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Marion Hammer locked and loaded over drivers license handbook

by Dara Kam | March 23rd, 2010

NRA lobbyist and political heavyweight Marion Hammer’s targeting a bill that ostensibly has nothing to do with weapons except that the bill’s Senate sponsor Carey Baker owns a gun shop.

A controversy over the state’s drivers license handbook has the former president of the National Rifle Association loaded for bear.

Baker, R-Eustis, is backing a bill (SB 2342) that would force the state to extend a contentious agreement with Ken Underwood, the Ponte Vedra Beach owner of a driver ed school, in which he prints the drivers license handbook for the state’s Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for free.

In return, Underwood gets to advertise his businesses in the handbook.

The bill’s up in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee this afternoon.

Other driver education school owners fought for years to get Underwood and his National Safety Commission school out of the handbook business, which the state used to pay him to print.

DHSMV’s new chief Julie Jones decided to end Underwood’s contract at the end of the year.

Enter Baker, who sponsored a bill that would allow him to rebid on the handbook and possibly make it easier for him to remain the only driver education school to advertise in it.

That’s got Hammer hopping mad.

She says Underwood’s ads targeting teenage boys like her grandson are “sleazy” and offensive.

Hammer ran into trouble last year trying to download an online version of the handbook. She said that she couldn’t download the handbook without giving up her e-mail address and was hit with a solicitation ten minutes after doing so.

Hammer filed a complaint over the handbook with DHSMV last summer but it went nowhere.

“If the state wants to make multimillionaires of vendors, why don’t they open it up and find one with a little more class and decorum?” Hammer wrote in an e-mail.

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5 Responses to “Marion Hammer locked and loaded over drivers license handbook”

  1. Lakelandmom Says:

    I experienced the same thing as far as my son being solicited immediately upon giving his name to purchase a handbook. He gets US Mail from credit card offers, colleges, home repair businesses, etc., etc. I called NSC to complain and ask them to remove my minor son’s name immediately from their database but it was too late. There was nothing they could do. I couldn’t afford an attorney so now I just get tons of junk mail addressed to my minor son. It’s ludicrous that we have to pay $7 for something that’s free online, just so NSC is guaranteed their ads will be seen.

  2. UPDATE: Senator’s attempt to rescue driver license handbook contractor goes nowhere…again | Post on Politics Says:

    [...] She wrote a scathing e-mail about the bill (SB 2342) in which she objected Underwood’s use of … “The contract that this bill would force DHSMV to renew is apparently a disgrace. It seems to me it ‘gives away the store.’ In my own personal opinion, the state of Florida made a multimillionaire out of a vendor who uses sleazy tactics,” Hammer wrote. [...]

  3. Reyes Anschutz Says:

    This unique post makes me personally realize that we all have to take additional treatment of ourselves and each other.

  4. Marion Hammer aims to kill driver handbook deal ‘black flag dead’ | Post on Politics Says:

    [...] Hammer wants to kill the bill “black flag dead” with an up or down vote in the [...]

  5. sandra Says:

    They even put ads for insurance and other things telling kids they did not need parents insurance only. Even Gov Bush said this was not the way to do business in Florida. Good for the new DHSMV DIRECTOR AND MARION HAMMER kill this sleazey handbook bill.

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