Florida Republican files bill allowing school-board candidates to run for election before they live in district

A Senate Republican on Monday filed a measure that would change a residency requirement for school-board candidates.

Under current law, candidates have to live in the districts they are seeking to represent at the time they qualify to run.

The bill (SB 444), filed by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill, would revise the requirement so they would have to live in the districts at the time they assume office. The proposal is filed for the legislative session that will start in March.

The bill is one of multiple proposals that Republican lawmakers are considering to change laws about school boards. Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers, and Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, have filed identical proposals (HJR 31 and SB 94) that seek to turn school-board elections into partisan races.

If approved by the Legislature, the proposed change would go before voters in 2024 because it would require a constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile, Rep. Alex Rizo, R-Hialeah, has filed a proposal (HB 477) that would create eight-year term limits for school-board members. That would be a reduction from 12-year term limits approved by lawmakers last year.

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