James L. Rosica in Tallahassee Published: April 22, 2014
With a one-two parliamentary punch on Tuesday, two leading state senators knocked out an amendment to a bill that would have clamped down on Florida greyhound racing. The amendment by Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, would have stopped making dog tracks have races to continue to run more profitable card rooms and have slot machines.
The move is known as “decoupling.” She tried to tack it on to her bill (SB 742) requiring race dog injury and death reporting. Florida and Alabama are the only states that don’t require such reporting.
Decoupling also is supported by Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, his wife Vickey and his son, state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar. Suddenly, Latvala — a Clearwater Republican — called for a point of order. He told chair Joe Negron, R-Stuart, that the amendment wasn’t germane to the bill and that it violated a “single-subject” requirement.
Negron turned to Rules chair John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who agreed with the call. Based on Thrasher’s ruling, Negron then struck the amendment from consideration. The bill later cleared the committee — without the decoupling language. It should head next to the Senate floor.
“I was interested in helping the greyhounds,” Sobel later said. “Some of the tracks are not very profitable anymore. People are not going to watch these races. “…I thought it was common sense to stop this kind of racing,” she added. “I think it’s ludicrous to race dogs. I think it’s ridiculous to race dogs. When I first saw it, I thought it was a joke. I mean, these are the animals we love and keep as pets in our homes.”
Guest Opinion: Expansion of Gambling a Bad Bet for Florida
September 18, 2018
HOT OFF THE PRESSES!!! FLORIDA DECOUPLING FAILS AGAIN