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State seeks to put lid on Styrofoam fight

December 2, 2019

Highlands News-Sun,

Jim Saunders,

December 1, 2019-

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office Tuesday urged the Florida Supreme Court to reject an appeal in a battle about the city of Coral Gables’ attempt to ban the use of Styrofoam food containers. Coral Gables took the dispute to the Supreme Court after the 3rd District Court of Appeal in August upheld the constitutionality of state laws that blocked a 2016 city ordinance targeting polystyrene, better known as Styrofoam. The city contends, in part, that the state “preemption” of the ordinance violates local home-rule powers.

But in a 12-page brief Tuesday, lawyers in Moody’s office said the case “breaks no new ground regarding the nature of the Legislature’s power to preempt local ordinances” and, as a result, the Supreme Court should not take it up. The state is allied in the case with the Florida Retail Federation, which filed a brief Monday. “The (3rd District Court of Appeal) decision simply restated the well-established legal principle that the Florida Legislature can expressly preempt a subject matter for state regulation if it so chooses,” attorneys for the retail federation and Super Progreso, Inc., wrote in Monday’s brief. “The Legislature did so in the three clear and unambiguous statutes at issue.”

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