Florida Phoenix by Lucy Morgan
February 25, 2020
Some Florida legislators want more privacy. They’d like to live secretly, in houses where no one can find them.
Yes, as dumb as this sounds, this has become an actual bill in the Florida Legislature.
The Senate sponsor is Republican Kelli Stargel, who represents parts of Lake and Polk counties. She already lives at a secret address because she’s married to a former legislator who is now a judge in Polk County.
I can see some reason to make the home addresses of judges exempt from Florida’s public records law, just in case some convicted criminal gets out of prison and wants to pay a visit.
But state legislators? Hardly.
They’re supposed to live within the confines of their legislative districts and most of them are so little known that the average criminal would never find them. But this is an idea that could catch on.
Elsewhere in the world of state government secrecy, Rhode Island legislators are toying with a law to tint their windshields so they can hide from unhappy residents.
Rhode Island law prohibits vehicle owners from tinting their car windows, much like the laws of many other states, including Florida.
But Rhode Island Democrat Anastasia P. Williams has introduced a bill that would carve out an exemption for state lawmakers, police officers, fire fighters and state judges, so they could cruise the streets behind tinted glass.
I wonder what other laws could pass to protect the poor dears serving in state legislatures?
How about a statute allowing lawmakers to escape reporting on the campaign contributions they receive?