Your computer or cell phone, most likely whatever you’re reading this article on right now, could technically be illegal in the State of Florida. Which is great because I’m sick of my cell phone anyway, and often think that going back to the days of just using a pager would streamline my life.
Though I would be out of a job. And theoretically, so would everyone who uses a computer at work. And all of my personal relationships would be put in serious jeopardy. My mother, bless her, would be very angry.
According to a complaint filed by a Miami law firm, the great State of Florida has apparently taken an awkward step in the wrong direction with regards to both our technological well-being and future, as well as adherence to the United States Constitution.
If we’re to read the law signed by Gov. Rick Scott banning Internet cafes and gaming the same way as the law firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen, & Levine, it’s almost laughable to think of the implications. Relationships would crumble, business would grind to a halt and nobody could Facebook, Tweet, or Internet date. It would be 1998 in Florida again and we would all be very grouchy.
The questionable section of the new Florida law refers to a slot machine as “any machine or device or system or network of devices that is adapted for use in such a way that, upon activation, which may be achieved by, but is not limited to, the insertion of any piece of money, coin, account number, code, or other object or information.”
The firm goes on to note that this does NOT mean beverage vending machines, but they do not include the much more crucial and prevalent computers or cell phones. So at least you can still buy a Fanta.
The law was introduced because one of Rick Scott's hand picked employees, former Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll, got caught up in a pseudo gambling ring that was represented by her public relations as a legitimate business.
Basically, the Internet cafes were selling phone cards that acted as gambling vouchers when used on site for games like slots or video poker. Once law enforcement caught wind of the scheme and started asking Carroll questions, she resigned.
Oh and don't worry. Carroll landed on her feet with a weapons manufacturer. Rick Scott sure knows how to pick 'em. Though her spot has yet to be filled.
Attorney for the firm Justin Kaplan says, “Our argument is that the legislation lumps them all together,” thus accidentally implying that your cell phone and computer could potentially be in danger of violating the new law.
Kaplan goes on to state, “this is one group of bad apples,” which eventually led to the resignation of former lieutenant governor in March, and that his clients are running,“legitimate sweepstakes, just like McDonald’s Monopoly or look-under-the-cap for Coca Cola.”
And if you think this law firm was possibly an attention-seeking, over-zealous and litigious bunch of folks trying to capitalize on a poorly-worded bill, you’d be wrong. This is not a crackpot operation. They are one of the best firms in Miami.
As a matter of fact, in this particular case, they have retained the services of attorney Alan Dershowitz, the famed advisor to the O.J. Simpson defense team and one of the most highly esteemed lawyers alive.
Kaplan describes Dershowitz as, “the foremost constitutional scholar in the country, very pleasant to work with and he’s unbelievably smart.”
This situation comes off as the state and its lawmakers rushing into a brash and poorly thought out piece of legislation to save face in the wake of the scandal with the former lieutenant governor. Kaplan describes the situation as “putting a net out for tuna and getting some dolphin,” mostly because the “time and consideration for well written statutes was not taken.”
Add this to the long list of chuckle worthy screw-ups the state has produced, whether officially or unofficially, and we’re no longer just known for “hanging chads” because as the internet grows so does the lowlight reel of Florida’s perpetual embarrassment.
Just take a look at the Florida Man Twitter feed. Most Floridians sort of accept this vexing and ostensibly absurd perception of us, but there’s an underlying feeling that we could be doing better.
It’s time to put Rick Scott on blast. This is stupid. Is there not a capable team of lawyers and various other experts who look at these pieces of legislation? If so, how did they not catch something so egregious as the potential to cripple personal and business relationships across the state?
Click Here to download the complaint document