Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Make NASCAR the official sport of Florida? State senator wants to

Florida has an official state beverage (orange juice), bird (mockingbird), pie (key lime) and reptile (alligator).

Isn't it time we had an official state sport?

State Sen. Evelyn Lynn thinks so. She has filed a bill for the 2012 legislative session making auto racing the official sport of Florida.

The Ormond Beach Republican's Senate district includes much of Volusia County, home to Daytona International Speedway.

Lynn makes a good case, noting that racing has created lots of jobs and Daytona Beach is considered the birthplace of NASCAR, dating to those beach races in the '50s featuring Hudsons, Chryslers and Mercurys.

"It seemed very appropriate to have that as our state sport," Lynn said.

Many lawmakers will have other ideas: baseball, perhaps, or golf, or college football.

And, this being the Legislature, someone is bound to suggest dwarf-tossing as the official state sport.

Last spring, two lawmakers tried to get the barking tree frog designated as the state amphibian. It didn't pass.

Lynn's bill (SB 266) is one of many filed for the 2012 session that will generate debate on both sides, even though they won't make major changes in our daily lives.

For example, Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, wants to require police departments to offer lifetime veterinary care to retired police dogs (SB 358).

Fasano said an animal rights group suggested the idea, and he filed it last year, but it didn't pass. While everybody loves police dogs, that care comes with a cost, to be passed on to local taxpayers.

"It could be seen as a mandate down to counties and cities, unless money follows," Fasano said.

Speaking of which, with the state in dire need of revenue, Democratic Rep. Irv Slosberg of Boca Raton and Republican Sen. Steve Wise of Jacksonville came up with the idea of allowing private companies to advertise on state nature trails — with the money to be used to maintain the property for public benefit.

"I'm not talking about big billboards," Wise said. "I'm talking, 'the next 5 miles of this trail is sponsored by XYZ Corp.' They would pay for that."

State trails are open to the public. Private property is not.

Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, wants to allow people to spray paint purple stripes on trees on their land as a warning to would-be trespassers, who have been known to tear down or shoot "No Trespassing" signs.

Thrasher said he filed the bill (SB 132) at the request of sheriffs, and that purple is a conspicuous color that other states use.

When a Senate committee took up the bill recently, a lobbyist for trial lawyers voiced opposition.

"The concern is, it could turn innocent hikers and hunters into criminal trespassers," said Paul Jess of the Florida Justice Association, the trial bar's lobbying arm.

Jess also suggested orange paint, not purple, be used to mark private property as a warning to trespassers.

"International orange is a color that indicates a safety issue," Jess said. "A mere paint stripe doesn't put people on notice unless they have a prior awareness of what it means."

And you thought Florida was a "red" state.

Steve Bousquet can be reached at or (850) 224-7263.

Make NASCAR the official sport of Florida? State senator wants to 10/31/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 1:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard


    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.