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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 9, 2021 4 days ago

Florida League of Cities appoints Bishop to Legislative Policy Committee

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Bishop will help develop the FLC's legislative action agenda in the new role.
by: Mark Bergin Staff Writer

The Florida League of Cities recently appointed Longboat Key At-Large Commissioner BJ Bishop to its Legislative Policy Committee.

FLC incoming president and city of Lakeland commissioner Phillip Walker appointed Bishop to the committee.

“The purpose of this committee is to speak specifically to issues that impact towns and cities,” Bishop said. “One of the critical issues going on right now has been a number of legislative attempts by the folks in Tallahassee to damage home rule.”

Specifically, Bishop mentioned attempts by Florida lawmakers to give the state authority over short-term rental properties. She also mentioned a bill that limits local control of home-based businesses.

Longboat Key has grandfathered dozens of tourism properties, but the town generally does not allow for short-term rentals for fewer than 30 days in residential areas.

The home-based business legislation prompted Longboat Key Mayor Ken Schneier to write a letter last month to Gov. Ron DeSantis, asking the governor to veto it.

“For the Legislative Policy Committee, that is our most basic question, ‘Why do you in Tallahassee want to make decisions for people that you have no relationship with?’ ” Bishop said.

On Tuesday, the town also announced Bishop, District 1 Commissioner Sherry Dominick and District 4 Debra Williams attended the FLC’s Institute for Elected Municipal Officials Course from June 4-6 in West Palm Beach.

“Municipal government is more complex than most people realize and being newly elected officials can be overwhelming at times, especially with the rigors of COVID,” FLC President and city of Orlando Commissioner Tony Ortiz said in a statement.

In May, District 2 Commissioner Penny Gold and District 5 Commissioner Maureen Merrigan completed the same courses in Tampa.

Bishop said the courses were not offered in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The one thing that they do that is very helpful is just getting you as a commissioner to think about how you work with others, especially if you certainly have different legislative priorities,” Bishop said. “They do a whole three-hour session on effective council techniques of becoming a really effective town commission.”

Bishop said some of the coastal municipalities have similar issues such as ongoing beach renourishment projects and how to curtail illegal short-term rentals.

“It was a good session,” Bishop said. “We met a lot of really interesting people from other beach communities, which is helpful.”

Mark Bergin is the Longboat Key Town Hall reporter for the Observer. He has previously worked as a senior digital producer at WTSP, the CBS affiliate in St. Petersburg. Mark is a graduate of the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicagoland area.

See All Articles by Mark

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