Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shouldn't affect Garry Trudeau

While I am generally in favor of giving greater power to state legislatures and less power to the federal government, I am under no illusion that it will lead to better law-making. All legislatures are capable of incredibly stupid acts. But the beauty of federalism is that every state is free to be incredibly stupid in its own way. Can you imagine an America where we all had to abide by Oregon's Communist gas-pumping laws?

Idaho's legislative stupidity has ranged from a Basque homeland resolution that sparked an international incident (sponsored by Boise's current mayor) to a proposed bill that would have allowed for the instantaneous firing of any teacher who said it was OK to be gay. (The AG's office said it was "virtually certain that the bill would be the subject of protracted and costly litigation. Oh, really?)

Iowa is getting into the act with House Bill 229, a bill which would prohibit distribution of campaign materials that contain cartoons or photographs of opposing candidates, or from discussing prior votes of the candidate on bills that passed with the approval of the other party. Says the bill:
"It is not the intent of the general assembly to lessen political debate that furthers the ability of the public to understand the issues and positions of candidates for public office."
Of course not: and such an act could never be discriminatorily enforced to give the majority party an advantage in elections, I'm sure.

And then there's Connecticut's "Henry VIII Act," which would replace the temporal powers of Catholic bishops with boards of directors.

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