legislature is a preemptive measure among other reasons, noting the Legislature also adopted an 8-year term limit for school boards.
Chair Nick Maddox claimed an 8-year term policy would infringe on their Home Rule rights as a County stating, “Our citizens have felt comfortable with the way things are. Until they feel differently, I don’t think the State (no matter how they feel) should be able to come down and tell our citizens what should be done in Leon County.” Additionally, Proctor noted he would like the County to file a lawsuit against the State over this issue.
Commissioner Rick Minor also expressed concern for the Legislature trying to preempt Home Rule and asked what action might be taken next. The lobbyist explained that it can be hard to tell what preemptive action the Legislature might take next (if at all). However, he did note that voting rights continue to be eroded away. Additionally, Minor claimed the State continuing to undermine local citizens to keep their government accountable is a big issue he anticipates to see more of in the upcoming year.
Commissioner David O’Keefe explained that mobile homes are being bought out by outside investors who raise the rent too high for the tenants to stay in their homes. O’Keefe proposed policies that make it easier for mobile home park residents to purchase their own park before outside investors. This proposal was turned into an agenda item for more information on the issue and to consider adding the item on the Legislative agenda.
Commissioner Christian Caban stated he would not support the proposed Public Safety on College and University Campuses issue. This issue would prohibit concealed carrying of firearms on college or university facilities. When asked by Proctor if he was for guns being on campus, Caban stated, “Good guys with guns are more powerful than bad guys with guns… I’m not going to support a policy that disarms people and their second amendment right to protect themselves in a situation where they’re a sitting duck.”
Staff recommendation on the Legislative priorities passed unanimously; however, the issue of prohibiting guns on campuses passed 6-1, with Caban voting against.