Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tallahassee shoves a fertilizer bill down locals' throats

Now that our Legislature has given up on converting state parkland to golf courses, a terrible vacuum has been created. We need a new Worst Bill of the Year.

Today's candidate: the fertilizer bill.

The "fertilizer bill," also known as Senate Bill 606 and House Bill 457, would wipe out any local laws in Florida that restrict fertilizing one's lawn during the summer.

About 40 cities and counties in Florida have passed such rules, including Pinellas County and St. Petersburg.

The theory is that it rains now and then in Florida during the summer. The stuff washes off and ends up in the gulf, the lakes and rivers, choking the little fishies and making the algae happy.

Or maybe it doesn't. Maybe the little fishies love the stuff. Who am I, Mr. Fertilizer Expert Man? (Wait, don't answer that.)

The point is that Florida communities have been making these decisions for themselves. Some passed rules and others, such as Hillsborough County, decided not to.

Clearly, this outbreak of rampant local decisionmaking is intolerable. The Legislature — and more to the point, the fertilizer and lawn care industries — have decided Something Must Be Done.

Their answer: a state law that wipes out all these local laws.

Now, it so happens that the Republicans are in control of the Legislature.

It also so happens that this bill violates every major principle of the Republican Party.

It is Big Government at its worst.

It is Tallahassee Knows Best.

It is the trampling of local self-determination.

It is ramming the power of central government down everybody's throat.

My goodness! You know what the Republicans sound like as they try to defend it?

Exactly like … Democrats.

We need "uniformity," they say. (Why?) There has to be a "statewide standard." (Why?) All these local rules are too "confusing."

Yeah, right.

Just for giggles, I ran the campaign contributions for the last general election. Interests labeled as "fertilizer" or "phosphate" contributed more than $800,000 to the Republican Party of Florida. (The comparable number for Democrats was about $168,000.)

That's just a superficial search, too. I bet if you cross-referenced the names of corporate officers, PACs and all the money-laundering committees in Tallahassee, you could scratch up more.

Wait, it gets even better.

At the same time this is going on in Florida, the no-good federal government …

Is trying to tell Florida what to do, and we hate it. That's right. The EPA is trying to impose new pollution rules on Florida, and everybody in Tallahassee is yelling it is a wicked abuse of power.

Pot. Kettle.

Anyhow, the fertilizer bill has already passed early committees in the House and Senate. It's even gotten worse. The early versions left local rules on the books if they were passed before 2009. Now the bill wipes out them all.

Look, at least Democrats are honest about their agenda to boss everybody around. We have fair warning, so to speak.

But Republicans who run against government power, only to turn right around and club everybody over the head with it — good grief!

There's a word for somebody who piously declares one thing and does the exact opposite. Starts with an "h."

Tallahassee shoves a fertilizer bill down locals' throats 03/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 6:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours