From Howard Troxler, columnist for The St. Petersburg Times:
How bad is the Florida Legislature these days?
It’s historically bad — the worst since the infamous “Pork Chop Gang” that was in charge of our state during the 1950s and 1960s.
The Legislature of recent years is simply incapable of governing Florida wisely. It lacks the intellectual horsepower, the will, even the desire. It’s a machine for collecting laundered campaign money, paying back that money with favorably written laws, and getting itself re-elected.
Good grief! The joint lacks gravitas, ballast. It is a collection of superficial sloganeers. These days, a wacky idea pops up on a Tuesday and is a proposed amendment to the state Constitution on a Thursday, no questions asked.
Look at the major policy areas challenging our state. Insurance? We’re worse off than ever, a sitting duck for storms. Taxes? The tax structure is as brutally unfair as ever, thanks to attempts to govern by gimmick and catch phrase (“drop like a rock”).
Not only are we not planning for Florida’s future — the 2009 Legislature’s biggest idea was to weaken the past quarter-century of growth-management laws. Our current Legislature shows a perverse hostility to the future, cutting university budgets, attacking the state’s land-buying program and the Lawton Chiles tobacco trust, and even out of the blue at the last minute, without the slightest study or deliberation, trying to throw open Florida waters to oil drilling.
On top of it all, this spring a grand jury in Tallahassee indicted the immediate past speaker of the state House and in a critical report blasted the way the Legislature operates. The Legislature’s response has been, more or less: Yawn.
On the bright side, if your biggest concern is whether Florida should ban “truck nuts,” which was last year’s headline fight, or this year’s attempt to plaster an image of Jesus on a state license plate — well, this is just the Legislature for you.
His full article here.