Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Rick Scott's Crazy Laws

A long time ago I made reference to "crazy laws" like the ones that forbid people to spit in the town square on Saturdays. I said a lot of those sometimes had a useful purpose that has been lost to us. In Rick Scott's case, the opposite is true. Since he's the executive branch, not the legislative branch, he's not responsible for introducing these crazy laws, but he did stand behind them, and made Florida an embarrassment by doing so. From my list:

76) Rick Scott has signed legislation allowing advertisements on state nature trails.

You also don’t need to be an environmentalist to find this disturbing. One of the main points of a nature trail is to get away from things like advertisements, not have them shoved in your face. Scott has cheapened the experience of such trails by selling them out.

It should be noted that this is not comparable to things like gift shops at ranger stations. A ranger 
station is not meant to be “unspoiled” and visitors have a choice to avoid it as a very small part of a park, not as a chief feature of it. It is also a form of blackmail to say that it was either this, or not maintain the trails. Too much of Scott’s budget cutting comes of a manufactured crisis and a refusal to levy taxes for legitimate governmental functions.

77) Rick Scott has backed and fought in court for the “docs vs glocks” law.

This is a poorly designed law that never should have been passed, as it pits First Amendment rights (of doctors to speak and ask questions) against what amounts to nothing more than what some gun owners think of as a nuisance question. (I say this as someone who is closer to what the NRA believes in terms of rights for gun ownership.) The only reasons for this law amount to paranoia (e.g., fear of such information being used for a national gun registry) rather than evidence.

78) Rick Scott has wasted taxpayer funds with invasive, ineffective, and unconstitutional drug testing of welfare recipients.

Less than 3% of persons tested were positive for drugs, while the tests of the other 97% had to be paid for by the state – a net loss of revenue. That doesn’t count court costs to defend what was obviously a violation of the 4th Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

In addition, Scott has wasted taxpayer dollars fighting this clearly unconstitutional mandate in court. Scott has also cluelessly said it is to ensure that poor children don’t grow up in families that use drugs. Does he have some reason to think the middle class or wealthy don’t use drugs?

79) Rick Scott sought unconstitutional drug testing for all state employees.

While drug testing is reasonable in many cases (such as law enforcement employees), Scott’s desire to have all state employees drug tested was an overextension, and a violation of constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure.  Scott has also wasted taxpayer funds fighting a lawsuit to stop this measure.

80) Rick Scott has opposed a “pill mill” database.

In this case, Scott later did a flip flop and approved the database. Again, even Scott’s own party recognized that his original stance was a foolish, as did law enforcement.
Scott’s alleged reason for opposing the database was that a Virginia database of similar nature was hacked, and patient information could have been compromised. While it was true that a hacking had occurred, no patient information was lost. At the same time, Scott’s concern for a well-designed website didn’t seem to be in effect when the Florida unemployment website was put online, and his desire to eliminate the state cybercrime unit shows that he certainly didn’t conceive of any such danger in other circumstances.

148) Rick Scott pandered to an absurd idea to build golf courses in state parks.

This was a sop to Jack Nickalus, who is now holding a 10K a plate dinner to raise funds for Scott’s election. As this Golf Week article points out, the idea was an absurd one: Florida has enough golf courses as is, and the legislation indicated a no-bid contract for Nickalus.

211) Rick Scott is grandstanding on Veterans Affairs.

Crist is too, but Scott has him beat.

Politicians often treat veterans more like campaign props than real people with unique issues. We hear grandiose promises during campaigns — yet much less during the four years in between.
Scott, for instance, may be loudly proclaiming his commitment to veterans now. But it stands in stark contrast to his very first budget when he proposed gutting the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs' budget by 45 percent.

Scott followed that by vetoing $12 million designated for helping homeless veterans in Brevard County.

Now Scott — who served 29 months in the Navy before leaving for college on a G.I. bill that he often touts — is asking state health officials to inspect VA hospitals and clinics.

It pure gimmickry. And Scott knows it. The state has no authority over federal VA's. It would be like the Florida Department of Law Enforcement demanding to inspect the FBI.

But let's say for a moment that Scott is right — that his staff has the authority and obligation to watch over veterans care in this state. Then where the heck was he before now?


212) Rick Scott is wasting taxpayer dollars with a frivolous lawsuit against the VA.

While the VA issue is a serious one, state inspectors simply have no jurisdiction.


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