Alex McRae

Legal briefs

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia and what became the greatest nation on earth was born.

We revere the founding fathers, mothers and “others” who established this nation, but it’s a good thing the old-timers have passed on. If they were alive today, those long-dead revolutionaries would be the first to take up arms and shoot voters for electing the legislative losers that run America today.

It’s ironic that July is also the month when hundreds of new state laws take effect across the country—laws that would leave Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Hancock scratching their heads.

Not that all new laws are bad. We rejoice that five-year olds don’t work in U.S. factories any more. One day the practice might be outlawed at Nike factories in Asia. But some of the new laws springing up across the fruited plain leave you shaking your head. And not in agreement.

Entries in the 2013 Stupid Law Hall of Dishonor are real doozies.

For example:

In North Carolina, it is now a felony to steal more than $1,000 worth of grease. My question: does the law concern axle grease, bacon grease or both? It matters.

In California, prison workers will no longer be allowed to have sex with inmates. This one shocked Golden Staters who thought it was already illegal. Or should be. 

But don’t worry. Cell block sexuality is not banished forever. Prison employees and inmates can still hook up during conjugal visits if they just get married, which is perfectly legal in the Golden State. Put a ring on THAT, Beyonce.

In holiday news, Illinois sex offenders are now prohibited from dressing like Santa or handing out candy at Halloween. There should be an adult version of this law that prohibits politicians from handing out goodies to lobbyists or voters.

As of July 1, any Maryland property owner who dared improve his premises by installing driveways, parking lots, sidewalks or other impervious surfaces, will pay a “rain tax.”

The funds will allegedly be spent to protect state waterways from stormwater runoff. I wonder if the state will tax itself for building roads that do the same thing on a grander scale? Don’t hold your breath. 

Another new Maryland law establishes a task force to study whether or not schools should open before Labor Day. Hopefully, the study will also examine the cultural impact of wearing white shoes after Labor Day.

Colorado made big news last year when it legalized the sale and use of marijuana and made “Rocky Mountain High” one of two official state songs. Regulations followed. Some are really radical, dude. 

First, to make sure Colorado’s “munchie” industry is not adversely affected, dope stores will not be permitted to sell snacks or drinks, alcoholic or otherwise. Better yet, marijuana stores can’t sell tobacco. Score one for public health.

Right here at home, a new Georgia law establishes a “readiness program” for the unemployed. My guess is, they are “ready” for a job. Hopefully, this helps.

Speaking of dumb laws, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg made headlines last year when he forced through a city-wide ban on super-sized soft drinks and huge helpings of junk food.

Mississippi lawmakers did just the opposite. In the Magnolia State it is now against the law to limit the size of soft drinks, discourage the sale of junk food or force restaurants to post nutrition information.

Obesity may still be a problem in Mississippi, but any law telling the government to mind its own business is one our founding fathers would applaud. Me, too.

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