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Tanner Andrews

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Tanner Andrews

I should not have to explain this, but there is a risk that our legislators will read it. We have to dumb things down for them.

Back around 1960, West Volusia voters decided that they wanted to provide for health care. You could charge it to a concern for the less fortunate, but some voters had economic motives. Mainly, they did not want sick people walking about spreading disease.

Being fairly ungenerous myself, I subscribe to economic motives. Even unto this day, I do things for money, and avoid things that cost money. So I need people spreading disease about as much as I need a tax increase. I also have little fondness for the untreated injured, preferring to see them treated and back to work.

Many jobs here are done by “undocumented” workers. Sometimes they become injured or fall ill. Ebenezer Scrooge was not all wrong.

A more generous person than I would say, “Take care of them, it is the right thing to do!” You could be waiting awhile to hear that from me.

Instead, I am likely to say, “Take care of them, so they do not spread disease,” or “Take care of them, so they get back to work!” I want them healthy and working instead of costing taxpayers as they languish.

The same logic does not fly in Tallahassee. Consider SB-2023-1718, which our governor has signed into law. Despite the U.S. Constitution reserving foreign relations to the federal government, the Legislature wants to stick its oar in.

Right here is where I miss the opportunity to write a fun column about federalism.

The Florida Legislature wants to require health providers to check immigration and residence status before treating people. Of course (wink, wink), this will not be reported to the authorities. And swine fly gracefully, and the Legislature is paying the associated costs.

It does not need a medical doctor, or even a porcine avionics expert, to predict the outcome. Our most vulnerable workers will simply work sick, or not work injured. While not working, they do not pay taxes either through withholding or through points of sale.

The Legislature offers no help with data-collection costs. They also offer no help with illness. As undocumented workers stay sick, I am pretty sure I know what the legislators are thinking — we are sure glad they are not spreading disease in Tallahassee!

— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.


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