By now you know that the band of horses collectively known as the Florida legislature galloped into semicircle formation last Friday to witness the "hanky drop" on this year's contentious lawmaking session. An anxious Florida awaited common-sense reform that might free the state from its corporation coddling and our worst fears about Gov. Rick Scott and his team's ambitions. There would surely be Medicaid privatization, tax breaks for the rich - because, you know, jobs - and sundry other legislative flourishes designed to further the ambitions of the state's conservative base. But with two long months to hash out the minutiae of saving Florida from itself in a time of financial crisis, there had to be some forward-looking legislation that could give the state's citizens a restored sense of hope.
To tell us more about the nuanced issues contained in the bills approved by the House and Senate, we turn to Billy Manes, aka Orlando Weekly's own Stefon!
Welcome. Now, I understand you have an inside line on some of the more salient, rational solutions to the average Floridian's problems.
That's right, Justin. The hottest thing going in Tallahassee this session is SB 228, otherwise known as Droopy Drawers. Introduced by super-hot turncoat Sen. 1-800-ASK-GARY Siplin, D-Orlando, 228 finally answers the question, "Under-where?!" It has everything: boxer-briefs, skid marks, JNCOs, both Kris and Kross, frayed bottoms with bad attitudes, one-handed croddles …
I'm sorry, one-handed croddles?
Crotch waddles, Justin. It's the thing when someone with baggy pants is running from the police and it looks like they should be leaving a trail .
OK, now about the bill.
Oh, it's just some nanny-state nonsense that puts the onus on our thriving schools and their overpaid teachers to police the waistlines of baggy ne'er-do-wells .
Wait, that's crazy! What about a bill that actually involves our readership? Surely there were more sane solutions brought to the table?
I'm glad you asked, Justin. Tallahassee's hottest new law is SB 344, otherwise known as "Whoa Nelly!" Introduced by Sen. Nan "Bananarama" Rich, D-Sunrise, it has everything: hay-bale glory holes, non-platonic leather daddies, cross-eyed farmhands, cow tipping …
OK, now that makes sense. You're saying it's now illegal to …
Gently place the tip in …
I understand, please stop.
I can't! This is the "animal husbandry" situation that spent years dying in a giggle chamber. I love a giggle chamber.
I can't believe that's even something we're talking about right now. There must be something that addresses our state's financial situation, people in need.
That's right, Justin. Tallahassee's hottest new law is SB 355, otherwise known as 2 Poors, 1 Cup. Sponsored by Sen. Steve "Lars" Oelrich, R-Gainesville, it finally answers the question, "Thirsty?!" It has everything: welfare queens with coke budgets, jacked baby pee , cleanser that tastes like dollar store jelly beans, lemon rashes, cranberry-juice lollipops, Peek-a-Boo Golden Slip-N-Slides.
Peek-a-Boo Golden Slip-N-Slides, Billy?
It's the thing when you overfill the cup, slip on the bathroom floor and hit your head and realize you could've spent that $35 on baby food or good drugs.
And a government employee watches you. It's hot, Justin.
I'm sure it is.
Poor people really need more humiliation. It is a fact.
I have to say, I haven't heard one logical thing come out of legislature so far. Is there anything at all that our lawmakers accomplished in this session besides sideshow distractions?
Mmm-hmm. Tallahassee's hottest new law is HB 1127, otherwise known as Belly Jelly. Introduced by Sen. Evelyn "Lyn" Lynn , R-Daytona Beach, it has everything: shame games, paper kimonos, personalized peanut shapes, C3P-U, Jesus pamphlets, fetal dubstep …
Hang on, fetal dubstep? Do I even want to know?
It's the thing when your unborn fetus gives you a dance beat to cry to and part of you just wants to take you both to Ibiza and hug it out.
That's awful, Billy.
You always throw up first.
OK, well that was a complete waste of time. My faith in our state government has really been thrown.
Speaking of thrown, Justin, the hottest new bill in Tallahassee is HB 1355, otherwise known as "Suffrage Succotash!" Introduced by Rep. Dennis Baxley-"Birney," R-Ocala, it finally answers the question, "And you are?!"
Right, I've heard of this. It heavily restricts registration to discourage young or first-time voters.
Oh, and so much more. It's got everything: fake I.D.s, Republican Huggy Bear operatives, loose-leaf binders, church basement raves, hippies in despair, blue-hair finger condoms .
Blue-hair finger condoms?
It's the thing when the old lady behind the table doesn't want to get a paper cut. You know, staph, MRSA. There's a cocktail for that.
All right, Billy. Next time you visit Happytown™, I want you to bring me some real answers from our elected officials.
Billy Manes, everyone. (applause)
We never cease to be amazed by the shitstorms that so reliably emanate from the city of Winter Park. Last October, as you may recall, city commissioners decided to impose fees on dog owners for using the off-leash section of Fleet Peeples Park on Lake Baldwin; what followed was seven months of citizen drama replete with profanity, conspiracy and even physical battery (well, at least according to parks board vice chair, Bonnie Jackson). A fresh-faced commission rescinded the fees in March, leaving us to once again take up daytime television, but on April 25, Winter Park reclaimed our attention by voting to give a "not to exceed amount of $105,000 plus reasonable expenses" to a "labor relations consulting firm" for the sole purpose of persuading city employees that unionizing is a bad idea.
Naturally, it was the city itself that gave employees the idea in the first place. Winter Park axed cost-of-living adjustments in 2008, eliminated merit increases in 2009 and disposed of longevity bonuses last December (one month after the commission voted to quadruple their own salaries, that is). Finally, one unnamed employee contacted the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and on March 18, AFSCME filed with the state to allow the city's nearly 150 public works, parks, fleet maintenance and water utilities workers to vote on whether they'd like to be unionized. According to AFSCME organizer Kevin Hill, 65 percent of the affected employees indicated an interest through mail-in placards to the state's Public Employees Relations Commission.
That percentage more than guaranteed a vote on unionization (which could occur as soon as next month), but rather than let the employees decide for themselves, the city commission went on the paternal counter-offensive, voting unanimously to hire the union busters at Kulture LLC, a company headed by a Northeasterner named Peter List. According to Fortune Small Business, List is known for not only his "strongly pro-capitalist, antigovernment ideology," but also his "long ponytail, straight-leg Levi's, beat-up cowboy boots and Harley hog." List also runs capitalismgear.com: "Fighting collectivists and those that strive to take freedom from others is something that I've been doing professionally for over a decade," List writes on his website.
Workers don't seem pleased about the city doling out funds to an Ayn Randian acolyte with intentions of brainwashing them (also note that in a letter to employees only one week before the $105,000 pledge, Winter Park City Manager Randy Knight said the city "continues to face the most serious financial hardship it has faced in at least a decade"), so on May 9, around 25 people lined the back of the city commission chambers wearing AFSCME tees and "I Support City Workers" stickers. "I'm here to ask that the election process is fair and that the taxpayers don't spend $105,000 on someone who gets paid to keep us from having a vote," said Andrew Jordan, a utility service worker, to commissioners. Regrettably, Jordan did not end his speech with a pledge to run for Winter Park city commission.
He would have to be crazy to do that.