Saturday, Apr 19, 2014
Editorials

Florida must end its long record of passing bad laws


Published:

It's embarrassing to see Florida continue to flounder when it comes to elections, legislation and other kooky things. Most folks figure it will stop at some point - or at least slow down - but within a month or so something else seems to pop up here. Why does this happen? Why do we let it happen?

The latest is the poorly written law that banned the Internet in the state. That wasn't the intention, of course, but that's how it turned out. Our legislators passed a law that was supposed to ban Internet gaming cafes, but the language of the law was butchered and it has effects far broader than what was intended.

Attorneys across the state are jumping on this law, pointing out that the law may also outlaw March Madness pools and online auctions. Forida's become the butt of jokes across the country - again - because of this inability to get these laws right.

It's stunning that a state the size of Florida, with supposedly some pretty smart people in high places, can make such mistakes. Is there no judicial review of laws before they are proposed and voted upon?

Time after time laws passed by our legislature or supported by our governor are shot down in the courts because they are unconstitutional. Sure, this happens in every state to some degree but nowhere near as often as it does in Florida. It appears as if legislators are asleep at the wheel and just toss out feel-good ideas that they think will win big with constituents without considering the consequences of their actions. Instead they look like fools, but blame the courts for activist judges. The truth is, they are writing bad laws.

Florida has to do a better job on such matters. We might not be able to do much about the crazy crimes that happen here but at least we could make sure our legislation is sound before signing it into law.

Other Florida strangeness happened during our last presidential election when the Republican governor and legislators did their best to try to suppress minority voting by severely limiting hours and days for early voting. As a result the Florida vote count wasn't completed until many days after the election was held. The term "Floriduh" was thrown out across the nation again.

Floridians deserve better than this. We are proud of our state and all the wonderful things it offers. Now if we could get rid of the endless loop of legislative nonsense we could at least look as if our elected leaders are not incompetent. More importantly, it would appear that the citizens care enough to elect the best people into office.

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