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Champion Calls to Remove ATV and Watering Ordinances

BROOKSVILLE – A Hernando County Commissioner is calling for a vote to remove an ordinance he says goes against basic conservative values and wastes law enforcement resources that are already in short supply.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis recently touted efforts to crack down on ATV activity in the Royal Highlands area, where deputies utilize UTVs, drones, and the agency's air unit to track down and issue citations. Critics immediately lashed out at Nienhuis for going after young people who are "just having good clean fun," while violent criminals plague more populated areas of Spring Hill.

Last Tuesday, Hernando County Commissioner Steve Champion called for his fellow commissioners to remove an ordinance that prohibits anyone from operating an ATV on county roadways. Champion says he was one of two who voted against the ordinance that allows law enforcement to stop ATVs without probable cause and issue citations. Without the ordinance, Florida Statute allows anyone to operate an ATV on an unpaved road with a speed limit under 35mph, as long as they are licensed drivers or under the supervision of an adult. "As good conservatives - and I know you guys are - we believe in freedom and what we are doing is restricting law-abiding citizens." Champion compares the restriction to those of Democrat lawmakers who pass laws restricting legal gun owners but do nothing to stop criminals from using guns to commit crimes. "Just like the gun industry, 99% have good intentions and they are never going to commit a crime," says Champion.

Temporary Chair Brian Hawkins agreed that the matter could be reconsidered but reminded Champion that the reason for adopting the ordinance was because ATVs were being driven on private property. Champion responded by saying there are already laws against trespassing and destroying private property. Champion also pointed out that dozens of ATVs ride on paved roads in South Brooksville, which is illegal, but there is little to no enforcement in those areas.

Commissioner Campbell agreed with Champion that the matter should be reconsidered and would be open to changing his position on the ordinance during the next scheduled meeting.

The board also agreed to reconsider a two-day watering restriction that Champion says is too restrictive. Echoing his sentiments on personal freedoms Champion says, "I'm not for more regulations in the county than what the state requires."

 
 

Reader Comments(1)

Shawn1402 writes:

Champion is the only reasonable conservative on the board

 
 
 
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