The Jacksonville City Council Rules Committee approved resolutions backing three local bills they would like to see the State Legislature consider this session.
Two of them involve drinking. And one involves the school board, which drives people to drink.
One local bill, “J-2”, asks for “special zones” in older neighborhoods, such as Murray Hill, Springfield, and San Marco, to lower the required seating for a restaurant serving liquor from 150 to 100.
The bill is similar to a resolution the council pushed last year, regarding the Riverside/Avondale Commercial Character areas.
As with that previous iteration, seating requirements for liquor-serving restaurants in affected parts of Springfield, San Marco, and Murray Hill (with more than half of their revenue derived from food sales) are requested to be cut from 150 seats to 100, and space reduced from 2,500 to 1,800 square feet.
A local restaurant owner with shops in Springfield and Murray Hill pushed for this allowance, contending that smaller establishments make sense as part of urban core infill.
San Marco was added via a floor amendment in committee.
House District 13 Rep. Tracie Davis is expected to carry this bill this session.
“J-3” was added to the agenda on an emergency basis, via Resolution 2016-828.
The bill summary asserts that the measure waives “open container restrictions on alcoholic beverage consumption within the A. Philip Randolph Entertainment District during 15 designated ‘special events’ and any other event designated as ‘special’ by the City Council.”
Legislative bill J-3 would amend the Florida Statute chapters regulating beer and wine sales and consumption to provide that for purposes of the application of the state law, the open container law exemption in Jacksonville’s special events district shall apply to “premises” licensed for “consumption on premises” that are either within or located contiguously to the A. Philip Randolph Entertainment District.
“J-1” was presented also, affecting the school board.
Resolution 2016-782, sponsored by Councilman Aaron Bowman, would express support for a J-Bill that would amend the Florida statute so that the vote of the Duval County School Board chair would not break a tie. In 2006, the Legislature adopted a measure for Orange County that dictated that, in counties with between 800,000 and 900,000 people, the school board chair’s vote breaks the tie.
Board member Scott Shine noted that an emergency meeting on curriculum had four members, and a 2-2 tie was broken by the chair.
Shine said that was a “pretty lean representation of democracy.”
Duval County may exceed 900,000 people by the next census, a point which concerned committee members.
All of these bills were unanimously approved, and will undoubtedly be approved next Tuesday by the full council.