Nanny State Update: Leaf Blower Bans and Mascot Crackdowns
Across the nation this week, state and local governments are involving themselves more intimately in the day-to-day lives of consumers, parents, and businesses. Not to be outdone, the federal bureaucracy contributed its share to the onslaught of mandates and regulation, adding 1628 pages to the federal register this week, along with 95 new rules covering everything from the designs of turtle exclusion devices to the types of drains individuals must use in their pools.
A Ban that Blows: The gas-powered leaf blower may become a thing of the past for the small town of Arlington, Massachusetts. From October to May, a city-wide ban will dictate to Arlington residents what lawn care tools they are, and are not, allowed to use. Typical of such over-reaching nanny state measures, supporters cited noise pollution and environmental degradation as the primary rationales for the ban. Sponsor Robert Radochia also attributed health benefits to the new mandate, glibly telling reporters from the local Arlington Patch, “Ten minutes with a broom or rake is very therapeutic for the body and mind.” Appeals to individual liberty and freedom made by members of the opposition fell on deaf ears as the nanny state continues to encroach upon even the smallest aspects of our daily lives.
Oregon Cracks Down on Native American Mascots: The students of several high schools in Oregon will be surprised next fall when they return to find that their mascots have been ignominiously retired. After months of debate in the state board of education, officials in Oregon decreed last Thursday that fifteen schools with Native American mascots no longer measured up to the rigorous standards of racial sensitivity in the Beaver State. Opponents on the local boards of education noted that overhauling fifteen entire athletic and extra-curricular programs would result in a high cost to taxpayers, but they were overruled by the state board on its quest for artificial political correctness at the taxpayers’ expense.
L.A. Goes Bag-Less: The ineffective Nanny State plastic bag boondoggle continued on Wednesday as the City Council of Los Angeles voted 13-1 in favor of banning the common grocery store conveyance. Not to be outdone by Hawaii’s state-wide ban, L.A. became the largest city to ban plastic bags, joining 48 other California municipalities in attempting to influence consumer choices toward reusable bags. Potentially hundreds of lost jobs could become victims of the Nanny State as L.A. stores shift to purchasing cheap reusable bags from overseas. In this column last week, we noted that economically damaging bag bans have an abysmal track record for actually reducing plastic bag waste, but the single-minded pursuit of economic self-immolation by the Nanny State continues in California unabated.
New Jersey Ups the Ante on Teen Tanning: On Thursday, Nanny State politicians in the New Jersey state Assembly passed a complete ban on the use of tanning beds by teenagers. A 2006 statute already prevents teens from using tanning beds without parental approval, but apparently the New Jersey legislature believes they know how to raise children better than their parents. The Assembly masked their paternalistic intentions by citing the recent “Tan Mom” incident in which a New Jersey mother brought her five-year-old into a tanning bed with her, an act already banned by state law. But behind the façade of child safety lies the naked ambition of Nanny State regulators to dictate how individuals live their lives and how parents raise their children.
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