FL: County and municipal codes stricter than state’s may not be enforceable

Source: mainstreetdailynews.com 9/26/23

The Newberry City Commission is looking for…

Currently, Newberry’s code does not allow sexual offenders to reside within 1,000 feet, and predators 1,500 feet, of a state-defined “protected place,” defined to be schools, childcare facilities, parks, playgrounds and any other gathering place for children. 

The city of Williston limits both to live 2,500 feet away from protected places, while state statute limits both sexual offenders and predators to a minimum of 1,000 feet from protected places. 

Courtesy city of Newberry Newberry’s existing code-specified 1,500-foot perimeters around protected areas.

After meeting with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO), Newberry staff learned there are 21 levels of sexual offenders, only five of which are required to comply with state residency radius restrictions. 

Staff also asked the city attorney’s office about enacting a more restrictive code than the state’s, looking specifically at Williston’s code for reference. The attorney’s office advised that, while a stricter code would be allowable, it may not be enforceable because the state will not prosecute a local ordinance that is not also a violation of state law, unless the city enters into an agreement with the state prosecutor. 

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What is the diff between allowable and enforceable then? They are going to allow a law to stand on the books for political street cred but not be able to enforce it? That is nothing but grandstanding and a waste of taxpayer money when more important items needed to be considered (and is akin to those stupid laws you read about, e.g., not being able to loan a vacuum cleaner to your neighbor on Sundays for use).

I wouldn’t be surprised. Not to diminish the suffering of those under Florida’s regime, but this seems very much in line with how supremacy is increasingly interpreted with regard to state constitutions and not just the federal supremacy clause. A welcome development insofar as the rule of law requires predictability and intelligibility by those subject to it.