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Blind Services workers oppose department move

Everyone is talking about moving employees out of the state Department of Education to cut the size of its bureaucracy.

Among those targeted to move are the 326 people who work for the state Division of Blind Services.

But they don't want to go. In a recent letter to Gov. Lawton Chiles, Wayne Davis, president of the National Federation of the Blind of Florida, urged state officials to put aside the political rhetoric and leave them alone.

"I find it hard to believe that you would play games with the lives of over 300,000 blind or partially-sighted people who live in Florida," Davis wrote.

Davis and his friends may find there are none so blind as state officials trying to cut the size of government in an election year.

State apparently breaks its own law on lobbying

Former Senate President Ander Crenshaw notes that Gov. Lawton Chiles routinely has been breaking the law.

State agencies are forbidden from spending money to lobby the Legislature.

Last week, Chiles aide Bebe Blount asked members of a House committee to approve a change in the law, which is routinely being violated.

Blount urged legislators to limit the number of lobbyists a state agency can hire and to ban the hiring of outside lobbyists. She also suggested removing the often violated restriction.

Blount said the current law would keep agencies from using state copying machines.

Crenshaw wants to block state agencies from lobbying at all. He says the 400 state employees who now lobby could better serve the public at their desks.

Florida legislators really need 60-day session

Okay, so everyone agrees the big issues of the session are crime, crime and crime. So why does the Legislature need 60 days to deal with it?

One answer: there are thousands of other bills, issues and desires from special interest lobbyists roaming the halls. Overheard in the hall, one lobbyist to another. "He called me about extended warranties on semitruck engines."

Floridians better hope that truck motors do not keep lawmakers in town for overtime.

_ Times staff writer Lucy Morgan contributed to this report