Monday, September 5, 2011

Voters in half of charter counties have approved county term limits

This Supreme Court case isn't just about the antisocial ambition of Broward County politicians. The case will reaffirm -- or revoke -- the will of voters in 10 of Florida's charter counties.

Right now, half of Florida's charter counties have voter-approved term limits on their county commissioners. There are 67 counties in Florida.

But only charter counties -- sometimes called 'home rule' counties -- are permitted to customize their local government to meet local needs and concerns. There are 20 such counties in Florida, and they include the biggest ones. Orange, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade are all charter counties.

As explained on the Palm Beach County govenrment website, "True Home Rule gives the Board of County Commissioners the ability to create, through a local public hearing ordinance procedure, local laws that are not in conflict with or specifically prohibited by state general law or the Florida Constitution. This process is done without having to go to the Florida Legislature to request special legislation to create these laws."

Home rule has resulted in many different formats for county government, chosen by the people. For example, some counties have partisan elections and some don't.

For a simple and excellent primer on charter counties, see this presentation by the Palm Beach County Charter Review Commission. This was the source for the county comparison above.

1 comment:

  1. A message to journalists: I got this chart from the Charter Review Commission in Palm Beach County. In October, I personally called every county on this and confirmed that the information was current. As of 10/28/11, all term limited counties were enforcing their voter-approved term limits laws except Sarasota County.