If you spend any amount of time in Tallahassee, you’ll hear constant railing about top-down government.

  Legislators complain about everything from Obamacare to unfunded mandates. They argue that one government should stay out of another one’s business – and that it’s simply un-American to do otherwise.

  All of which makes the Legislature’s attempts to crack down on local communities' sick-time initiatives more interesting … and hypocritical.

  Right now, the bill awaits Rick Scott’s signature or veto.

  Promoters, like Orlando Republican Rep. Steve Precourt, claim it’s about streamlining things, so that companies play by the same rules in every county in Florida and aren’t subject to a “patchwork” of different regulations.

  That is unmitigated malarkey.

  Cities and counties have varying laws and ordinances about thousands of things – everything from zoning rules to impact fees.

  How about incentives? This state is famous for pitting one community against another, with each one offering different packages of incentives to entice a company to move. The entire system is a “patchwork” approach to corporate welfare. Yet Tallahassee isn’t passing laws to stop that.

  Even more apropro to the sick-time debate, Florida already allows localities to pass widely varying business regulations, based on moral conceptions of right and wrong. Booze sales are a perfect example. In some places, businesses are banned from selling on Sunday mornings. In other places, they aren't. Closing hours at bars vary from one town to the next.

  The truth, of course, is that cracking down on sick time isn’t about eradicating some evil “patchwork.” It’s about sating the businesses that don’t want to be forced to provide sick time to their employees.

  And I get that part. As I have said from Day 1, that is a fair debate to have – whether companies should be required to do so.

  That’s what the Orange County initiative was all about. More than 50,000 residents followed the rules to get that issue on a ballot. Orange County commissioners then broke the rules to keep that issue off. And now Florida legislators want to make sure the debate never happens.

  The right to petition your government is one of the few direct lines of Democracy left to citizens. And it’s scary when government leaders try to shut that avenue down.

  Scott shouldn’t veto this bill because he’s a proponent of mandatory sick time … which I’m quite sure he’s not. He should veto this bill because it’s sole purpose is to deny local communities the right to pass their own laws.

  I doubt he will. Not only can he cast his bill-signing as a jobs issue, he knows he’ll earn gratitude from many of the businesses that he’s courting as he seeks re-election.