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Rep. Chuck Clemon’s home rule bill awaits final vote on House floor; commissioners react

Rep. Chuck Clemon’s home rule bill awaits final vote on House floor; commissioners react
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Vote for one or vote for all.

“As you well know, it’s a very contentious effort on both sides,” said State Representative Chuck Clemons.

That’s the question Alachua County residents may cast a vote on in November if Clemon’s HB 1493 passes on the House floor. The commission is currently elected at-large but Clemon’s proposal gives people the power to switch to single-member districts.

“One side wants to be heard and the other side doesn’t want people to vote in order to be heard,” added Clemons. “If we just allow this referendum which I hope we pass it today on nov. 8 all the questions that you pose will be answered.”

RELATED STORY: Charter amendment bill passes two committees; Alachua county commissioners react

The bill’s third reading is when house lawmakers vote on Clemon’s proposal. Although, Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell said voters in this area have already made their decision.

“Why don’t you let the voters choose? My response is well they have,” said Cornell. He’s referencing the charter review board process in 2020 among other means by which the county charter can be changed. A proposal for single member districts was not taken up by that board. Clemons argued the change increases accountability and minority representation.

“I think you see that many of the leaders that represent minority groups overwhelmingly don’t support this bill because as you know, minority representation is widely spread throughout our county and as a result since 1974, we’ve had minority representation on the county commission,” added Cornell.

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