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Gov. Scott vetoes a trio of bills including one championed by Tom Lee

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Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday vetoed a trio of bills, including one by Senate budget chief Sen. Tom Lee and another he said he didn’t even need to reject.

Lee supported a rewrite of the Administrative Procedures Act, HB 435, and sponsored the Senate companion bill. The governor said the changes in the bill could result in prolonged litigation impending an agency’s ability to perform core functions like sanctioning bad actors and protecting public health and safety.”

The bill, Scott said in his veto letter, “alters the long-standing deference granted to agencies by shifting final action authority to an administrative law judge.”

“These changes create a situation that could paralyze agency rulemaking, delay enforcement actions, and create a backlog of court cases at an increased cost to the taxpayer.”

CS/HB 105 would have allowed municipalities providing fire protection services to a Municipal Service Taxing Unit (MSTU) through an interlocal agreement. Municipal Taxing Units allow counties to place an ad valorem tax on less than countywide for a particular municipal service.

“The bill allows certain municipal service taxing units to levy a new tax in order to reduce the local contribution to the municipal fire pension funds. This creates a costly precedent where unincorporated areas of the county could be allowed to levy new taxes that the law does not currently authorize,” Scott wrote in his veto letter, advising that, “there already is a mechanism in state law” that would allow the taxing unit to join the municipality, “which would not create new taxing authority.”

The governor also vetoed HB 997, which creates a public records exemption for criminal or civil intelligence or investigative information or other information held by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) that is part of a joint or multiagency examination or investigation with another state or federal agency. Scott in his veto letter indicated that the bill was unnecessary because if information is exempt from federal or other state law it would be exempt from Florida law, also.

The measure was linked to another bill, HB 995, or a similar piece of legislation, meaning it couldn’t go into effect without the other bill going into effect. The linked bill did not pass, though, which had Scott note in his veto letter that “this bill would not take effect even if signed (it).”

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