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Florida bill could put term limits on county commissioners

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(The Center Square) — A Florida lawmaker has filed a new bill to impose term limits on county commissioners.

House Bill 57 is sponsored by Rep. Michelle Salzman, R-Cantonment, and would introduce a term limit for county commissioners, limiting them to two four-year terms.

The bill text states that unless a county charter has different terms, a person might not appear on a ballot for reelection to the office of county commissioner if, at the end of their current term, they have served in that position for eight consecutive years.

If a county does not have a county charter that includes term limits as of July 1, 2024, the bill reads that the “service of a term of office which commenced before November 8, 2022, may not be counted toward the limitation imposed.”

Furthermore, if the bill passes, it will not supersede county charters with more restrictive term limits.

Salzman also filed House Joint Resolution 19 in late August, which would have amended county commissioner term limits.

NorthEscambia.com reported that Salzman was looking forward to seeing it on the ballot for 2024. The resolution was her first filing in the 2024 legislative session.

“The people of Florida have been asking for this opportunity to choose for a while. I fully support term limits at all levels of government,” Salzman told NorthEscambia.com

However, the resolution was withdrawn in September and replaced with HB 57 rather than let the voters decide statewide. If HJR 19 had remained on the ballot, it would’ve required at least 60% of votes before it could become law.

There are currently 11 charter counties that impose term limits on commissioners. Eight already have an 8-year cap, while three have term limits of 12 years. Florida’s other 56 counties currently have no term limits.

During the 2023 regular session, an identical bill was filed — Senate Bill 1110 — sponsored by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill. That bill, which died in the Senate Rules Committee, would’ve also introduced term limits for county commissioners.

SB 1110’s companion bill HB 477, which mandated term limits for district school board members, was signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis in May.

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