Lawmaker wants to relocate state capitol

On Jan.  8, the day before the 2018 legislative session officially began, HB 1335 was introduced. The proposal was submitted by Rep. Bill Hager R-Delray Beach.

Hager’s bill would create a task force that would assist in considering options for relocating the state capitol building, as well as the legislative and executive offices.

The task force would also be responsible for coming up with ways that would make travel for the public easier, as well as how the move would economically impact Tallahassee and Leon County.

Although cabinet offices, chief financial officer, and attorney general are mentioned in the bill, Hager failed to mention plans for the state Supreme Court, as well as other state agencies, which are not in his bill under the offices he intends on moving.

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce expressed its opposition to the bill immediately. This is not the first time there has been a proposal to move the state’s capital. In 1900 Florida voters said no to relocating the capital. Then, in 1967, Sen. Lee Weissenborn submitted a bill to the Legislature to move the capital to Orlando. That bill brought major traction to the city of Tallahassee, as well as state legislators, who were offended by the thought of moving the capital city from Tallahassee, which has been the capital since 1824. The city was picked because it was the midway point between the state’s two principal cities at the time, which were Pensacola, and St.  Augustine.

Citizens of Tallahassee had the same reaction this month that they did back then. They are not pleased with the current bill in place.

Albert Hayes, a 21-year-old public relations major at FAMU, said he was opposed to Hager’s effort to move the state capital. 

 “I do not agree with the shift of the capital. I believe we already have something working, and a shift will not be in the best interest of the people. Also, central Florida is crowded, and bringing a society of people to an overcrowded area will be terrible for the people.”

There are others such as graduating senior Jeremiah Carter who are open to relocation, but not to the central Florida area. “I am open to moving of the capitol, but Orlando is already crowded, Pensacola and Jacksonville are both nice areas that should also be consider for relocation if the bill passes.”

The bill has a long way to go before it would become law. It must clear several more committees in the House before it gets a vote in that chamber, and at this point there is no companion legislation in the Senate.