Legislation: HCR 8007/SCR 957: Florida legislator residency requirement

According to the Florida Constitution, Article III, Section 15 (C):
(c)QUALIFICATIONS.Each legislator shall be at least twenty-one years of age, an elector AND RESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT from which elected and shall have resided in the state for a period of two years.

From a Florida Senate Press Release:

Enhancing Residency Requirements for Public Officials

This Session, the Florida House and Senate established a Joint Rule on Residency (HCR 8007 / SCR 954) to ensure state legislators live in the districts they represent. The rule specifies that residency is demonstrated by a totality of the circumstances based on a non-exhaustive list of common-sense factors, and codifies the way a residency challenge would currently be analyzed. The joint rule further requires each member to affirm in writing that he or she is an elector and a legal resident of his or her district.

Additionally, Senate Bill 602, sponsored by Senator Jack Latvala, extends the same parameters for determining residency to certain candidates and public officers outside of the Legislature.

The text of HCR 8007 reads as follows:

House Concurrent Resolution 

A concurrent resolution creating a new Joint Rule 7 of the Joint Rules of the Florida Legislature relating to residency of members.

Be It Resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Florida, the Senate Concurring:

That a new Joint Rule 7 of the Joint Rules of the Florida Legislature is created to read:

JOINT RULE SEVEN

QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS

7.1-Residency

(1) A member shall be a legal resident and elector of his or her district at the time of election and shall maintain his or her legal residence within that district for the duration of his or her term of office. While a member may have multiple residences, he or she shall have only one legal residence. The legal residence of a member at a designated location is demonstrated by a totality of the circumstances. Factors to be considered include, but are not limited to:

(a) Where one claims to reside, as reflected in statements to others or in official documents;

(b) The abandonment of a prior legal residence, as

evidenced by moving from or selling a prior legal residence;

(c) The abandonment of rights and privileges associated  with a prior legal residence;

(d) Where one is registered as a voter;

(e) Where one claims a legal residence for a homestead exemption;

(f) Where one claims a legal residence for a driver license or other government privilege or benefit;

(g) The transfer of one’s bank accounts to the district where one maintains a legal residence;

(h) Where one’s spouse and minor children maintain a legal residence, work, and attend school;

(i) Where one receives mail and other correspondence;

(j) Where one customarily resides;

(k) Where one conducts business affairs;

(l) Where one rents or leases property; and

(m) Where one plans the construction of a new legal residence.

(2) In accordance with Section 3 of Article X of the Florida Constitution, a vacancy in office occurs when a member fails to maintain a legal residence within his or her district as required at the time of election.

(3) In accordance with Section 2 of Article III of the Florida Constitution, each house of the Legislature shall be the sole judge of the qualifications of its members, including whether a member no longer satisfies his or her qualifications for office.

(4) Each member shall affirm in writing that he or she is a legal resident and elector of his or her district based on the provisions of this Joint Rule. Each member shall file the written affirmation with the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives before the convening of Organization Session following each general election. For a member who is elected pursuant to a special election, the member must execute the written affirmation before or concurrent with taking the oath of office and provide such affirmation to the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives. The form of the written affirmation shall be prescribed by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives for members of their respective house of the Legislature.”

 

Related:

Florida: What is Homestead Exemption Fraud?

Voter registration and residency

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