Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

If any of Florida's bills seem bad, just wait

Let's see now. Soon we will be able to drive our guns to work in Florida no matter what our bosses say, and we might be able to do it with a state-created Christian license tag on the car.

On the other hand, it might soon become illegal to decorate your car's rear bumper with fake, you know, anatomical parts.

Women in Florida might have to view an ultrasound and get a little more red tape before an abortion, as well as having to wear a large scarlet "A" on their foreheads. Wait, I need to double-check that second part, but that's the general sense of the bill.

Your kid's science teacher might be able to teach that the Flying Spaghetti Monster created the world, as long as the teacher does it "objectively" and based on "scientific evidence," which I imagine exists somewhere. Just as long as it's an alternative to that Darwin nonsense.

It doesn't matter, anyway. With Florida proposing to spend less per student on education next year for the first time in years, maybe the schools won't even get around to science class.

That still will be okay when the kids get to a Florida college, since we also are talking about ripping up the state university system (again) and putting all state universities directly under the Legislature's political control.

Yep, this is one heck of a session of the Florida Legislature. And these are just a few of the things still flying around that might get passed in the sessions' final days.

You know whose fault this is? Ken Pruitt's. He is the president of the state Senate. Before the Legislature even started to meet this year, Pruitt unilaterally announced that it wasn't going to do anything about the state's two biggest problems of recent years — insurance and property taxes.

It's not that they would have fixed those problems, but it would have kept them busy at least, kind of like when my new puppy notices his tail.

Instead, with no big insurance or property tax stuff, and having a lousy budget year, the Legislature turned to meddling in everything else. Hence we've had bills about baggy pants, bestiality, and standards for toilet paper in public restrooms (not that anyone is opposed to toilet paper in public restrooms).

It hasn't been a bad session for everybody. The Legislature still might give CSX several hundred million dollars as part of a commuter-rail deal, and shift the company's liability for lawsuits to the taxpayers. It also might vote to let Florida's electric companies bill us all in advance for, I believe, the next 1,500 years' worth of construction.

If you've got a sweetheart tax break in Florida under the current setup, the Legislature has got your back, saying that actually taxing you fairly would be a "tax increase." If you like those plastic bags at the grocery store, good news! The Legislature wants to make it illegal for any local government to ban them.

Also, if you like Florida's old state song, the one originally written about "darkeys," you are in luck, since we are gonna keep it. And if, like the Legislature, you really hate it when voters do too much voting, there's a last-minute amendment to outlaw voter control over local growth decisions.

Look on the bright side. There are still a few days left in the Legislature's session, and no matter what you think of any of these ideas, it is a lead-pipe cinch they will slip in something even worse before it's over.

If any of Florida's bills seem bad, just wait 04/26/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Study: Florida most friendly state for retired veterans

    Working Life

    Florida is the nation's best state for military retirees looking for somewhere to settle. That's according to a study released Monday by WalletHub which rated Florida the most friendly when it comes to economic factors, quality of life and health care.

    Veterans watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during training camp in 2016. Florida is the most friendly state for retired veterans according to a new WalletHub study. | LOREN ELLIOTT, Times
  2. Flynn to invoke 5th Amendment, won't hand over documents in Russia probe, source says


    WASHINGTON — Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will invoke his 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination as he notifies a Senate panel that he won't hand over documents in the probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

    In this Feb. 13, 2017 file photo, Mike Flynn arrives for a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. The former national security adviser will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination on Monday. [Associated Press]
  3. Department store chain from Puerto Rico coming to University Mall


    TAMPA — Grand's, a department store chain from Puerto Rico, will open inside the former Dillard's space at University Mall in September.

    Grand's, a department store chain from n Puerto Rico, will open inside the former Dillard's space at University Mall in Tampa in September. Coloring rendering of revamped University Mall.
[CBRE Group]
  4. Rubio on Trump: 'People got what they voted for'


    Marco Rubio says people shouldn't be surprised about the drama flowing from the White House.

  5. Mark Zuckerberg uses Facebook to address rumors he's running for office


    NEWPORT, R.I. — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says his quest this year to visit every state he hadn't before is about building relationships, not politics.

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at his company's annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, Calif. Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on May 21, 2017, that he's not running for public office. [The Associated Press]