Florida is facing a fiscal crisis. There's talk of slashing everything from public safety to help for the disabled.
So what burning issue are some of our legislators pushing?
Specifically, they want more freebies.
After all, what's the point in being a "public servant" if you can't get free steak dinners and open bar tabs?
But fear not, hungry, thirsty and gift-deprived lawmakers. Here comes Senate Bill 1322 to the rescue.
Filed by Tampa Bay area Republican Dennis Jones, this bill would take Florida back to the good ol' days when Tallahassee politicians could suck up gifts of up to $100 from lobbyists or anyone else without seeking permission.
Apparently shame is no longer just an endangered emotion in Tallahassee; it's officially extinct.
Jones and his fellow legislators know they can't make a straight-faced argument about how they all deserve free rib-eyes.
So the heaping helping of hogwash they've come up with is to argue that they can't meet with well-meaning citizens groups at apple-pie festivals and hot-dog roasts when they're prohibited from accepting free meals.
Jones went so far as to describe the gift ban to the St. Petersburg Times as "the most destructive thing to interacting with our constituents."
Perhaps someone should give Senator Jones the gift of a lobotomy. Or at least a reality check.
Because this is very simple: Politicians are free to meet, greet, listen and speak with every single person on God's great green earth — as long as they don't take something from them.
And if you're incapable of meeting with people without accepting things from them, please give Florida residents and taxpayers a gift — your resignation.
For more on this one — including the argument for why problems with gifts pale in comparison to cash donations — check out the video version of the Malarkey Meter at OrlandoSentinel.com/takingnames.
You may have heard that some state senators recently defied Gov. Rick Scott, telling federal transportation officials they still supported high-speed rail.
Wondering where your senator stood?
Well, among those still promoting rail were Republicans Thad Altman, Andy Gardiner and David Simmons and Democrat Gary Siplin.