This year’s Florida legislative session ended with the traditional surrender to reality by dropping a white hanky in the Capitol rotunda by two leaders of the House and the Senate.
It’s called “Sine Die,” which is Latin for “Boy we royally screwed up the state again!” How quaint.
To be sure, Gov. Ron DeSantis, along with his Republican bootlickers in the Florida Legislature, were busy drones during this session passing all manner of gibberish in their ongoing efforts to transform this state into “1984″ meets “The Stepford Wives.”
Yet, they did not do nearly enough to address the one singular, most pressing problem facing all Floridians from Republican to Democrat, from liberal to conservative, from young to old, from white to Black to Hispanic to Asian to Native American, from gay to straight.
We all have to deal with the draconian, skyrocketing costs of homeowners insurance. It impacts all of us, threatens our security, the state’s quality of life and our future.
And what did DeSantis and his Republican toadies do about it? Crickets. Okay, fine, if you want to be picky, the Legislature did give state regulators new powers to investigate and fine insurers. But this came on the heels of a special session on property insurance in December that aimed to cut litigation and stabilize premiums by — wait for it — making it harder for homeowners to sue insurance companies. Thanks a bunch.
A simple question: If you are a senior citizen living on a fixed income, are you more worried about being able to remain in your home? Or are you more vexed about drag queens, which the Republican-controlled Legislature moved to impose bans on as if the Wagner Group was trying to invade Yeehaw Junction?
If you are a young couple who wanted to buy a first home, are you more worried about being driven out of the market because your insurance will rival your mortgage payment? Or are you grateful the Legislature dedicated itself to abolishing a Florida law requiring the governor to resign from office if he declares his doomed fantasy about becoming the next president? Now there’s a profile in piffle for you.
If you are a renter, are you more bummed over having to write a bigger and bigger check each month because your landlord has been hammered by booming insurance costs? Or are you grateful instead that the grifters in Tallahassee focused on passing a six-week abortion ban, effectively reducing every woman in the state to extras in “The Handmaid’s Tale”?
During this session, while millions of Floridians were being turned into insurance serfs, the Florida Legislature seemed to be oblivious to their plight. There were more important things to do.
It was more important to pass a bill allowing morons to roam while carrying a gun without a permit or any remote semblance of firearms training.
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It was more important to blow up New College and rebrand it as an evangelical madrasa. Can we expect majors in snake handling? Speaking in tongues? Witch burning?
It was more important to pass loopy legislation that shields the public from knowing who Gov. DeGarbo, R-I Want To Be Alone, meets with and where he goes. It’s a public office, not the witness protection program.
It was more important to pass a bill gutting home rule, requiring cities and counties to use less restrictive land use regulations, which of course, was nothing more than a big, fat, sloppy air kiss to development interests.
It was more important to toss thousands of low-income children in Florida off Medicaid.
It was more important to make it harder to register to vote and to cast a ballot in Florida.
It was more important for the governor to go on a world laughingstock tour to promote his expected presidential campaign, where he visited Japan, Israel and London. Early reviews of the junket suggested the governor was regarded as a lightweight and out of his depth with all the charm and personality of “Blazing Saddles’” Mongo.
Yet not a dime in relief for Floridians being oppressed by the yoke of their insurance premiums. Why is that? Not important enough? Too busy with other political mischief? Too hard?
Pay no mind that according the The Guardian, citing a Center for Popular Democracy study, insurance interests pumped nearly $4 million into the governor’s reelection political action committee and another nearly $6 million into the coffers of the Florida Republican Party.
Oh, and the $125,000 insurance interests contributed to the governor’s second inauguration event probably didn’t hurt either.
Perhaps all this shows you get what you pay for. Absolutely nothing. Such a deal.