Nanny State Update: Government Says No to Saving Wildlife, Packing Your Kid’s Lunch and Wants to R

Welcome to the first Nanny State Update of the 2013! It’s been a busy start to the year for the Cost of Government Center, and unfortunately Nannies across the nation have been busy too, with plenty of new attacks on freedom in the new year.

Where there’s smoke, there’s smuggling: With tobacco taxes on the rise from revenue-hungry lawmakers, enterprising smokers are smuggling more cigarettes across state lines, according to a new report from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. With the highest taxes on cigarettes in the nation in NYC, NY leads the nation with an estimated 60 percent of cigarettes smoked in the state smuggled in, followed by Arizona and New Mexico. The author says it best: “Like other forms of prohibition, this one has led to a spike in smuggling-related criminal activity as smokers turn to illicit distribution channels”, a trend which should shock no one.

School snacks under threat: The USDA is preparing to hand down long-delayed new rules governing snacks and vending machines in schools. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said yesterday that the delay was designed to allow the department to set the groundwork for improved “audience receptivity” and “reeducation” – sounds ominous! The department expects to introduce the new layers of regulation in early 2013, after schools have had a chance get used to recent rule changes requiring more fruits and grains, and caloric adjustment that were supposed to deal with obesity concerns as well as performance issues. And to think, your parents used to send you off to school with a lunch they packed for you ALL on their own! The horror.

Oh deer – Indiana couple charged with saving fawn: Jeff and Jennifer Councellor did the right thing by nature and the wrong thing by the Department of Natural Resources when they nursed an injured fawn back to health after finding it on their back porch. For their good deed, the couple were charged with illegal possession of a white-tailed deer earlier this month after refusing Department of Natural Resources’ request to return it to the wild before it was fully healed – which “would have been a death sentence” Mr. Councellor said. The couple are facing a penalty of up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for the misdemeanor charge.

Please, sir, can I have some more toilet paper?: Boys in Manahoy Area High School, PA, have been required to request and sign out toilet paper when they use the bathroom. School staff sent freedom down the toilet after bathroom vandalism saw the boy’s toilets clogged with toilet paper and other paper, rationing toilet paper in an overreaching bid to prevent the unknown culprits from clogging again. At least one parent raised concerns that there are students are embarrassed to go through the stringent regime and claim illness to go home instead.

Not every Nanny persevered….

At least they’ll let you keep your name: An Icelandic girl, baptized Blaer, has won her case against the state for the right to use her baptismal name – rather than her legal name, ‘Girl’. In Iceland, there’s an official list of 1,853 government-approved female names, and Blaer was not on it. Apple or Moon Unit might not be the world’s most sensible names, but who is the government to say what you would like to be called? Blaer means “light breeze” in Icelandic, and we think it’s a nice name.

All bark and no bite: A victory for freedom and dog owners in Oklahoma last week, after a proposed ban on certain dog breeds was abandoned. SB 32 would have allowed cities to ban ownership of particular pedigrees, but a flood of calls, letters and petitions to representatives left sponsors no choice but to drop the bill. What a great reminder that every little bit of opposition to state intrusion really does count!

 

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