County commissioner 8-year term limits are teed up in the Florida House

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Term Limits Ahead sign. Illustration by JimVallee via iStock for WMNF News.

©2024 The News Service of Florida

A bill calling for term limits for county commissioners across the state is headed to the full Florida House.

The House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted 12-6 on a revised proposal (HB 57) that would require most counties to impose eight-year term limits for county commissioners, aligning the proposal with the Senate version (SB 438).

The House bill had earlier called for 12-year term limits.

The state Constitution addresses the structure of county commissions.

It sets four-year terms for commissioners but does not place limits on numbers of terms.

Eight of Florida’s 67 counties have eight-year limits for commissioners.

Under the House bill, voters in three other counties that have 12-year limits on county commissioners — Broward, Lee and Polk — would be asked to approve the lower limit in November.

Bob McKee, deputy director of public policy for the Florida Association of Counties, said local voters should be allowed to decide if they want to limit commissioners’ terms, rather than imposing limits through a state law.

“You just adopted an amendment that gives three counties the ability to vote, but for the rest of the counties it’s an act of fiat that takes place,” McKee said.

Bill sponsor Michelle Salzman, R-Pensacola, rejected requests to have voters throughout the state decide on the limits.

“I truly believe that we have all been elected by our local communities to come here and represent their voice,” Salzman said. “And we know that in their voices, they want term limits. So, to put that on the ballot as a statewide initiative would, in my opinion, be a waste of government and community resources.”

The Senate version of the bill was scheduled Wednesday to go before the Senate Rules Committee, but it was postponed.

During the 2023 legislative session, lawmakers approved imposing eight-year term limits on school board members, down from previous 12-year limits.

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