Nanny State Update
Under these guidelines and regulations, we don’t know how you’re supposed to change the radio station, drink your own beer, put on makeup or build your dream home without fighting Nanny State overreach.The NHTSA recently held three separate hearings on what it now calls “the distracted driving epidemic.” While we understand the dangers of texting while driving, the NHTSA supports regulations that prevent drivers from accessing their navigation devices and entertainment systems. Furthermore, a study by the Swedish government found that texting while driving is dangerous, bans don’t reduce safety. Most drivers are aware of the dangers inherent in texting while driving, but regulators at NHTSA and the NTSB would rather you get lost than use innovative technology that has redefined the modern driving experience. If the Nanny State bureaucrats have their way, they could ban you from using almost anything they deem distracting in your personal vehicle including talking to passengers. No word on whether the government’s list of distractions could extend to singing by oneself while driving, though remembering all the lyrics to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody might qualify as an entertainment distraction.
While some pioneers like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are rolling back microbrew regulations, 17 states have vague and confusing nanny-state statutes that prevent home brew hobbyists from transporting or selling their products. Regulations that limit personal use of home brewed beer affect individuals and local economies as they can curtail microbrew conventions and beer tasting contests. According to one enthusiast, failing to repeal regulations “could pretty much be the end of competitions in Wisconsin…at least legal ones.” Government intrusion into the microbrew hobby creates a barrier for entrepreneurs wishing to build their own home brew business. Jim Koch, who cofounded the Boston Beer Company, started the company by selling his now-famous home brewed Samuel Adams Lager door-to-door to bars and restaurants in Boston. We doubt Koch’s Boston Beer Company would have grown into the second largest American distributor under strict home brew regulations.
Central planners love to regulate private property and development, and California has led the way in ridiculous regulations designed to save the spotted owl at the expense of home developers, families and contractors. By most estimates, the detached single family home is the most popular residential choice across America yet city and county governments in California are passing ordinances that regulate the size of homes built on private property. According to the LA Times, the laws are designed to "control suburban sprawl, build homes closer to downtown and reduce commuter driving, thus decreasing climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions." Brazil recently passed California to become the world’s eighth largest economy due, in large part, to the exodus of talented entrepreneurs from under the Golden (Nanny) State’s restrictive thumb. If California’s citizens keep moving to states with relaxed building codes, we wonder how many more people the central planners will have to regulate.
Nanny State lawmakers and activists continue to push for a ban on bisphenol A, a compound used in food and drink containers to improve linings and prevent food-borne illness. These paternalists claim BPA is toxic, despite 50 years of evidence to the contrary. We've posted about this before, but the Nanny Staters continue to ignore science and push for bans of BPA in container production. Even the ever-aggressive FDA refuses to pursue a ban because it doesn't think BPA is unsafe. Industry analysts believe a BPA ban would almost immediately cut business earnings, some by as much as 21 percent - not to mention undermine the safety of common food products. Just like climate change hysteria or urban sprawl, attacks on BPA are just another example of the Nanny Staters finding a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.
All is not lost in the fight against Nanny State regulations as some lawmakers and pundits are working to rein in government overreach.
Some citizens, lawyers and lawmakers in Connecticut are working to reverse legislation that limits the size of signs a homeowner can display in his or her yard. If this law gets repealed, it will be a victory for first amendment and personal property rights.