04-28-2008, 03:16 PM
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'Offensive' car ornaments could net $60 fine
TALLAHASSEE — Often seen dangling from the rear fender of trucks hauling down the road, "truck-nutz" can elicit honks, laughs or just stares.
But they could soon net the driver a $60 fine.
Saying that many find the replicas of male genitalia to be offensive or obscene, Sen. Carey Baker, R-Eustis, is on a mission to get them banned from the road.
But that's offended some of his fellow senators, who say it would impede freedom of expression - and that law enforcement officers already have plenty to do.
"It's shocking we would be telling people that have metallic testicles on the bottom of their bumpers, 'Guess what? We've now determined it's obscene.' There's gotta be better things for us to be debating," said Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller of Cooper City.
Among those who have had the auto ornaments is Sen. Jim King, R-Jacksonville. Decorated in the garnet and gold of his alma mater, Florida State University, they hung on the back of his Suburban until his wife, Linda, demanded they be removed. They now grace the wall of a warehouse.
Baker made clear his proposal would not affect the decal that shows a "little boy doing bad things to other vehicles. That's not my issue. My bill refers to a reproduction of reproductive glands. So, if it doesn't show the glands, it isn't covered. And the little boy decals don't show the glands."
The provision was tucked into a transportation package that would ban drag racing and allow drivers to use HOV lanes whenever they want, regardless of how many passengers they have, if they are driving hybrid, low-emission or energy-efficient vehicles.
The Virginia General Assembly earlier this year squashed a similar bill to ban the decorative vehicle ornaments or anything that looked like male genitalia.
Chesapeake Delegate Lionell Spruill introduced the bill in Virginia, saying the rubber items are a safety concern because they could distract drivers and ultimately cause accidents. An Associated Press article quoted Spruill saying he came up with the idea after a parent complained his daughter saw a pair of the testicles hanging from the back of a truck in traffic.
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