The Florida League of Cities and three communities this week filed a renewed constitutional challenge to a state law that is expected to help telecommunications companies install wireless technology on city-owned utility poles and in public rights of way.
The league and the cities of Fort Walton Beach, Naples and Port Orange filed the lawsuit Monday in Leon County circuit court, about three months after filing a similar challenge to a 2017 state law. The new case incorporates changes the Legislature made this year to the law, which involves the installation of antennas and other equipment that telecommunications companies need for new 5G technology.
The revised case, in part, targets a change that lawmakers made this year that could open cities to lawsuits in state or federal courts — including being required to pay costs and attorney fees — if they violate the wireless-technology law. Attorneys for the cities contend that the change violates the constitutional separation of powers.
“The proper separation of powers required by the Florida Constitution cannot be maintained where a statute passed by the Florida Legislature allows the judicial branch to subject municipalities to financial penalties for discretionary decisions necessary to the core legislative functions of