Florida HB 1 and Defunding the Police.

One of The Florida League of Cities main platforms fit under the ideological umbrella of Home Rule, the idea that local governments — more than 400 of which are represented by the League — should have considerable discretion in governing themselves

The Florida legislature keeps chipping away at “Home Rule,” as HB1 would authorize elected officials to file an appeal to an Administration Commission if a municipality makes a reduction to the budget of a municipal law enforcement agency.

While the legislation proposed in HB 1 includes important provisions that increase penalties for illegal actions during riots, protects our roads and highways from unlawful obstructions, it creates a framework that would restrict defunding the police at the local level. 

Shouldn’t communities be best able to determine, through local leadership, how to address their budget for local law enforcement?  Local leaders are elected by voters in their communities; to overrule their will is to overrule the will of the people.

Florida House of Representatives HB 1: A Bill to Combat Public Disorder

Authorizes “specified elected officials to file an appeal to the Administration Commission if the governing body of a municipality makes a specified reduction to the operating budget of the municipal law enforcement agency…requiring the Executive Office of the Governor to conduct a budget hearing considering the matter and make findings and recommendations to the Administration Commission; requiring the commission to approve, amend, or modify the municipality’s budget.”

According to a February 9, 2021 article in The Washington Post by Simon Balto, “The argument for defunding…is fairly straightforward. It is an argument predicated upon resource reallocation, in which portions of the vast sums of money that get spent on policing — an institution that inflicts demonstrable harm upon many communities of color and poor people — is redirected toward funding for things that would enrich people’s lives: housing, health care, job training, food and so on.”

Yes, abolishing the police entirely or severely curtailing their numbers could easily increase crime, but what most people don’t understand is the concept of “resource reallocation.” And shouldn’t the local community that best knows its own dynamics, rather that the State, be the one to decide on reallocating resources, should it decide to do so?  

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