More budget autonomy for Sheriffs ready for House floor
Image via T.K. Waters.

The bill is progressing in the Senate as well.

The House State Affairs Committee is advancing legislation backed by the Florida Sheriffs’ Association that would give elected lawmen more budget autonomy.

HB 1447 would allow a Sheriff, including one of a consolidated city/county government, to move funds “between the fund and functional categories” without the approval of the County Commission or Budget Commission after their budget is approved by the legislative body. This independence extends to procurement and personnel issues.

The bill, sponsored by GOP Rep. Wyman Duggan of Jacksonville, is headed to the House calendar now that it has cleared all three committee stops. It had been temporarily postponed in last Wednesday’s meeting of the State Affairs Committee due to an amendment that changed the title, requiring that procedural delay.

Duggan explained that his bill clarifies that Sheriffs in consolidated governments have the ability to control their budgets, once approved, just like other Sheriffs.

The measure has momentum in the Senate as well, where Republican Sen. Clay Yarborough’s bill (SB 1704) has cleared the committee process.

Both sponsors represent Jacksonville, which has a Democratic Mayor and a Republican Sheriff that don’t always align. In the consolidated government, the Sheriff’s budget has a particular provenance and has been a flashpoint in the past.

Locals will remember a move from 2020 by former City Councilman Garrett Dennis, now a senior staffer for Mayor Donna Deegan, to hold half of the Sheriff’s budget in abeyance “below the line.”

That gambit didn’t succeed. But given worries about the Deegan administration from the city’s GOP establishment, this bill could be considered to be of a piece with other legislation attempting to curb mayoral powers.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski

One comment

  • MH/Duuuval

    February 21, 2024 at 10:51 am

    I predict TK will begin to sport a sixth star — 5 stars ain’t enough for a police chief who is totally in charge of policing — if he can get the patrol officers and their union in line.

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