Are Legislative Findings and Declarations of Policy Binding Upon the Courts ?
In Miami v. Echarte, 618 So. 2d 189, 196 (Fla. 1993), the Court held:
The Legislature has the final word on declarations of public policy, and the courts are bound to give great weight to legislative determinations of facts. See American Liberty Ins. Co. v. West & Conyers Architects & Engineers, 491 So. 2d 573 (Fla. 2d DCA 1986).
Further, legislative determinations of public purpose and facts are presumed correct and entitled to deference, unless clearly erroneous. See State v. Division of Bond Fin., 495 So. 2d 183 (Fla. 1986), and Miami Home Milk Producers Ass'n v. Milk Control Bd., 124 Fla. 797, 169 So. 541 (1936).
Because the Legislature's factual and policy findings are presumed correct and there has been no showing that the findings in the instant case are clearly erroneous, we hold that the Legislature has shown that an "overpowering public necessity exists." 618 So. 2d at 196-97.
The Court followed and quoted this very statement in Westerheide v. State, 831 So. 2d 93, 101 (Fla. 2002), and further called approving attention to Moore v. Thompson, 126 So. 2d 543, 549 (Fla. 1960), in which this Court said:
Legislative findings and declarations of policy are presumed to be correct, but are not binding upon the courts under all conditions.
The courts will abide by such legislative decisions unless such are clearly erroneous, arbitrary, or wholly unwarranted. Moore, 126 So. 2d at 549.