This is straight from the files labeled You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.
Here we are in Florida, where the state’s lifeblood is tourism. And at the heart of that is the attraction of our hundreds of miles of pristine beaches that visitors and residents enjoy.
Historically, those beaches–even the stretches of sand adjacent to private homes built on the shoreline– have been regarded as public in Florida. Almost every county in the state has had laws affirming the public’s right to dig their toes into the sand.
Then comes the Florida Legislature, led by a state senator from Naples, Kathleen Passidomo, to disrupt that longstanding tradition.
Passidomo sponsored a bill, voted into law and signed by Gov. Rick Scott, that ultimately will have the effect of limiting the public’s right to the beaches. Already, there have been disputes between beachgoers and cops in the Florida Panhandle over this. One such incident has gone viral on social media.
Nice work, Florida Legislature.The message you are now sending the world is this:
Come Visit Florida. Just Stay Off Our Beaches.
This from a legislature dominated by Republicans. Aren’t they supposed to be pro business?
It certainly will be good for the legal business as we can expect a hurricane of lawsuits to result.
Even Rick Scott, no friend of the environment, has realized how misguided Passidomo’s bill is and has issued a directive that it not be enforced. That directive, however, has virtually no authority whatsoever. It’s already the law. Even cops charged with enforcing it hate it.
My campaign for the state Senate, where I will be opposing Passidomo in the November election, is based around a simple but important idea:
In Florida, the environment IS the economy.
Clean, accessible beaches are a cornerstone of Florida’s tourism economy. This legislation must be repealed by the Legislature. It is bad for Floridians. It is bad for our visitors. It is bad for business. And it is making us the laughingstock of the world.
Tourists decide quickly if they will return to a destination and spend their hard-earned money there. We get one shot at making a good first impression, and this is not just costing us our reputation, but real dollars.
Much is being written about this issue in newspapers, websites, and social media. An excellent summary can be found on the website of The Florida Phoenix, a group of Tallahassee journalists.
You can read it HERE.