Florida restricts cities: Laws on guns, smoking, honeybees off limits

Gun-toting smoker
Smoking and guns — off limits for Florida’s local lawmakers. Photo credit www.i-needtoknow.com
The Florida Legislature is telling municipalities they can run things as they see fit, as long as they don’t mess with citizens’ freedoms and basic rights.

The Lone Star State always comes to mind when considering freedom-loving people. It even has a phrase for it: “Don’t mess with Texas.”

If Florida hasn’t reached Longhorn standards, it can’t be far behind. And it’s taking measures to assure local governments don’t muck it up.

For example, Florida has restricted local government from imposing firearm ordinances since 1987, according to the Sun Sentinel. When that failed to stop cities and counties from writing their own gun laws, the state got serious.

“Two years ago, the state added stiff penalties for cities — and elected officials — that try to make their own rules,” the Sentinel’s Larry Barszewski reported.

Municipalities quickly fell in line as city fathers proclaimed an end to civilized society as we know it. Last time I looked, civilization was doing just fine.

Similarly, Florida draws the line at banning smoking in restaurants and workplaces — that’s it. However, state Rep. Bill Hagar, R-Boca Raton, is proposing a common-sense expansion of smoking restrictions — but only if the local government approves.

“I call my bill the anti-nanny bill,” Hager told the Sentinel, referring to a provision that would let local officials decide what’s best for them.

Interestingly enough, ordinances restricting honeybees are off-limits for city and county governments.

A bill now pending in Tallahassee would put an end to the use of the now-popular red-light cameras, with the devices’ opponents arguing that they are little more than money-makers for local government.

My objection is more basic. We’re all allowed to face and cross-examine our accusers. I’ve yet to figure out how one can cross-examine a camera. Yes, a camera can tell if a car has driven through a red light, and it can pick out the vehicle’s license number. But it can’t tell who’s behind the wheel.

Southeast Florida is home to many native New Yorkers. I don’t expect New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to add to the number of transplants given his love of nanny state legislation. Floridians are too free. Then again, there are always condominiums and gated communities.

Read more at the Sun-Sentinel.

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