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Florida lawmaker’s high-flying jobs plan? Bring back dwarf tossing

Rep. Ritch Workman filed a bill last week to lift the 20-year-old state ban on the activity.
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Indian dwarf artists Ashok and Vinay dressed up as Potharaju, the brother of Hindu Goddess of power. (NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images)

Florida state representative Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, filed a bill last week to bring back "dwarf tossing," a bar game in which patrons compete to throw people with dwarfism as far as they can.

Florida outlawed dwarf tossing in 1989, after critics argued it was dehumanizing and physically harmful for the people who were thrown, the Palm Beach Post reports. Now, bars that hold dwarf-tossing events risk fines of $1,000 and having their liquor licenses revoked.

Introducing his legislation -- the Palm Beach Post has dubbed it “a Leave No Tossed Dwarf Behind bill” – Workman argued that the ban on the activity shuts down employment opportunities for people with dwarfism.

"I'm on a quest to seek and destroy unnecessary burdens on the freedom and liberties of people," Workman told the Palm Beach Post. "This is an example of Big Brother government.”

Florida’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in August, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

“If this is a job they want and people would pay to see it or participate in it, why in the world would we prohibit it?” Workman remarked to Bloomberg Businessweek. “In my world view, we have the freedom and liberty to do these kinds of things.”

Advocates for dwarves are appalled.

"It's something that brings out the worst element in some people, and it's focused on people who are the most vulnerable," former President of Little People of America Robert Van Etten told the Palm Beach Post.

Leah Smith, a spokeswoman for the Little People of America, told Bloomberg Businessweek that legislators concerned about dwarfs on the dole should focus on employment discrimination instead.

Workman claims that he himself is not a fan of the pseudo sport. "I think it's repulsive and stupid,” he told the Palm Beach Post. “But it's none of the state's business if somebody wants to do this."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/florida-legalize-dwarf-tossing-ban-ritch-workman-update