A measure which would block local governments from banning sunscreen and single-use plastic straws was approved Monday morning with a 71-40 vote in the Florida House.
“I think we’re trying to take too much power from local government,” said Rep. Joe Geller, who voted against the bill.
“I think this bill interferes with Home Rule too much.”
Still, the bill’s supporters argue that local governments aren’t assessing the problems with these bans correctly.
On plastic straws, disability advocate Olivia Babis testified during committee hearings saying a ban can hurt vulnerable citizens.
“I don’t think pre-emption should be abused by the state,” Babis said
“But when we have vulnerable population whose health and safety is being put at risk, then that is a point when the state does need to intervene on behalf of that community.”
And on sunscreen, Rep. Ralph Massullo cited studies which show the benefits of sunscreen outweigh concerns about damage to coral reefs, which appears to be as yet unproven.
“Sunscreens save lives. They protect people,” Massullo said.
“Sometimes we need to step in, particularly when local government is putting our citizens at risk.”
In closing, Roach argued that the state is still free to ban single-use plastic straws or sunscreen, but that he’s pushing for uniformity.
“This is not a referendum on whether the state should regulate plastics, how the state should regulate cosmetics,” Roach said.
“What this is a referendum on is whether we need a uniform regulatory framework in the state of Florida which will serve to attract and protect capital in the state of Florida. That’s what this bill is about.”
A companion bill in the Senate (SB 588) has not received a vote.