Blog: Florida Legislature’s latest preemption frenzy would sabotage plastic straw ban | Fred Grimm

Sen. Travis Hutson hails from Elkton in the northwest reaches of Florida, four miles down Highway 207 from Spuds, nine miles south of Molasses Junction and a far piece from Fort Lauderdale, whether you measure the distance in miles or culture or politics. Yet, Sen. Hutson has no compunction about meddling in our local affairs.

He’s offended that Fort Lauderdale and a few other cities far to the south of the Elkton-Spuds-Molasses Junction metropolitan area have adopted ordinances designed to lessen the deluge of plastic straws fouling local beaches, parks and waterways, endangering birds and marine creatures and, according to Scientific America, introducing toxic microparticles of degraded plastic into our food chain.

Fort Lauderdale passed an ordinance last month that will eventually prohibit retail outlets from distributing single-use plastic drink straws and ban them in city-owned facilities and at public events that require a city permit. In Broward, Deerfield Beach, Dania Beach, Hollywood and Hallandale Beach have adopted similar measures. So have Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Surfside, St. Petersburg and Fort Myers.

None of those towns are located anywhere near Hutson’s state Senate district, where his constituents apparently are untroubled by environmental degradation. But Hutson told the Miami Herald that he was concerned with government “overreach,” so naturally the senator is reaching 300 miles south to smack down local government initiatives.

The case gave South Florida a pretty good idea what to expect from the Legislature in five years after the DEP finally delivers a plastic straw study. More “indefinite limbo.”

Fred Grimm (@grimm_fred or, a longtime resident of Fort Lauderdale, has worked as a journalist in South Florida since 1976.

Source: Breaking News / South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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