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Front Page » Top Stories » Florida Legislators Craft Route To Miamidade Charter Reforms

Florida Legislators Craft Route To Miamidade Charter Reforms

Written by on March 10, 2011

By Zachary S. Fagenson
Miami-Dade residents may soon get a nearly direct path to alter the county’s charter through Tallahassee.

State Rep. Carlos Lopez-Cantera and Sen. Rene Garcia, both Miami Republicans, filed a joint resolution to allow charter changes through a special law that would have to be approved by the local legislative delegation, then put to Miami-Dade voters.

But first, the bill would have to be approved by the legislature before being put on a statewide ballot, according to Sen. Garcia.

The legislation would supplement, not replace, current modes of charter change.

"If you want to change the charter, this is another vehicle," he said.

The bill would retain all of the existing Miami-Dade County Home Rule Charter and would keep all officeholders in place until the end of their present term.

"This came about years ago when I first was in the House. [There was a] similar piece of legislation and it was defeated statewide. We are now just trying to bring it back," Sen. Garcia said. It’s been "changed a little bit, where before I don’t think it had to go before the Dade delegation."

The bill comes as many point to charter reform as the next logical step if a March 15 election recalls Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

Billion auto dealer Norman Braman has floated his "Covenant with the People of Miami-Dade County" charter change package in public as well as privately with some mayoral hopefuls. The genesis can be traced to the 2007 charter review committee and its Chair, attorney Victor Diaz.

At the same time, Commission Chair Joe Martinez has charter amendments waiting in the wings to increase commission salaries and create an inspector general independent of the commission.

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