Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dwarfs Better Off Tossed Than Jobless, Florida Lawmaker Says

MIAMI — Jobless dwarfs should have the option of being flung around a barroom for cash rather than standing in the unemployment line, according to one Florida state lawmaker.

State Rep. Ritch Workman, a Melbourne Republican, has introduced a bill to undo a ban on "dwarf-tossing" as part of what he says is his mission to repeal overreaching and outdated laws from Florida's books. Though the dwarf-tossing measure is not a "jobs bill," he said, it may put a few people to work in a state where unemployment is 1.6 percentage points above the national average.

Dwarf-tossing, a competition in which bar patrons see how far they can throw little people in protective gear, was banned in Florida in 1989 after opponents complained that it was dangerous and dehumanizing.

While Workman, a mortgage broker, agrees that the practice is "offensive" and "stupid," he also thinks the ban keeps willing projectiles from gainful employment.

"If this is a job they want and people would pay to see it or participate in it, why in the world would we prohibit it?" Workman said in a telephone interview from Tallahassee. "In my world view, we have the freedom and liberty to do these kinds of things."

Amy Graham, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Scott, said in an e-mail that his office hadn't reviewed the legislation "so it wouldn't be appropriate for us to comment."

House Speaker Dean Cannon generally "supports efforts to remove laws from the books that may no longer be necessary or relevant, however the committee will have to decide if that is the case with this law," Katie Betta, a spokeswoman, said in an email.

Dwarfism is a medical or genetic condition that results in an adult height of no more than about 4 feet 10 inches, according to the Little People of America, a national nonprofit organization based in Tustin, Calif., that supports people of short stature. Workman's bill would repeal provisions that prohibit holders of liquor licenses "from allowing the exploitation of persons with dwarfism."

Carolyn Fiddler, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, said that the bill highlights Republicans' lack of understanding of what drives employment growth.

"It's a really telling symptom of the larger theme that they push, which is that government is the greatest obstacle to job creation," she said in a telephone interview from Washington. "This shows how absurd that notion is."

Almost 840,000 fewer Floridians are working than when employment in the state peaked in 2007. The unemployment rate in August was 10.7 percent, while the national rate was 9.1 percent.

Legislators concerned about out-of-work dwarfs should focus on employment discrimination, said Leah Smith, a spokeswoman for the Little People of America.

Dwarfs Better Off Tossed Than Jobless, Florida Lawmaker Says 10/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 8, 2011 8:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102