Vice Mayor Joshua Simmons: The State, Not City, Regulates Short-Term Vacation Rentals

Local Voices United is a grassroots network dedicated to supporting local self-government.

By Joshua Simmons

The Florida Legislative session begins on January 11, and for 60 days, State Representatives and State Senators will enact laws and other policies that will affect all Floridians. 

The limited options to regulate short-term vacation rentals, such as Airbnbs, or the ability for someone to operate nearly any type of business out of their home without regard for their neighbors, are all existing policies that were passed by our leadership in Tallahassee during past legislative sessions. 

Suppose you have asked my colleagues or me to fix an issue, and we replied by saying the State has prevented us from taking action. In that case, it’s because legislators routinely pass bills that curb our authority to govern based on our residents’ wishes.

As the Vice Mayor of Coral Springs, I have tried my best to inform residents of bills being discussed during the legislative session that they should be aware of and, at times, bills that would negatively impact Coral Springs. Now, this information is more accessible to the public and filtered for specific updates on local government. 

The Florida League of Cities, a non-partisan organization, has rolled out a new Local Voices United program, which aims to inform residents of bills that will strip away local decision-making. Anyone can receive calls to action, information, and updates by texting “local voices” to 50457.

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I’m proud to have been recently appointed to the National League of Cities Board of Directors and a member of the Florida League of Cities Young Elected Municipal Official Council and the work we will do to advocate for home rule and communities like ours. 

Our neighborhoods, civic associations, and small business communities, among others, deserve to have a say when laws are being written which directly impact them. An informed public is a very effective one. 

I hope that many of you will sign up so that we can all work together to make sure we can make the best decisions for our community.

Joshua Simmons is the vice mayor of Coral Springs, board member National League of Cities, and Florida League Young Elected Municipal Official Member.

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