On May 18, the Flagler County Commission decided to send the governor a letter opposing Florida Senate Bill 620, the Local Business Protection Act.
A number of local governments have sent similar letters about the legislation, which would allow business owners to sue local governments for damages to their business resulting from local government decisions.
But the commissioners have since changed their minds.
Commissioner Donald O’Brien told a county commission meeting on May 2 that he had doubts and wished he had spoken at the previous meeting.
“It was a very controversial bill,” he said, “…I can see both sides of the coin. There are certainly issues with autonomy, but there are also had a lot of protections for businesses. I’m a small business person.”
Commissioner Joe Mullins agreed.
“I would love to see us step back and maybe do something, write a letter that we support our senators, or maybe get some consensus on this,” Mullins said.
Commissioner David Sullivan said the bill did not support self-rule.
“It is my job as an elected member of Flagler County to support the things that I think are good for Flagler County, not to support the things that are not good for Flagler County,” said Sullivan. “…I guess the governor signs this bill. I hope we leave him alone: this should have been brought up last time, but cards laid, cards played.”
Commissioner Andy Dance has regularly cautioned his committee colleagues against voting on issues after only minimal discussion.
“We just need to stop talking about things at the end of meetings that aren’t properly vetted,” Dance said. “I assumed we had checked that beforehand, and found out that we hadn’t even checked that with our lobbyists, and that’s concerning.
He suggested rescinding the letter and discussing it at a workshop before voting again.
“We just have to stop doing things at the last minute,” he said.
The commission decided to write a new letter saying that they had not properly assessed the matter before and would reconsider.