An old professor of mine once said “you need to be retarded to be elected to the Florida legislature.” I don’t know if I agree with her, but some legislators certainly throw support to that argument. Rep. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, obviously “just ain’t that bright.”
Her bill ostensibly is designed to cut down on prostitution in strip clubs. Not that there is much documented evidence of this being a rampant problem, but reasonable minds could agree that strip clubs shouldn’t double as brothels.
To cut down on this phantom epidemic, Hukill’s bill provides that if prostitution happens in a club, or is arranged in a club, or in any way is connected with a club, and the owner knew or should have known then the owner goes to jail for five years and his club is forfeited. Oh, and the forfeiture proceeds, 1/3 for the local police, 1/3 for the state, and 1/3 for — wait for it — whoever turns the club in. If the one who turns in the owner is the hooker herself…. wait for it…. she gets immunity from prosecution!
So, here is a great business plan for any down-on-her-luck hooker out there. Get a job at a strip club and start hooking on the side. Once you get caught, testify against the owner. Make your money until you get busted. Then, turn in the owner, and you get the charges dropped, and you win 1/3 of the proceeds from the sale of the club while the owner goes to prison.
What’s the real motivation here? Is it really cutting down on prostitution? It sure creates a strong economic incentive to be a prostitute, and privatizes the destruction of our First Amendment freedoms by outsourcing the job to prostitutes. Even law enforcement is against it. The Florida Sheriffs Association and Florida Police Chiefs Association objected to sharing it with prosecutors and prostitutes. Sheriffs lobbyist Frank Messersmith also said the bill would “create a bounty system.”
I wish I could say that this was the result of stupidity, but I suspect it is not. Ms. Hukill is likely a very shrewd little petty fascist.
Here are some more in-depth articles about this moronic bill.