Seminole’s Lee Constantine Named President of Florida Counties Association – Orlando Sentinel

Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine was recently named president of the Florida Counties Association, an organization that represents the state’s 67 counties in the Legislative Assembly and in the governor’s office.

“I’m really humbled,” said Constantine, who served as a state legislator — including as a state representative and state senator — for nearly 20 years before being elected to the Seminole Commission in 2012.

As President, Constantine will help lead the political, advocacy and administrative functions of the organization. His nomination will also give Seminole — one of the smallest but densest counties in the state — more influence in Tallahassee.

“We have witnessed Commissioner Constantine’s dedication and enthusiasm to serving the local interests of Floridians during his many years of service,” Ginger Delegal, the organization’s executive director, said in a written statement. “His experience serving the association and the State of Florida will be an asset in ensuring representation for our members and our communities.

Constantine is a strong advocate of “home rule” and has long criticized state lawmakers for enacting laws that undermine or remove local government decision-making power.

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He pointed to recent statewide preemptions that have prevented counties and cities from having a say in the placement of 5G nodes within communities and the regulation of sun protection.

In 2017 and again in 2019, Florida lawmakers barred municipalities from regulating wireless infrastructure as telecommunications companies began installing equipment on public rights-of-way for 5G wireless connectivity.

In 2019, the city of Key West, at the request of local residents, banned the sale of certain sunscreens containing chemicals that damaged coral reefs. The state legislature then passed a law signed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2020 that prohibited local governments from banning any sunscreen.

Constantine also noted a proposal in the Legislature this year that would allow companies to sue cities and counties if a local ordinance caused at least a 15% loss in profits.

“We all know that government closest to the people is the best form of government,” Constantine said. “But our state government is trying to take away the foundations of local government and keep that power for itself. … We have a scourge, a real scourge, of overreach by state legislators.

The Florida Counties Association, founded in 1929, is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of one county commissioner from each of the state’s 40 Senate districts, along with five executive officers, six commissioners of county appointees at large and former presidents.

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