The 60 day Florida legislative session is winding down. It’s not truly over until the Governor signs the budget and pronounces Sine Die, Latin for adjournment.
I’ve been of two minds about this very short session for the country’s third most populous state. When the legislature adjourned last March and went home and hid in their man-caves and rejected, along straight party lines, every call for them to return for a special session to fix the intentionally broken unemployment insurance system, to create some kind of pandemic relief, and left the state to the tender mercies of our incompetent Statewide elected officers, who refused to even include the one Democrat (Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried) in their meetings, I was incensed.
Also, having these bodies be so part-time leads them to treat their time in Tallahassee, which is a college town to boot, like Spring Break. This Gaetz Gate Season has brought back all the rumors of questionable behavior on and off the floor. One of our favorite State Senators, Audrey Gibson once disappeared a particularly egregious member of the legislature who felt compelled to say the N-word in her presence, just by sitting at the bar at the Governors Club being Senator Audrey Gibson. Former Senator Frank Artiles is now under indictment for election fraud.
Another issue is that Florida State legislators are paid very little for their part-time gig. You can read about how this suppresses candidates here: https://wuffpac.org/2021/02/15/the-many-faces-of-voter-suppression-in-florida-part-i-of-many/
However, now that they’ve spent two months legislating the heck out of the Governor’s agenda and their own, I feel like the man-caves are looking pretty good. Some of the worst of the worst bills were killed by public opinion and effective opposition–the ban on transgender girls playing sports that would have mandated physical inspections, the dumb swipe at the minimum wage raise amendment that was just passed in 2020 also did not survive, though there is still a week left and literally anything can happen in Tallahassee. Reps. Shevrin Jones, Angie Nixon, Michelle Rayner Goolsby and Omari Hardy were particular standouts.
But today a piece of legislation that wasn’t even on my radar cropped up, and it makes me wonder what else is flying under the radar. However, it cropped up in the most delicious way on Twitter. In exactly this order.
One such initiative led the citizens of the Florida Keys in November 2020 to voice their strong preference for smaller, more environmentally friendly Cruise Ships to have the exclusive rights to dock in Key West. Next up in our feed:
You can’t make Florida up, folks.