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Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

PSTA's structure could be changed under a new bill as it starts to move through the legislature

People lined up outside a bus
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority
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The proposal also has other changes, like reporting to the county commission semi-annually, and restricting it’s ability to eliminate or change lane structures.

House Bill 1487, filed by Republican Linda Chaney, has been tweaked a bit since it was first shown to the Pinellas County Delegation in November.

A bill that would drastically change the structure and abilities of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is starting to move its way through the state legislature. Some members of the PSTA board got an update on the new version of the bill Wednesday.

House Bill 1487, filed by Republican Linda Chaney, has been tweaked a bit since it was first shown to the Pinellas County Delegation in November.

The initial draft had restrictions on PSTA offering free fares, and acquiring or selling land. It also established certain requirements when looking for a new leader of the organization. Those items have been taken out the bill.

The main issue certain municipalities are having with it, according to PSTA CEO Brad Miller, is the change in structure to its board.

"The cities of Pinellas County that are being taken off the board are concerned about because they've passed resolutions opposing the bill,” Miller said. “St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo and Dunedin, I think so far, have all they'll pass resolutions opposing the bill."

Under the bill, the PSTA board would be reduced from 15 members to 11, with less members selected by local cities, and more members picked by the Florida senate president and house speaker.

The proposal also has other changes, like reporting to the county commission semi-annually, and restricting its ability to eliminate or change lane structures.

“PSTA hasn't done really either of those two things," Miller said.

And it bans window covering or advertisements that promote political, social or religious ideologies.

PSTA’s current structure for appointing board members is as follows:

  • One is appointed by the City Council of the City of Clearwater (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the City Commission of the City of Dunedin (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the City Commission of the City of Largo (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the City Council of the City of Pinellas Park (Elected Official)
  • Two are appointed by the City Council of the City of St. Petersburg (Elected Officials)
  • One is appointed by the combined municipal governing bodies of Oldsmar, Safety Harbor, and Tarpon Springs (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the combined municipal governing bodies of Belleair, Belleair Bluffs, Gulfport, Kenneth City, Seminole and South Pasadena (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the combined municipal governing bodies of Belleair Beach, Belleair Shores, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Madeira Beach, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, St. Pete Beach, and Treasure Island (Elected Official)
  • Four are appointed by the Pinellas County Commission (Elected Officials)
  • One is appointed by the Pinellas County Commission (Non-Elected Member)
  • One is appointed by the City of St. Petersburg (Non-Elected Member)

House Bill 1487 would change it as follows:

  • Four are appointed by the Pinellas County Commission (Elected Officials)
  • One is appointed by the City Council of the City of St. Petersburg (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the City Council of the City of Clearwater (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the combined municipal governing bodies of Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Dunedin, Belleair, Belleair Beach, and Belleair Bluffs (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the combined municipal governing bodies of Largo, Seminole, South Pasadena, Gulfport, Kenneth City and Pinellas Park (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the combined municipal governing bodies of Belleair Shore, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, North Redington Beach, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Madeira Beach, Treasure Island, and St. Pete Beach (Elected Official)
  • One is appointed by the Senate President and Speaker of the House from the combined municipal governing bodies of Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Dunedin, Belleair, Belleair Beach, and Belleair Bluffs (Non-elected member)
  • One is appointed by the Senate President and Speaker of the House from the combined municipal governing bodies of Largo, Seminole, South Pasadena, Gulfport, Kenneth City and Pinellas Park (Elected Official)

The house bill was formally filed Monday. It hasn't been assigned to any house committees yet.

Since it’s a local bill, it doesn’t need a senate companion. If it were to pass through the house, it could be approved by the senate as a consent item without discussion.

As a host and reporter for WUSF, my goal is to unearth and highlight issues that wouldn’t be covered otherwise. If I truly connect with my audience as I relay to them the day’s most important stories and make them think about an issue past the point that I’ve said it in a newscast, that’s a success in my eyes.