Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Florida's tourism prevention programs

I've written before about Canadians and other snowbirds being treated like cash cows in the State of Florida.

Two recent examples of lunatic lawmaking from the Sunshine State just confirm this impression.

Example #1:
You may have heard about the first kerfuffle. The Florida legislature passed a law a while back that required all foreign residents to obtain an International Driver's License in order to operate their automobiles on the streets and highways of the sunshine state. Apparently a state trooper had difficulty deciphering a license in something other than English, so someone thought this would be a good solution.

Trouble is, they didn't tell anybody, and it was late February before the story leaked out in the media. By that time, a large percentage of the 2.5 million Canadians who visit Florida each year (including my wife and I) were already ensconced in their winter digs and motoring about, blissfully ignorant of the fact that they were lawbreakers. More worrisome, that had the potential to void their car insurance, leaving them unprotected in the event of a traffic accident.

When I heard about it, I checked the Florida State Government website and could see no mention of it.

What to do? Fly back to Canada to get an International Driver's License, which involves no testing and is as big a joke as those police badges that used to come in cereal boxes, or keep our fingers crossed that we weren't run into by a '79 Coupe de Ville driven by a geriatric in cardiac arrest. We decided to lay low and hope for the best.

Predictably, the whole thing blew up, there was great embarrassment on the part of legislators, who were saying things like, "I hope I didn't vote for it." Police promised to not enforce the law, and apologies were issued, along with promises to repeal the law when the lawmakers were back in session. This finally happened last week.

Can't you just feel the love?

Example #2:
Tony Hough and spouse drive down to Sarasota from Palm Harbour, meet friends, and go spend $450 on dinner at one of the finer downtown restaurants. Everyone had a fine time until they returned around 8:30 pm to the parking garage to find a $35 ticket on the windshield.

Expired meter? No.

No Parking zone? No.

Handicapped space? No.

The offence, under Ordinance 33-115, was BACKING THE VEHICLE INTO THE PARKING SPACE!

A cash grab, pure and simple.

There's that lovin' feeling again.


  1. There oughta be a law! Oh, wait. That's the problem! Crazy laws!

  2. You snowbirds have it tough in the winter. Total sympathy here. :)

  3. ♪♫ You've lost that loving feeling... ♫♪ Crazy laws. I think some people have too much time on their hands. How about sending them out to fill in some of those potholes.