We have an update on the Key West cruise ban.
Remember in November when the people of that Florida city decided that cruises were more of a headache than they were worth?
On Election Day, Conchs (which is what local Key Westers call themselves) voted nearly 2 to 1 to limit cruise passengers to 1,500 per day, effectively excluding large ships from calling at the Port of Key West. Residents also passed a measure to hold visiting ships to stricter environmental standards.
Now state Republicans are planning to negate the local vote.
Florida Senate Bill 426, which has started the legislative process but is not yet law, declares that only the state can decide where cruise ships can go. "A local government may not restrict or regulate commerce in the seaports," states the proposed legislation. "All such matters are expressly preempted to the state."
The bill, which seizes power from Key West residents and hands it to the state government, was sponsored by Republican senator Jim Boyd from Bradenton, Florida, located a six-hour drive from Key West. Boyd took office in November 2020.
Right now, the bill stands a good chance of passing because Florida's Senate, House, and governorship are all held by Republicans.
The cruise ban, if it holds, would be a big deal, with the potential to change a significant portion of Caribbean cruise itineraries for years to come.