Things just won’t be the same in Florida. First we reported that one of that state’s most dependable creationists won’t be back in the legislature next year because of term limits (see Stephen Wise: On the Way Out).
Then, although we didn’t write about it, Wise and another creationist champion, Orlando Senator Gary Siplin, the first convicted felon to serve in the Florida Legislature, have been recently implicated in a scandal regarding their use of a shadow program at Florida A&M University to pass through funds to non-profits the senators are affiliated with.
We don’t yet know if Siplin will be back next year. Recall that it was Siplin whose School Prayer Bill was recently passed. He and Wise have long been dependable allies of our favorite Florida legislator, Ronda Storms, the creationist queen of the Florida Senate back in 2008. It’s in her honor that our jolly logo adorns this post (see: Buffoon Award Winner — Ronda Storms). To remind you of Ronda’s glory days four years ago, see Her Most Rapturous Moment.
We have constantly marveled at the incredibly wide-ranging intellectual versatility of our old creationist friend. Ronda is not only a major force in The Controversy between evolution and creationism, she also plays an active role in controversies about Prayer in Florida Schools, and also Naked School Boys, and also the Dewey Decimal System, and also religious license plates, and also serving alcohol at private museum events, and also gambling at Indian casinos.
We know this will break your heart, dear reader, but Rapturous Ronda won’t be back in the Florida Senate next year. In the Palm Beach Post we read Sen. Storms quits race, seeks property appraiser seat. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
State Sen. Ronda Storms, R-Valrico, is dropping her reelection bid and instead will run against embattled Hillsborough County Property Appraiser Rob Turner.
Oh no! What shall we do without Ronda? The story continues:
Storms, a former Hillsborough County commissioner, had two years left before she was term-limited out of the Senate. But she said Friday that a porn scandal surrounding Turner prompted her to abandon the legislature and instead try to oust her fellow Republican.
A porn scandal? Involving a Republican? How could that be? According to this Tampa Tribune story, Turner’s troubles mount:
Days after the Hillsborough County property appraiser admitted he traded lurid emails and text messages with a subordinate, two well-known politicians announced they will vie for his job. … Once a shoo-in for re-election to a fifth term, Turner’s support within his party crumbled after he confirmed Monday that he exchanged explicit text messages and emails with Carolyn Filippone, his former girlfriend and human resources manager.
Egad! How could a Republican do such a thing? They quote Rapturous Ronda:
“I am unfortunately under the belief that the current property appraiser has embarrassed himself, embarrassed the office and embarrassed the party,” Storms said. “I am going to run to restore professionalism and integrity and accountability to the property appraiser’s office.”
Noble sentiments! Let’s get back to the Palm Beach Post. They say:
Turner, Hillsborough’s property appraiser for 16 years, this week fired his human resources director, Caroline Filippone, after fighting a sexual discrimination complaint she filed with U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2010. The complaint, which alleged he sent her dozens of pornographic emails from 2007 to 2009 after a personal relationship between the two ended, was dismissed by the commission in April, which frees Filippone to sue Turner.
Great scandal. Too bad it doesn’t involve creationism. But what will become of Ronda’s Senate seat? The Post says:
Shortly after her announcement Friday, former Senate President Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican seen as a moderate, announced he would run for her east Hillsborough Senate seat. Storms said other possible candidates were state Reps. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, and Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa.
It doesn’t matter, really. Without Ronda, everything will be different. Meanwhile far worse things are happening in Florida. There’s no news on it lately, but don’t forget about the Florida Theocracy Amendment which will be on the ballot in November. That’s potentially far bigger than some goofball creationism bill.
Anyway, this year’s legislative session is over, and now Ronda is gone. So is Stephen Wise, and maybe Siplin will be going too. Things just won’t be the same in Florida, but there’s one thing of which we have no doubt — The Controversy between evolution and creationism will continue.
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