Delray Beach lawmaker Bill Hager proposes possible move of state capital from Tallahassee

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jan 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-10 10:30:33-05

As the Florida Legislature kicks off their 2018 session in Tallahassee on Tuesday, one representative from South Florida would like to explore the idea of future sessions – and the state capital as a whole – being moved to another city.

State Rep. Bill Hager, a Republican from Delray Beach, introduced a proposal on Monday that would, according to the News Service of Florida, establish a task force to examine moving the Capitol building, executive branch and Legislature.

The task force, if created, would consider travel for the public, cost of lawmaker travel for both the 60- day session as well as committee meetings and economic impact on both Tallahassee and Leon County.

Cabinet officers would be moved, but state agencies would not under the plan – nor would the state’s Supreme Court.

Hager’s proposal did not mention a specific city the capital should be moved, to but he did offer a few suggestions during an interview with WPTV Tuesday night..

"My fishing friends have recommended Key West," Hager said. "My No. 1 choice is Palm Beach County ... the pragmatic location is somewhere in the Orlando area."   

Hager said he doesn’t expect this bill pass this year or even in two years.  He hopes to start the conversation and build enough momentum in a few years to get something passed.

"I want a capital that will work for the state for the next 500 years," said Hager. 

However, the proposal could run into some problems, like an estimated cost of $50 million for a new capitol building.

"You are talking about one half of one percent of our annual revenue. That's a one-time cost," said Hager.  

There have been several efforts before to move the state capital from Tallahassee – which was chosen as the middle point between St. Augustine and Pensacola, the two capitals of the East and West Florida territories.

Most recently, a bill presented by former Miami-Dade state senator Les Weissenborn in the 1970’s led to the building of a new capitol building that opened in 1977.

Portions of this story courtesy of our news partner at NBC Miami.