Who could forget one of the biggest Florida political controversies of 2003? Jeb Bush's nebulous scheme to raise fees for snake owners was all Floridians could talk about in the spring of '03. It nearly tore families and friends apart. I can still clearly remember one particularly tense family gathering when my father and uncle nearly got into a fistfight over how much snake owners should be charged for a permit. They didn't speak for more than a year, and the relationship has never been the same since. It might have been one of the defining fights of Bush's time in Tallahassee.
Floridians remember. Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich remembers.
In fact, in a stunning new series of attack ads, Kasich is bringing the old scandal to light. Finally.
There's even an attack ad.
It really speaks to how out-of-touch the political press and establishment are that they were willing to sweep this controversy under the rug and conveniently leave it out of the GOP primary fight. Thank you for boldly bringing this issue back into the light, Governor Kasich.
Just kidding. Of course, no one remembers or cares about Bush's stance on snake owner fees.
Kasich, who is sitting at 2.4 percent in national polls, has dug up what seems to be an old Lakeland Ledger article about various fee hikes Bush approved as governor in 2003. We couldn't find the article, but we did find the snake fee legislation in question.
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The fees were part of a bill from the Senate Governmental Oversight and Productivity commission that tidied up the budget for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the following year. It raised the fees on the ownership of certain snakes (venomous or listed as "reptiles of concern") from $5 to $100.
Bush ended up signing off on the legislation.
Today the permit costs $140.