For Immediate Release: August 14, 2019
Decisive victory affirms validity of state preemption, and the City of Coral Gables is immediately prohibited from enforcing its invalid regulations
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association supporting Florida’s retail industry for more than 80 years, applauds today’s ruling by Miami’s 3rd District Court of Appeal. A victory for FRF and its members, the Court struck down the City of Coral Gables’ effort to circumvent state law and restrict use of all polystyrene products in the City.
“We commend the court as this decision reinforces the legislature’s ability and authority to govern these issues on a statewide basis,” said FRF President & CEO R. Scott Shalley. “This decision helps ensure Florida remains a business-friendly state by avoiding a patchwork of regulations by the more than 400 local governments. I also want to thank the Attorney General’s Office for their partnership and support in joining this successful lawsuit.”
“We look forward to a continued statewide dialogue on these important issues. Florida’s retailers have a vested interest in a healthy and sustainable Florida,” continued Shalley. “Our retailers spend millions of dollars every year on identifying ways to reduce our collective ecological footprint. We will continue to focus on solutions that are based on science and the importance of responsible consumer education and behavior.”
The City of Coral Gables, in a series of 2016 overreaching regulations, tried to prohibit the use of polystyrene products by city retailers altogether. The City went so far as passing a local ordinance declaring 500.90 F.S. “unconstitutional.” The Florida Retail Federation, its local City of Coral Gables member Super Progresso, Inc., and the Attorney General’s Office defended the validity of the state preemption statutes. State laws supported by the Florida Retail Federation have long preempted regulation of polystyrene packaging materials to the state legislature, and the 3rd District Court ruled all of Coral Gables’ local regulations in derogation of state law are invalid.
Accordingly, any local regulations of styrofoam or other packaging materials, such as plastic bags, adopted by other Florida municipalities after January 1, 2016, are invalid as they violate state laws. FRF members and local retailers are now protected from post-2016 regulation by aggressive municipalities or counties as a result of FRF’s advocacy efforts. FRF was represented by Dexter Lehtinen, Esq. and Claudio Riedi, Esq. of Lehtinen Schultz, PLLC, in Miami.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year as the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity.