1. Fertilize away, baby.
2. Violators also will be flogged.
The law of our state currently says that each local government in Florida can adopt its own rules about the topic of … fertilizer.
This is in Chapter 403 of the Florida Statutes. The law says each community should be allowed to consider its unique patterns of water resources, soil types and growth.
But, dang it! The trouble is, some places actually went and did it.
About 40 cities and counties have passed local fertilizer rules that are tougher than the state's. Pinellas County passed one. Hillsborough decided not to.
The guys who make and sell fertilizer do not like this trend. So following an increasingly common pattern, they are asking the Legislature to shut down the local guys.
House Bill 457, by Reps. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, and Bryan Nelson, R-Apopka, would repeal all that stuff about each community getting to decide, and give sole power to the state Department of Agriculture, which is, so to speak, more fertilizer-friendly.
To quote from the bill:
The department has exclusive authority to regulate the sale of fertilizer, including the composition, formulation, packaging, use, application and distribution of fertilizer …
Such regulation of fertilizer by a county, municipality or other political subdivision is void, regardless of when adopted.
The moral of the story is that Tallahassee always knows best. Republicans who complain about "big government" only mean big Democratic government — when they're the ones doing the bossing around, it's just fine.
Let us move on to the topic of House Bill 45, dealing with guns and ammunition. Even though state law already says local governments in Florida cannot regulate guns very much, this bill says that they really, really, double-plus can't regulate them, and if they try, they'll be sorry.
The bill changes state law to include protection for the "storage" of guns and ammunitions, and says that any local government that tries to regulate guns will be subject to a maximum fine of … wait for it …
FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.
Any local officials who try such a thing also must be charged with a third-degree felony — and the bill specifically says if the state attorney doesn't file the criminal charge, then the state attorney will be disciplined, too!
Wait, there's more.
Any local official who does such a thing must be fired or removed from office by the governor. No tax dollars can be used to defend a local government or official accused of such a crime. Anybody who feels his or her rights were restricted can sue and collect big damages. With interest.
The bill also repeals the state law saying that local governments can require a waiting period to buy a gun. (The state Constitution still allows a local waiting period, but any local official had better be darned sure not to accidentally violate the rest of the law.)
The several sponsors of this bill include the Tampa Bay area's own Reps. Larry Ahern, R-St. Petersburg, Richard Corcoran, R-New Port Richey, and Peter Nehr, R-Tarpon Springs. (Hi, you guys.)
Well! That should take care of the gun thing. If you will excuse me now, I'm gonna go work in my yard, and if I am lucky, without any government involvement one way or the other.