Thanks to two county coordinators in Hernando County, some improvements were made to the ordinance that was passed this past January. But unfortunately, the sheriff’s office was still using the originally-passed ordinance that did not contain the new language for the revised ordinance passed in July.
Another member in Hernando County set out to right this wrong once he saw that the sheriff’s office was handing out copies of the January ordinance rather than the revised one.
He first went to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office to meet with detectives concerning the old no-longer-approved January ordinance their office was handing out and the newly-passed July ordinance. Since he received a link in an email for the newer ordinance and had printed it out, the sheriff’s office did not trust the copy he gave them. The officials looked up the ordinance on Municode.com, and, of course, it was the original ordinance passed in January which was no longer valid. (Strange that they use Municode.com for their only source of authenticity.)
Our member then went to the Hernando County Clerk of Court Office to ask for a certified copy of the new ordinance. The employee at the clerk’s office was helpful in providing a stamped and certified copy of the ordinance identical to the one our member had previously shown to the Hernando County detectives.
When asked by our member why the sheriff’s office and Municode did not have a copy of the most recent ordinance, he was told that Municode only updates quarterly. Again, it is strange that a sheriff’s office would use Municode for its only source of verification.
Our member was then sent to the Hernando County Attorney’s Office to request that the sheriff be updated on the ordinance. This office denied his request. Prior to denying said request, the county attorney’s office informed our member that the sheriff’s office already knew about the changes as it was the sheriff’s office that requested the ordinance be reviewed. After our member informed the county attorney that he would be going to the state attorney’s office to file a complaint along with filing a suit in the Florida Circuit Court against them for refusing to correct an illegal directive by the HCSO, the county attorney’s office decided to forward a copy of the new ordinance to HCSO. It is unknown whether the county attorney’s office forwarded the copy or was simply trying to placate our member.
Additionally, our member hand delivered the updated version to HCSO by the end of the week.
As of this time it is unknown whether the HCSO is still handing out the incorrect information which said that people must now pay to register and that signs must be placed in the yards of registrants on Halloween, along with the vague language for other parts of the ordinance. Our member is waiting to see if the sheriff’s office has complied with the latest approved ordinance.
All of us at Florida Action Committee appreciate this individual standing up for the rights of all registrants in Hernando County.
Even though some improvements have been made to the ordinance as a result of the work of three of our members in Hernando County, there is nothing about the final ordinance that is good or fair.