An issue that has bedeviled dozens of counties across Florida — including Miami-Dade and Broward — returns to the spotlight this legislative session thanks to a Clearwater senator who has filed a bill that would fix a shamefully inequitable state mandate.
In 2004, the Florida Legislature forced 38 counties to pay a portion of the costs of incarcerating juveniles in the counties where they live before they are adjudicated into state care. Before that bill became law, the state paid all those costs.
But as is common practice in Tallahassee, lawmakers looked for ways to pass down costs in order to beef up the state budget for other projects and programs.
Even though a host of counties won a lawsuit seeking redress from an onerous billing system, the state merely adopted a new policy to short-circuit the ruling.