Weekly Nanny State Update: Bacon Bans, Family Farming Foes and Hookah Hysterics
This week in the Nanny State Update, the Department of Labor tried to regulate farm chores while a local township passed pig farming restrictions on private property. A Midwest community worries about environmental regulation of their tourism industry and a private business owner fights stifling smoking bans.
Eliminating Chores Appeals to the 6-14 Year Old Voting Demographic: This week, President Obama’s Department of Labor withdrew proposed regulations that all but prohibit children working on family farms. The rule would have applied current labor laws to farms, effectively preventing kids from working on farms that have keep family businesses afloat for centuries. The ruling would also have eliminated successful education programs such as 4-H and FFA, which may not be important to Beltway elitists but are the backbone for extracurricular activities in rural areas. Policing household chores should be left to the real nannies, not those acting under the auspices of the state.
Bacon Makes Everything Better; Regulating Bacon Doesn’t: From controlling working hours to restricting local farming practices, the Nanny State is a loser for family farms this week. The city of Haverhill, MA is considering more regulations for local farms that make it nearly impossible to raise pigs on personal property. The city’s health board recently told one family that they had to stop raising their own pigs on their own land because their 200 year old barn was too close to the street. The family rightly pointed out that this practice allows producers to transport their livestock to the street and thus the market more easily. In a recent interview, one family member commented, “Pigs aren't a risk to anybody's health…over-regulation is the real health problem...we won’t be able to grow food if they keep over-regulating us.” Once again, commonsense disputes the Nanny State argument succinctly but effectively.
Earth Day Pain for Anglers, Bathers and Boaters: When a community relies on tourism and outdoor recreation for $1 billion in revenue, it makes no sense for the Nanny State to intervene and regulate in ways that stifle or destroy this industry. EPA regulations pertaining to blue-green algae might kill over 2,700 jobs around Lake Texoma in Oklahoma and Texas. Many state departments of health concede there is limited to no evidence that blue-green algae causes cancer in humans and the best advice from some state departments is don’t drink water containing algae. This seems like common sense to us and not a reason for the Nanny State to interfere with Lake Texoma’s billion dollar tourism industry.
Hopefully this Hookah Ban Goes up in Smoke: Nanny State lawmakers have banned smoking in public venues, private restaurants and tried banning smoking in your own car and apartment. The next step is outlawing businesses that cater specifically to smokers like hookah bars and cigar shops. In Tacoma, Washington inspectors recently tried to shut down a hookah shop citing smoking bans that give them the authority to do so. The business owner points out that his customers and employees chose to shop or work there with full knowledge of what hookah is—flavored tobacco. Still, officials at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department filed an injunction against this hookah shop and are trying to regulate tobacco consumption again.
Not all is lost in the fight against the Nanny State.
Earlier this week we mentioned an article in Bloomberg Businessweek that points out some regulatory rollbacks. Among some of these repeals are regulations that would prohibit children under 16 from using tanning beds in Idaho and laws in Florida that prohibit animal owners from using colored dyes to paint their pets. From our perspective, opposing and repealing these regulations is a victory against the Nanny State.
Included in the article is praise for Michigan’s repeal of an 81 year old fireworks law that prevented stores from selling bottle rockets and other explosive fireworks. Previously stores were limited to selling sparklers and roman candles which drove a lot of consumers to neighboring Ohio. Sparklers are great for kids, but we’d like to think responsible adults can safely celebrate our freedoms with a few bottle rockets in honor of the Declaration of Independence this 4th of July.