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Bill mandating county commissioner term limits advances in Florida

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  • | 5:30 p.m. February 27, 2024
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A Senate bill that would limit Florida's county commissioners to two terms, or eight consecutive years in office, passed a key committee Monday.

The bill, SB 438, is sponsored by state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, a former state GOP chairman and top ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Ingoglia sponsored a successful bill for term limits for school board members in 2022 and DeSantis signed the bill. This time, it looked like Ingoglia's latest term-limits attempt could fail, as the Senate Committee on Rules had failed to vote on it. And some county commissioners from across the state showed up to oppose the bill in testimony, according to the Center Square, a state capital news organization. 

But on Monday, Ingoglia's term limits on county commissioners passed the Senate committee, the Center Square reports. 

A House version of the Senate bill has been guided through the chamber by state Rep. Michelle Salzman, R-Pensacola, and it will soon hit the full floor for a vote.

The bills would establish eight-year term limits for county commissioners and prohibit them from seeking the same office in another county for two years. Ingoglia added some amendments that dealt with charter and non-chartered counties, and counties that have longer term limits.

The state law now allows individual counties to set term limits on their own. If their limits are looser than Ingoglia's proposed eight-year limit, then the county would have to include a ballot question on term limits on the Nov. 5 ballot this fall.

Ingoglia looks at term limits as bringing in younger representatives — not just forcing out more seasoned ones. "When you have somebody who is in office, she or he may be there for 26 years, there's no end in sight for that term, so then people stop looking for people as potential replacements," said Ingoglia, according to Center Square. "The lack of term limits is a chilling factor to have the local communities find and recruit people to eventually take their place."


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