1. Opinion

Bad bills still lurking at Capitol

Published Feb. 24, 2012

Doctors take an oath to do no harm. The same should be required of Florida legislators. With two weeks left in the legislative session, some of the best decisions so far have been to stop bad ideas. But there are plenty of others that lawmakers should kill before they adjourn March 9.

Thankfully dead

Casinos Ambitious plans to add a pair of Vegas-style casinos were rife with bad consequences, including the biggest expansion of gambling in the state's history. That's economic development Florida doesn't need. (HB 487/SB 710)

Private prisons When the Legislature looks to exempt itself from the requirements it puts on everyone else, watch out. Senate leaders never made a good case (as required under law) for this rush to privatize so many prisons across 18 South Florida counties. (SB 2038)

Bad faith A surprising defeat in a House committee early this session killed insurance companies' perennial effort to make it harder to sue them on allegations that they acted in "bad faith" in refusing to settle a claim. (HB 427/SB 1224)

Legislative immunity A last-ditch House effort to shield lawmakers from producing documents or giving testimony in civil actions, including on redistricting, died quickly once its hubris was exposed. (HB 7123)

Should be dead

citizens property insurance takeouts This bad idea would allow unregulated companies to take over policies written by the state's insurer of last resort, leaving homeowners without vital consumer protections. (HB 245/SB 578)

Politicizing selection of judges A plan to give the governor power to remove his members of judicial nominating commissions would just further politicize judge selection, undermining courts' independence as a third branch of government. (HB 971/SB 1570)

More politics on water management Last year the governor and Legislature undercut decades of science-based policy by slashing tax revenues for Florida's five water management districts. Now Senate leaders want to restore some of that funding but still maintain authority over districts' budgets, ensuring special interest politics, not science, dominate decisionmaking. (SB 1986)

Abortion Nearly four decades after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled women have a right to make their own reproductive decisions, bills would make access to an abortion even harder for women by mandating new training requirements for doctors, requiring a 24-hour waiting period and insisting any new abortion clinic be owned by a doctor. (HB 277/SB 290)

Minimum wage This half-cooked idea would allow restaurants to cut the state's minimum wage in half, from $4.65 an hour to $2.13, as it applies to restaurant servers, so-called "tipped employees." (SB 2106)


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