Dwarf Tossing Bill Filed to Repeal Florida's Job-Killing Ban on Flying Little People

Since 1989, Florida's dwarfs looking for work as human shot puts for bar-goers have been out of a job due to a ban by the state legislature.

Rep. Ritch Workman, a Melbourne Republican, wants to repeal that freedom- and job-killing law.

House Bill 4063 was submitted by Workman on Monday, and would repeal Florida Statute 561.665, which essentially bans bar games that use people with dwarfism as sporting goods.

Since October 1, 1989, it's been illegal for any business in Florida that sells alcohol "from undertaking or permitting any contest or promotion or other form of recreational activity involving exploitation endangering the health, safety, and welfare of any person with dwarfism."

For the purposes of this section, the term "dwarfism" means a disproportionate or proportionate short stature most often caused by a genetic syndrome. The division may suspend or revoke the license of and may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 against any person in violation of any rule promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this section, as authorized and according to the procedures set forth in s. 561.29.

That "recreational activity" it's referring to is the game of dwarf tossing, which you can see illustrated below:

Think it's a non-issue? Think again.

In 2001, a 3-foot-2 radio host known as "Dave the Dwarf" filed a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn Florida's ban on the "activity," saying he wanted the same opportunity for employment as everyone else. Dave likened dwarf tossing to basketball, in which height is an asset in the profession.

Last month, when Gov. Rick Scott announced that he wanted to repeal more than 1,000 state rules created by various agencies in the state. Sure enough, he wants to repeal two of the rules from the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco related to dwarf tossing.

There are also multiple scientific studies on dwarf tossing, including this one, which examines the bioethics of hurling little people.

Workman told the Current that the only thing the ban on dwarf tossing did was take away employment opportunities for people with dwarfism.

His bill has yet to be assigned to committee, but you can read the brief text of it here.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley