2014 Legislative Session Winner & Loser: Thrill-seeking recreationalists

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Winner: ATV enthusiasts! Imagine if dirt bikes were still defined by law as machines that required lawnmower-style pull-starts. That wouldn’t make sense, considering that technology has advanced motorsports substantially over the past many decades. But for ATV riders, Florida law has been comparably ancient in its definitions.

Until now.

SB 1024 has finally redefined ATVs to embrace modern amenities such as steering wheels instead of handle bars, and side-by-side seating instead of straddle seats.

If signed by Gov. Scott, Florida will no longer be among the dwindling number of states clinging to archaic seating arrangements to define this genre of sports vehicle.

The new law opens up Florida’s trails to safer, more comfortable ATVs and also helps to make Florida’s wild lands more accessible to the disabled.

Loser:  Bungee Jumpers.  Here is the story of how in one architectural phallic symbol (the Florida Capitol) funding for another architectural phallic symbol (SkyRise Miami) was denied.

We’ve talked about SkyRise Miami here before. Apparently the Senate was on the same page.

Despite a gallant run, Ron Book’s last-minute efforts to get $5 million sent to a developer for this should-be-privately-funded project fell through.

SkyRise Miami, which will boast a 1,000-foot bungee tower, may have been the Eiffel Tower in the House, but in the Senate it was “that effing tower.”

The House proposed $5 million, the Senate countered with $2 million to be paid after the developer demonstrated he had secured $400 million in private funding, and the whole thing finally got zeroed out.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.