Duval County lawmakers discuss local issues

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Concerned citizens and local officials spent time with Florida Senate and House members who are part of the Duval Delegation on Thursday at City Hall offering opinions they hope shape the conversations this spring in Tallahassee.

"It's definitely part of the process," state Sen. Aaron Bean said. "We want input from back home. It helps us make better decisions when we're in Tallahassee."

"They're great to work with on really any issue," Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said. "Sometimes we agree, sometimes we don't. That's when you've got to go in there and make your case. That's what negotiations is all about."

Rutherford was representing sheriffs across the state as well as Duval County. When he gave his agenda, red light cameras weren't No 1 to him, but always seem to draw emotional response.

It did from two of the eight lawmakers on the platform.

"We knew that's coming up, even though it's not on our agenda," Bean said. "That's why I brought it up because I know it's a major issue over there at this time."

"It's on our radar screen," Rutherford said. "Maybe Jacksonville is different, but many cities I see are using it strictly for a revenue source, which isn't the way to go."

Bean heard issues already on his personal legislative radar and the panel listened to leaders like University of North Florida President John Delaney discussing the need for changes with the university system and its funding.

The Duval Delegation voted on some items but tabled a local bill regarding funding the library. It sounds like a procedural issue, but citizens want a straw poll to create an independent library taxing district.

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