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New law could mean a change in firefighters for some Bradenton residents


The Manatee County Supervisor of Elections must hold a referendum on the change before it takes effect.

Some residents in Bradenton could see a change in their fire protection services if voters approve a measure headed to the November ballot.

gov. Ron DeSantis signed on Monday HB 1047 sponsored by Rep. Tommy Gregory, a Republican from Sarasota. The measure expands the charter of the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District, which covers an area in southwest Manatee County and serves up to 100,000 residents, to incorporate into its charter the Trailer Estates community.

The law also directs the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections to conduct a referendum asking county voters whether the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District should be allowed to offer fire service as well as collect taxes, assessments and fees necessary to provide fire rescue programs and emergency services to the Trailer Estates Community.

Residents of Trailer Estates voted on Nov. 2, 2021 to abolish their fire district and to transfer its assets and property to the Trailer Estates Park and Recreation District instead.

Both the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District and the now-defunct Trailer Estates Fire Control District are examples of independent special fire control districts and were created by the Legislature. An independent special district only possesses the powers granted to it by law. That means the Cedar Hammock Fire Control District could not expand its district area without the Legislature first agreeing to pass a law amending its charter.

Likewise, even though voters agreed to abolish the Trailer Estate Fire Control District, the Legislature needs to pass a bill eliminating the district from the law books.

To that end, Gregory also filed HB 1049which abolishes the district and directs that its assets be transferred to the Trailer Estates Park and Recreation District, instead.

HB 1047 and HB 1049 are just two of a bevy of “local bills” that DeSantis received. Local bills are proposals that impact a specific geographical area and there are different procedural rules that must be followed when they are being considered.

Local bills must be ratified before taking effect, and that language must appear in the bill. Or, an affidavit of “proper advertisement” can be attached to the local bill when it’s initially filed. Local bills are put on a “local bill calendar” for passage. If a member of the delegation that is affected by the local bill objects, the bill can be removed from the calendar.

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