Nanny State Update: Sidewalk Chalk and “Get-Well-Soon” Balloon Bans
Nanny State regulators targeted high profile public nuisances in the past few weeks, cracking down on children with sidewalk chalk and “get-well-soon” balloons in hospitals. At the federal level, 3,021 pages of new rules and notices were added to the bloated bureaucracy along with 178 final rules regulating everything from work-place head wear to the number of cherries to be produced this year.
Maine Legalizes Fireworks … In Order to Tax Them: For citizens of Maine, this Fourth of July marks the first year taxpayers will be able to conduct their own firework displays. Maine is now the 42nd state to allow personal firework use, joining states like Michigan, Kentucky, Utah, and New Hampshire, which also passed legislative measures to increase the variety of products and their accessibility in time for this year’s celebrations. Unfortunately for taxpayers, their revelry will be tempered by the onerous taxes levied on fireworks, as well as other festive products, by Nanny State regulators caught between their desires to raise revenue and discourage firework usage.
Sidewalk Chalk Ban in Denver: One Denver neighborhood is cracking down on the severe public menace of children with sidewalk chalk. Apparently, the drawings of neighborhood kids – usually of hearts and flowers – were a nuisance to the neighborhood’s chic, contemporary vibe. While the ban is temporary, pending further discussion at the next town meeting, three-year-old Emerson Cohen has promised to keep up her artistic expression as a mini-protest to the ban.
Smoking Ban Advocates Never Content in North Dakota: Despite enacting broad smoking restrictions several years ago, North Dakota’s anti-smoking lobby has submitted an indoor smoking ban to be placed on November’s ballot. The ban would prohibit smoking in a host of new private venues, like smoke shops, bars, restaurants, and designated smoking rooms in hotels. North Dakota’s Hospitality Association objected to the “heavy hand of government” intervening in the relationship between businesses and their clients, but ultimately the voters of North Dakota will have to decide whether this latest Nanny State intrusion will be added to state law.
New York City Health Bans – Round 2: Not to be outdone by Mayor Bloomberg, the New York City Board of Health not only approved the mayor’s soda ban, but recommended a few new ones of their own at their meeting last month. In addition to large sugary beverages, fruit juices and milk-based drinks topped the list of calorie-rich items to be banned, along with large tubs of popcorn and milkshakes. All is not lost for New Yorkers yet though, as they will still have the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction at a public hearing scheduled for July 24.
Georgia Hospitals Ban “Hazardous” Balloons: For residents of Western Georgia, you’ll now have to bring your hospitalized friend a “get-well-soon” card instead of a balloon after the West Georgia Health system banned “hazardous” helium balloons.
Rhode Island Cracks Down on Livestock: Though Rhode Island has the smallest amount of livestock of any state, legislators passed bans that would regulate what little industry that remains. Farmers in Rhode Island will no longer be able to keep pregnant pigs or calves in confined spaces, nor will they be able to dock the tails of their cattle – a common hygiene practice. These latest restrictions on Rhode Island’s dying livestock industry came at the request of Humane Society activists, even as the island’s dwindling amount of cattle declined almost 10 percent this year.
Soda Ban Extends to Massachusetts: Inspired by New York City’s infamous ban on “large” sodas, the Mayor Henrietta Davis of Cambridge, Massachusetts has proposed a similar limitation on restaurants and street vendors in her city earlier this week. In addition to the usual Nanny State mantra about obesity and diabetes among Cambridge’s adult population, Mayor Davis has claimed that her ban will protect the city’s children from the temptation of consuming large sugary beverages.