Posted 9 months ago on Feb. 20, 2013, 7:46 a.m. EST by GirlFriday
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Tea partiers have also risen up to oppose the tyranny of septic-tank inspections. In 2011, activists persuaded the Legislature to overturn a 2010 law that required old and potentially leaky septic systems to get inspected every five years to prevent human waste from seeping into the water supply. "They don't realize the damage done when you remove revenue from the budget," says Pafford, the Democratic legislator from Palm Beach, whose district has seen record flooding in the past year. "We defecate in the water we drink because we don't want government control. At the same time we offer 18 bills on whether a woman can have an abortion. There are a lot of people who miss Gov. [Jeb] Bush—that's where we are."
It used to be that a few government expenditures were immune from partisan disagreement—cops, potholes, mosquito control. But not anymore. Most of Florida's mosquito abatement work is done at the local level, where independent taxing districts are responsible for the bulk of the eradication efforts. These districts have become targets of tea party wrath. Last year, a trio of conservative activists dubbing themselves the "Mosquitoteers" challenged several members on the Anastasia Mosquito Control Board in St. Augustine. They campaigned on a plan to cut mosquito control taxes and the district's budget and bought a billboard reading: "Smash mosquitoes and the friends of Obama." Never mind, notes board member Vivian Browning, that the seats are nonpartisan: "Mosquitoes, they don't care if you're Republican, Democrat, or independent. They can eat you, infect you, kill you, regardless of party." One of the Mosquitoteers, a reserve sheriff's deputy, defeated a University of Florida biology professor who is an expert in mosquito-borne diseases—a concern in a state that has regular outbreaks of West Nile virus and has seen an uptick in dengue fever.