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July 09, 2013 9:30 AM Is Your iPhone Illegal in Florida?

By Ed Kilgore

Today’s news of the weird, as is often the case, comes from the State of Florida, and it does not involve Burmese pythons. It does involve another exotic species, the Sunshine State’s politicians, including its decidedly odd governor, Rick Scott. Here’s HuffPost Miami’s report:

When Florida lawmakers recently voted to ban all Internet cafes, they worded the bill so poorly that they effectively outlawed every computer in the state, according to a recent lawsuit.
In April Florida Governor Rick Scott approved a ban on slot machines and Internet cafes after a charity tied to Lt. Governor Jennifer Carroll was shut down on suspicion of being an Internet gambling front — forcing Carroll, who had consulted with the charity, to resign.
Florida’s 1,000 Internet cafes were shut down immediately, including Miami-Dade’s Incredible Investments, LLC, a café that provides online services to migrant workers, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The owner, Consuelo Zapata, is now suing the state after her legal team found that the ban was so hastily worded that it can be applied to any computer or device connected to the Internet, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by The Miami Herald.
The ban defines illegal slot machines as any “system or network of devices” that may be used in a game of chance.

Nice craftmanship, Florida legislature! It’s bad enough that the solons couldn’t figure out how to design a gaming ban that didn’t close down every internet cafe in the state. But no matter how the lawsuit goes, you can probably expect some jokes about legislators who didn’t want to allow phones smarter than they are. And it’s another fine accomplishment for Rick Scott.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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