Florida justices hear county term limits cases | News
Tallahassee, Florida - Is a limit of eight years in office for county commissioners permitted under the Florida Constitution?
That's the question the Florida Supreme Court will decide as a result of cases from Sarasota and Broward counties.
Voters in those charter counties approved term limits for county commissioners. Eight other counties, including Duval and Hillsborough, also have charters with term limits for those commissioners.
But it's unclear if the limits are constitutional.
Florida's constitution specifically authorizes term limits for state lawmakers, the governor and members of the Cabinet. But the list does not include local officials, such as sheriff, court clerk and supervisor of elections. The court has previously ruled those offices are not subject to term limits.
Now justices must decide if county commissioners should be treated the same way as those other local officials.
Constitutional lawyer Sarah Bleakley says the Supreme Court must rule quickly.
"It's really important for the court to rule fairly quickly because June 4th is the qualifying date and in Broward County and in Sarasota County there are county commissioners currently sitting that will be disqualified if the charter provisions are upheld opposing term limits."
Term limits in Broward County have been upheld by the 4th District Court of Appeal, but in Sarasota a judge ruled against the policy.
As far as the policy of term limits is concerned, which the Supreme Court is not considering in the current legal case, supporters believe eight years in office is enough and new candidates should get the chance to bring in fresh ideas.
Opponents contend government deals with so many complicated issues, it may take years for an elected official to understand the complexities of the job and become an effective advocate for constituents.