The Nanny State Update
Nanny Bloomberg’s at it again; exasperated environmentalists try another approach to save spotted owls; and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood moonlights as a traffic cop all in this week’s edition of Nanny State overreach.
Highway to Hell: Last week we brought you news of Nanny State regulators at NHTSA battling what they now call “the distracted driving epidemic.” Perhaps they should add Transportation Secretary LaHood to their expanding list of potential distractions. In a fit of self-righteousness LaHood claimedduring a speech this week that he hasn’t used a cellphone while driving in over three years. LaHood also stated that he will honk at other drivers if he sees them using a cell phone—but somehow doesn’t seem to think this paternalist policing would be distracting to drivers. LaHood went on to say that he yells at other drivers when he sees them using a cell phone and, "If I could write a ticket I would." Between the honking, yelling and getting out to write tickets Secretary LaHood is more distracting (and pompous) to beltway drivers than using your GPS or talking to passengers—two of the dozens of things NHTSA and NTSB claim are hazardous to driving.
Big Apple, Big Brother: You don’t have to be a singing English woman to be called Nanny. New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is quickly becoming one of the most notorious Nanny State lawmakers. Bloomberg recently proposed rules that force private apartment owners to regulate where people can and can’t smoke. The goal, according to Bloomberg, is to increase smoke-free buildings in the future. We like the opinion of one New York resident who said, “I think Nurse Bloomberg should stay out of private affairs.”
Six Degrees of Statism: We’ve already had one terrible modern day adaptation of Kevin Bacon’s classic “Footloose” and don’t need another. Unfortunately Nanny Staters in Weston, Florida have outlawed nightclubs, dance halls and skating rinks. Weston’s Mayor Eric Hersh defended the proposal claiming, “this is something we thought would protect the city.” The law is an over-zealous response to increased crime. Though it’s apparently trying to do so, Weston hasn’t completely banned dancing since you can still do it at school functions. With the proper adult chaperones, of course.
Banning Lead is for the Birds: Environmentalists in 35 states want to ban lead in hunting ammunition to protect birds from potential lead poisoning. In what can only be called hyperbolic hand wringing, one conservationist called the effect on birds, “A national tragedy.” In opposition to the ban, U.S. House Rep. Doc Hastings (WA-4) pointed out that the regulation will severely harm the hunting industry, driving up costs for ammunition producers and hunting enthusiasts.
Please Don’t Feed the Animals: Following environmentalists’ efforts to make hunting more expensive, the city of Ashland, Oregon proposed a ban on deer feeding rather than permit hunting to confront the growing problem of deer overpopulation. The law follows in the footsteps of other rural Nanny Staters like Minnesota’s proposed ban on deer feeding to save the local moose population.
While the Nanny State continues to grow, some level headed lawmakers have worked to roll back government regulation.
In a victory for personal freedom, Michigan has repealed its motorcycle helmet law. Nanny Staters tried to fight the repeal, but motorcycle riders in Michigan rightly point out that they are smart adults who can make their own choices—sounds like the simplest, most effective argument against Nanny Statism we’ve heard yet.
Citizens and lawmakers in Springfield, Missouri have gained enough petitions to override the City Council’s inaction and force a repeal of the city’s smoking ban. The City Council wasn’t considering a repeal or a ballot initiative, but the hard work of volunteers at Live Free Springfield forced the issue onto the ballot where voters will decide in June.