Q&A – Should Florida’s Government Have Their Emergency Powers Limited?

Today’s entry: You caught my attention with the proposal that would limit executive authority in Florida. Pardon the ignorance but I’m not sure what current laws are to know what’s different from the proposal you mentioned. 

Bottom Line: What you’re referencing is what’s known as HB 7047, or the Emergency Management bill proposed at Governor DeSantis’s request. Unveiled in the House on Sunday, this legislation is on the fast track with only two weeks left. 

To the point of your question, what’s the current policy for each of those that change if this becomes law? Starting with vaccine passports. While Governor DeSantis has signed an executive action banning vaccine passports, that policy would end as soon as Florida’s emergency declaration for the pandemic ends. Were this to become law, it would apply permanently. 

Now, let's talk about local emergency authority. Currently, there’s no limitation on the length of emergency declarations at the local government level. Only the requirement that they’re reviewed every seven days. All South Florida governments who’ve maintained emergency declarations have simply renewed those orders weekly. Were this to become law, local declarations would be capped at six weeks.

Also, with Florida under an emergency declaration, Governor DeSantis can and has invalidated portions of local orders. But that’s another ability that only lasts as long as Florida’s emergency declaration lasts. This proposed change in Florida law is aimed at preventing local governments from abusing emergency declarations in the future, at least in the eyes of the governor. 

The other two changes are likely the least controversial proposed, including the provision that would limit the governor’s executive authority. The meat of the executive spending change is the limitation that funds would either have to be received by the federal government or have been allocated previously by the state legislature for there to be unilateral action by the governor. The final change, the mandate regarding PPE, has most recently been standard operating procedure but would mandate under state law going forward. This would include regular inventory checks to ensure the state’s ever-growing population is accounted for. 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods. 


Parler & Twitter:@brianmuddradio 

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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