Columns

Prohibition Has Ended but Old Laws Persist

By: Lloyd Brown | Posted: April 15, 2014 3:55 AM
From the Right Coast

Legislators gotta legislate. But it would be nice if they would unlegislate more often.

For example: females can't do their own hair in Oklahoma unless licensed by the state, according to the Huffington Post.

There are a number of other Web sites that claim to list outdated laws or laws that make no sense.

According to some of these sites, it is illegal in Florida, somewhere, to shower while naked. And in one Oregon town, apparently the First Amendment has been repealed because it's illegal to whisper dirty words during sex.

Until the Supreme Court knocked it down 40 years ago, it was illegal in New Orleans to be rude to firefighters who were fighting a fire.

Beacon, N.Y., protects its citizens from the evil game of pinball.

Shoes with heels more than 2 inches high or with less than a 1-square-inch base are a no-no in Carmel, Calif. This one actually makes some sense. Carmel residents are reluctant to make trial lawyers richer via slip-and-fall cases. Still, it is rarely enforced and in any case you can get a free permit at City Hall to wear high heels.

But there is a law in Florida that makes just about as much sense as some of these examples.

It is why some Walmarts, Targets and Publix stores in Florida have two entrances -- because a wall of separation is mandated by government between areas for the general public – including those buying wine and beer and those who want to indulge in Demon Rum.

State Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, has introduced a bill to remove this law from the books. It is supported by Floridians for Fair Business Practices and was up for debate in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee Thursday but was temporarily passed.

Competition being what it is, competitors of the stores seeking the change rather like the law as is. One liquor store chain warns that allowing liquor sales in stores could result in a parade of horribles, such as juveniles with altered IDs buying hard stuff. Oddly enough, that happens already – usually in liquor stores, according to committee staff research.

But, the change in the law also would allow liquor stores to sell more grocery items.

Prohibition ended in 1933 but Florida has had this law since 1935 and is one of only 16 states with such laws, the coalition says.

It took years to do away with the blue laws that prohibited Sunday liquor sales, so it may take years to make this common-sense change. Still, one can hope.

Many other outdated and unnecessary laws and regulations undoubtedly remain on the books in state government. Lawmakers should require most of them to “sunset” – expire every 10 years or so, or be justified for renewal.



Lloyd Brown was in the newspaper business nearly 50 years, beginning as a copy boy and retiring as editorial page editor of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville. After retirement he served as speech writer for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
 


Comments (5)

Bill Bledsoe
6:49AM APR 15TH 2014
There's only one statement in this articke that makes sense:
"Lawmakers should require (most laws) to sunset...expire every
ten years or so, or be justified for renewal."
Fran k
7:10AM APR 15TH 2014
Excellent comment! I totally agree, all laws should expire at some point in time if no action is taken to extend them.
Frank
8:53AM APR 15TH 2014
Neat truthiness . . . sounds good, when in actuality, the result would be similar to when Florida was a non-home rule state (pre-1968) and the Legislature was swamped each year by bills to provide needed laws . . . total chaos . . . . spend more legislative time re-enacting needed laws than working to address Florida's latest issues . . .

And of course, you're both so tuned in to the Legislative process that you must know that the Legislature already has processes in place to periodically review laws and sunset agencies . . . right . . . once again, unneeded solutions to non-existent problems . . . the modern GOP mantra . . .

Pathetic . . .
likeitis
4:39PM APR 16TH 2014
Frank is such a jokester. The Legislature has a process to sunset agencies, not laws. And if an agency is abolished, its functions have to be transferred somewhere else, so it is a meaningless process. Nice try -- but pathetic!
Frank
8:09PM APR 16TH 2014
Yes, yes, you must be right . . . . . guess that's why the legislative sunset review site says the following --> "The 2006 Legislature enacted the Florida Government Accountability Act that established an agency sunset review process to be used by the Legislature to determine if a public need exists for the continuation of a state agency, its advisory committees, or its programs" . . . . notice that last word . . . . "programs" . . . . . seems that deals with program statutes . . . . also known as "laws" . . . . as well as other Florida statute review processes set up by the Legislature or even the Governor for a variety of reasons (e.g. Stand Your Ground) . . . . . . nor does OPPAGA exist, right . . . . not to even get into legislative staff reviews, etc., etc. . . . . . . pitiful, poor attempt at right wing spinning politics of the "Big Lie" . . . . .

Pathetic . . . . .

Leave a Comment on This Story

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.