State legislatures make move to limit, undo some local government regulation

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Florida Senate building in Tallahassee. (Credit: CBS)
Florida Senate building in Tallahassee. (Credit: CBS)

Neighbors in Fort Myers Beach say they’re doing what they can to protect the environment. And with a current ban on plastic straws, many restaurants here have already found alternatives.

With a current bill in the Florida legislature those rules might just get thrown in the trash.

Local restaurants like Dixie Fish Company say they’re abiding by local ordinances that ban plastic straws. Not because they have to, but because they want to.

“Anything that we can do to help the community down here we will do,” says Dixie Fish Co. General Manager Meliss Alleva. “We’re very very into the environment down here because of course you can see where we are on the water.

But a recent bill passed by the Florida House of Representatives could ban local ordinances on plastic straws and some Southwest Florida neighbors aren’t happy about it.

“I don’t see a reason why you would need plastic straws,” says manager Eric Hines. “If there’s a more environmental option that’s pretty close to cost, I would say why would you use plastic straws.”

This isn’t the first time the state has tried to intervene with local ordinances. They’ve recently made efforts to regulate shared ride services like Uber and short-term rentals like Airbnb.

Some neighbors argue that local governments should have the final say.

Larry wallard is in favor of local regulation, “I think, the closer government stays to its home, the better. The farther you are away to legislate, the less effective it is.”

They hope that officials don’t wait until 2024 to make a change.

“The environment is what is most important for our future. It’s very important to us.” Alleva added.

We spoke to a few restaurants in Fort Myers Beach who say even if the bill is passed, they plan to keep using paper straws.

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