Tag Archives: florida

Why? Just Because.

This picture is not a joke. The regulation is genuine. But it isn’t unique; I once wrote a Regulation of the Day about a similar federal rule.

(via Radley Balko and John Stossel)

Regulation Roundup

Here’s a fresh batch of regulatory bloopers:

  • Flirting is illegal in Haddon, New Jersey. (see § 175-12)
  • It is illegal to play cards on the street in Madison, Iowa.
  • In Haverbill, Massachusetts, it is illegal for women to wrestle.
  • It is a felony for bears to wrestle in Alabama.
  • You may now sit outside year-round in Stratford, CT if you like.
  • Talk about attention to detail. Massachusetts state law requires gift certificates to be valid for at least 7 years.
  • In Florida, it is illegal to release 11 helium balloons per day. 10 is ok, though.
  • Adams County, CO requires all male massage parlor workers to wear white shirts and white pants. Transparent clothing is expressly forbidden.

Regulation of the Day 179: Giving Food to Homeless People

Last Wednesday, three people were arrested in Orlando for giving food to homeless people in a local park. They violated city regulations that require “groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a 2-mile radius of City Hall.” The rules apply to events that give food to over 25 people; the arrestees fed about 40 people.

Their charitable work could cost them each a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. All three are affiliated with a group call Food Not Bombs that regularly gives meals to homeless people. The Wednesday event that led to the arrests was a deliberate resistance to the ordinance. Hopefully they will succeed in overturning it; the last thing government should do when people try to help each other is get in the way.

Regulation of the Day 172: Bestiality and Baggy Pants

NBC Miami’s Brian Hamacher with the second-best lede I’ve read this week: “Floridians are going to have to start pulling up their pants and stop having sex with animals soon.

Florida’s state legislature passed an odd pair of bills on Wednesday. One would make bestiality a first-degree misdemeanor. The other would ban students from wearing their pants lower than legislators would like.

The bestiality bill, SB 344, is rather, ahem, detailed. I will spare you those details, and only point out that the bill would make it illegal to “Knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.” That means if someone unknowingly engages in the same (how?), they have not committed a crime. One wonders if any offenders will try to use that defense.

The baggy pants bill, SB 228, requires all Florida public school districts to add a droopy pants ban to their dress codes. The bill also prescribes punishments. First-time offenders get a verbal warning. A second offense means a suspension from extracurricular activities for up to five days. Every offense after that means up to three days of in-school suspension and no extracurriculars for up to 30 days. The student’s parents also get a note from the school.

There Is No More Fat to Trim from Government Budgets

Workforce Central Florida, a government agency, is spending $73,000 to give away 6,000 capes and some cardboard cutouts.

Regulation of the Day 157: Unlicensed Barbering

In Orange County, Florida, barbering without a license is illegal. Perhaps owing to the absurdity of the regulation, the offense is only a misdemeanor. Barriers to entry, such as licensing, usually serve as ways for existing barbers to limit competition. But something else must be going on in Orange County. Look at how barber licensing is being enforced:

As many as 14 armed Orange County deputies, including narcotics agents, stormed Strictly Skillz barbershop during business hours on a Saturday in August, handcuffing barbers in front of customers during a busy back-to-school weekend.

It was just one of a series of unprecedented raid-style inspections the Orange County Sheriff’s Office recently conducted with a state regulating agency, targeting several predominantly black- and Hispanic-owned barbershops in the Pine Hills area.

The raids were performed without a warrant. Their ostensible goal was to put a stop to other crimes going on in the shops. But according to the Orlando Sentinel, “records show that during the two sweeps, and a smaller one in October, just three people were charged with anything other than a licensing violation.” There were 37 arrests in all.

(Via Radley Balko)

Regulation of the Day 150: Toy Guns

Samuel Burgos is 8 years old. One day he brought a toy gun to school in his backpack. That got him expelled from his Miami school for two years. Toy guns violate his school district’s zero-tolerance policy for weapons.

The district offered to place Sam in a correctional school; his parents opted to home-school him instead. His father told the local NBC affiliate, “I can’t sit here and allow them to send my kid to a school where students have committed actual crimes,” Burgos said. “He hasn’t committed a crime.”

Sam misses his friends. And he may have to repeat the second grade. All because common sense has gone missing from Broward County’s schools. That’s what makes the school board’s response especially galling:

The school board says it’s common sense to know that this kind of item can’t be allowed on school campus and that responsibility also falls on parents to know what their children have in their backpacks.

The Burgos family has suffered enough. Toy guns are not weapons. They are toys. The school board should exercise a bit of common sense and reinstate Sam immediately.

140 New Regulations in Florida

Florida has one busy legislature. They spend their time on everything from the amount of toilet paper in restaurant bathrooms to fake testicles on the back of pickup trucks.

The mighty Solons of Florida have just passed a whopping 140 new regulations. Hopefully residents can keep them all straight! Highlights:

-If you sell horse meat for human consumption, you should be aware of new labeling rules.

-It is now illegal to own a Burmese python in Florida.

-Or a bong, for that matter.

-Florida’s $100 limit for poker buy-ins is repealed. There is no longer a limit on buy-in amount.

-Want to coach your kid’s youth sports team? You will have to pass a background check.

-The next time you buy over-the-counter cold medicine, you will have to show ID and sign a form.

On the Radio: Regulation

3,503 new regulations hit the books last year. That’s a new rule every two and a half hours, day and night, seven days a week.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be on the Paul Molloy Show at 10:15 EST to talk about that outrage and more. Tune in to WTAN 1340 AM if you live in the Tampa Bay area, KLRG 880 AM in Little Rock, AR, or click here to listen online.

Better yet, CEI’s Wayne Crews’ latest edition of “Ten Thousand Commandments” is coming out tomorrow morning. Read it to learn how much regulation costs the economy (8.3 percent of GDP), and how much we would prosper if Washington would just lighten the load.

How Wisely Is Stimulus Money Being Spent?

Not at all, to be honest. For starters, the very notion of stimulus violates basic economics. Taking money out of the economy and then putting it back in has no net effect. But it gets worse. Much worse.

When that money is put back into the economy, it goes to the weirdest places — $3.4 million is going to Florida to build a tunnel under U.S. Highway 27, so turtles can cross safely. A fish hatchery in South Dakota is getting $20,000 for new light fixtures. $50,000 is being spent to resurface a tennis court in Bozeman, Montana.

And so on.

These boondoggles aren’t getting nearly enough press. To help fill the vacuum, the good folks at Citizens Against Government Waste have put up a new website, MyWastedTaxDollars.org. Click on over and check it out. The best feature is an interactive map that shows just how unwisely stimulus funds are being spent all over the country.

Stimulus is worse than a zero-sum game. It is actively harmful. It is government saying that it knows how to spend your money better than you do; stimulus is the ultimate act of hubris. Kudos to CAGW and MyWastedTaxDollars.org for providing hundreds of examples of why government hubris should be replaced with government humility.