"Libertarian aims to repeal moldy statutes" (Florida Capital News, 3/13/11)

Here's one Republican who has the right spirit! And the journalist covering his efforts recognizes his law-repealing campaign as libertarian. Encouraging on both counts. Rep. Workman and reporter Jim Ash deserve our thanks and encouragement.

  I'm copying the Institute for Justice on this in case they haven't heard about it, since one of their focuses is on repealing pointless licensing laws and occupational regulations -- and they've had a great deal of success, I might add!

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

Originally published March 13, 2011

Libertarian aims to repeal moldy statutes

By Jim Ash
Florida Capital Bureau Chief

The rules are different in Florida, but not the way most people think.

Shacking up is still illegal in the Sunshine State. Unmarried couples who "lewdly or lasciviously" associate or "cohabitate" are guilty of a second-degree misdemeanor. Florida may be a permissive, right-turn-on-red state, but any daredevil who throws the car into neutral and coasts downhill risks a $50 fine. Don't even think about riding a bicycle with no hands.
All of that and more offends the libertarian streak in Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne. Workman, a 37-year-old mortgage broker, has filed "repealer" bills to get rid of the moldy statutes, although he is quick to point out that he is no advocate of living in sin or getting behind the wheel and throwing caution to the wind.
"I wouldn't let my kids live together with someone before getting married," Workman said.

Workman has taken to heart House Speaker Dean Cannon's advice to legislators to leave office with the statute books thinner than they found them. For Workman, it's a literal way to shrink big government.

"It may sound silly," Workman said. "But I believe in my soul that every one of them takes away a little bit of your freedom."

That's why Workman wants to repeal the portion of Chapter 316 of Florida Statutes that prohibits motorists "from travelling on a downgrade with the vehicle in neutral or the clutch disengaged."

If he's successful, a crime wave will not ensue. Only five motorists were ticketed for the offense in 2009, the latest year for which statistics are available, according to a staff analysis.

Another Workman repealer removes technical requirements for a "chauffeur's license," which were replaced years ago by commercial drivers licenses.

Yet another repealer, which Workman is co-sponsoring, erases a law that requires cyclists to keep at least one hand on the handlebars.

Not all of the repealers are an easy sell.

Any attempt to repeal the statute banning cohabitation is not going to win the vote of Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala. A former executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, Baxley wonders if the Legislature, facing a $3.6-billion budget shortfall, doesn't have more important things to do.

"I understand what people are trying to do with repealers," Baxley said. "But I couldn't support something like that on principle. I think we're all paying the price if you look at the damage to the traditional family."

The bill has no Senate sponsor.

Workman insists that the repealers bills are not distracting him from big picture, like the budget, and the tens of thousands of layoffs his district faces when NASA retires the space shuttle.

Next year, Workman says he's going to tackle even bigger repealers, including getting rid of a board that licenses barbers.

Workman sees the need to regulate cosmetologists, who deal with potentially harmful chemicals, but he doesn't think a haircut requires someone with a permit. Workman knows he's going to face an angry industry.

"I think the days of the barber/surgeon are over," he said. "All of this government has got to go."

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