Florida may be facing rising unemployment, funding cuts of major social programs, and environmental threats, but Rep. Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne) has stepped forward to tackle an issue that few have even acknowledged, let alone addressed, in the halls of power: dwarf-tossing. Workman is seeking to lift the ban on dwarf-tossing and to return Florida to a competitive position in the sport.
The Legislature banned the practice in 1989 after a safety measure. Notably, the law to be repealed actually protects little people from being abused — not specifically a ban on dwarf tossing. Florida Statute 561.665, which prohibits anyone who sells alcohol on premises from permitting any recreational activity “involving exploitation endangering the health, safety, and welfare of any person with dwarfism.”
Workman insists “it’s an archaic kind of Big Brother law that says, ‘We don’t like that activity.'” Workman notes “there is nothing immoral or illegal about that activity. All we really did by passing that law was take away some employment from some little people.”
One would think that the Little People of America may beg to differ on the notion that the ban denied dwarfs a vital source of employment. Yet, the organization took a remarkably understated position — telling reporters that they would need to study the issue more.
The repeal of a law protecting barring “exploitation endangering the health, safety, and welfare of any person with dwarfism” would seem to open up a wide range of potential abuse. Before the ban, a dwarf was put into a harness, spun around, and thrown onto mattresses — usually at a bar. At the time, advocates denounced the activity of physically harmful and abusive.
Yet, Gary Arnold, president of Little People of America, is quoted as saying he didn’t know whether the group would have time to research and comment on HB 4063. Really? What are the other pressing issues facing the Little People of America. I would think dwarf-tossing would be relatively high on the agenda for action. I realize that the pension fund and insurance coverage can be important for the membership, but this would appear rather significant in terms of the stereotypes and abuse of the membership. Arnold did, however, state that they oppose the legislation.
I doubt even the most libertarian little person would view this repeal as justified in the name of fighting paternalistic legislation. They might want to move it toward the top of the group’s to-do list.
Source: Florida Current