Monday, February 19, 2018
News Roundup

Gimme 5: The legislative edition

For a dozen years, I poked fun at the Buccaneers in a Monday morning column known as Gimme 5. Picking on the Legislature seems like a lot more fun.

Talk of the town

Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio.

Twinkies or yachts: The Legislature grants hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate tax breaks on the theory it will spur economic growth. So can we assume lawmakers will also introduce a bill requiring corporations to reinvest these savings? After all, that's the same watchdog mentality proposed by Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, when she tried to pass a bill monitoring how welfare cash was spent. She called it No Twinkie Left Behind. This could be No CEO's Fat Behind.

Backhanded win: Sorry, Governor, you do not get to declare victory on restoring education funding after cutting it by a larger margin the year before. This would be like punching someone in the face and then expecting a thank-you when you help them up.

Ethics bills fail: Perhaps next year lawmakers will find a way to keep better track of future bribes.

Teachers beware: Remember how gung ho the Legislature was to tie teacher pay raises to student test scores last year? A doomed House bill this year would have exempted charter teachers from that same scrutiny. Every Republican House member in Tampa Bay voted for last year's bill, and then voted against the idea for charter schools this year. Hey kids, the correct spelling for this is h-y-p-o-c-r-i-s-y.

Just checking: A bill mandating random drug tests for state employees passed, but a texting-while-driving ban failed. So we're saying a clerk with the munchies is more dangerous than a driver not watching the road at 70 mph?

A list of five

Five signs Gov. Rick Scott is getting the hang of politics.

5. Gave up hostile takeover of struggling company known as "Mississippi.''

4. Stopped deleting emails. Now deletes the emailers.

3. Whenever confused by a question, shouts "Obamacare!"

2. High speed rail? No. Disney FASTPASS lines? Yes!

1. No longer refers to lawmakers as "the help.''

Five translated quotes

1. "The reality is the cost of administering it as independent versus dependent is within $100,000.'' What Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, meant when discussing the cost of USF Polytechnic's independence was, "It's within $100,000, give or take $18 million.''

2. "The important thing is that we elevated the discussion, and we'll be back next year.'' What charter school lobbyist Jim Horne meant was, "Man, I hope they rehire us because we accomplished squat this year.''

3. "All this bill does is allow for kids to inspire one another.'' What Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, meant when talking about a school prayer bill was, "I pray this gets me the evangelical vote.''

4. "After some time for quiet, personal reflection — I have decided to resign.'' What Rep. Richard Steinberg, D-Miami Beach, meant after being nabbed sending stalker-like text messages was, "Please do not prosecute.''

5. "Politics is the art of the possible. And I'm a pragmatist.'' What Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, meant was … ah, who cares.

Final five words

Redistrict them all to Georgia.

John Romano can be reached at [email protected]

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