Cities set sights on environment, cybersecurity and local control for 2020

Florida cities have a long wish list for Florida lawmakers this year.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – From money for cybersecurity to environmental help, Florida cities have a long wish list for lawmakers this year.

The Florida League of Cities said one of its top priorities for 2020 is securing $5 million to help cities strengthen cybersecurity.

“Every city in the state is under attack every day. Now whether they’re successful in that attack is a different story,” said Casey Cook with the League.

Next on its list is the environment. In particular, improving the state’s water quality.

“There are estimates that we’ll need 20 percent more water by 2030 to meet population growth,” said Rebecca O’Hara with the League.

They’re hoping the Legislature will mandate a study to determine how to pay for improvements.

The League estimates the cost could be as high as $18 billion.

“We hear so much about we need water funding, we need water funding, but we really don’t know exactly how much is needed,” O’Hara said.

Another ask of the League, fully funding the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Lawmakers have repeatedly taken money from the fund for other state needs.

Above all else, the League is fighting for local control.

Bills have been filed to preempt regulations of short term vacation rentals, something cities fought hard to gain in 2014.

“These short term rental ordinances are balanced, they've been vetted by the community and I think that they're working,” said Cook.

Cities say they’re optimistic Governor Ron DeSantis stands behind them on local control, pointing to the fact he vetoed a bill last year that would have taken away municipalities’ ability to ban plastic straws.

“His message was essentially local voices, local choices, which is what our mantra is,” said Scott Dudley with the League.

More bills attacking local control are sure to be filed as the session moves forward.

Over the past three sessions, more than 40 have been filed each year.