Friday, April 20, 2018
Politics

Steve Bousquet: Rick Scott's latest veto is simply wild

Gov. Rick Scott's legacy is now secure.

He'll forever be known as the governor who vetoed a bill involving a specialty license tag for wildflowers.

Florida's governor showed his true colors Friday when he vetoed what might have been the least controversial bill of the entire 2013 legislative session.

The man's mind is clearly on getting re-elected.

But his logic was — there's only one word for it — wild.

The wildflower bill passed both houses of the Legislature by unanimous votes. Most lawmakers are, like Scott, Republicans who oppose higher taxes.

And everybody knows Scott opposes raising the cost of government on Florida residents. But to use the wildflower license plate as an example is taking things to ridiculous extremes.

Scott's stated reason for his veto is that the bill, HB 265, would have increased the annual fee for the wildflower license plate from $15 to $25, which is true.

But the fee is voluntary.

No one pays it unless they want the tag on their car.

No tag, no fee.

"Although buying a specialty license tag is voluntary, Floridians wishing to demonstrate their support for our state's natural beauty would be subjected to the cost increases sought by this bill," Scott said in a brief veto message.

Okay. But If Scott is so concerned about license tag fees, why did he approve creating three new ones earlier this year?

They are for the American Legion, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Lauren's Kids, which teaches kids about the risk of sexual assault. Each of the tags will cost motorists who buy them $25 more.

A fee increase?

Absolutely.

But it's voluntary. No one has to pay it unless they want to.

• • •

The Florida Wildflower Foundation wanted the extra money to expand research and education programs and fund a second student endowment in wildflower studies at the University of Florida, executive director Lisa Roberts said.

"Everybody is so surprised," Roberts said.

Most other Florida specialty tags (for universities, pro sports teams, manatees and panthers, to name a few) already cost $25 more. The bill would have brought the cost of the wildflower tag in line with what others cost.

Since the wildflower tag debuted in 2006, nearly 92,000 motorists have bought one, including about 12,000 in the Tampa Bay area.

The House passed the bill late one night near the end of a marathon session when everybody was looking for a little levity.

The bill seemed so innocuous that legislators laughed and poked fun at its sponsor, Rep. John Wood, a Winter Haven Republican.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, asked Wood to talk about "cutting-edge wildflower research."

"Let's talk about the state wildflower," Wood told House members, recalling his mother's past work as a leader of Florida garden clubs.

Another supporter, Rep. Tom Goodson, said it was the first time the Sierra Club supported one of his bills.

Scott didn't see the humor in it all.

Contact Steve Bousquet at [email protected] or (850) 224-7263.

Comments
Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

Carlton: Mayor’s race: plot twists, meteoric rises, candidate implosions. It’s what we do in Tampa.

The one thing you can say for sure about electing a mayor in Tampa is you can’t really say anything for sure. Historical proof: A couple of elections ago, Harvard-educated hometown-boy-gone-to-Washington Frank Sanchez was going to be our next ...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Published: 04/19/18
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18
Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victorie...
Published: 04/16/18
Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won’t seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday. "Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors...
Published: 04/15/18
Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump attacked James Comey in a fusillade of tweets Sunday morning, calling for the former FBI director to be imprisoned as Trump served up a number of his favorite theories and alleged misdeeds without evidence.Trump’s ...
Published: 04/15/18
President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 40 percent in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, slightly more than his 36 percent approval rating when last measured in January. It’s also the highest he’s enjoyed in Post-ABC polling since his fi...
Published: 04/15/18
Gun rights advocates holding rallies at state capitols in US

Gun rights advocates holding rallies at state capitols in US

DOVER, Del. — Gun rights supporters — many carrying rifles and ammunition — gathered at state capitols across the U.S. on Saturday to push back against efforts to pass stricter gun-control laws that they fear threaten their constitutional right to be...
Published: 04/15/18