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Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:24 PM

'13 Legislature may set a record ... for dumb bills

Fans of dumb legislation shouldn’t get cocky, but the 2013 Nevada Legislature is on pace to set a record. A couple of weeks into the session, it’s produced a sackload of no-hope, no-brain, no-purpose bills.

Start with a repeat offender: State Sen. Don Gustavson of Sparks has introduced bills to reduce vehicle emissions testing and to loosen motorcycle helmet laws. He insists cutting smog testing wouldn’t allow more pollution, and that weakening helmet requirements won’t increase motorcycle deaths. This will be news to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that five times as many “no-helmet deaths” occur in states without strict laws.

The standard anti-helmet argument, of course, is “I have a right to decide….” I used it myself when I was 19 — but I was 19. Now, I’m smart enough to read the studies showing that helmet use reduced medical expenses and lost productivity by $3 billion in 2010, and that universal helmet laws would have saved another $1.4 billion. Whenever a rider scrambles his brain, everybody pays.

Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson jumped aboard with Senate Bill 161, redefining actionable construction defects as those that present “an unreasonable risk of injury to a person or property.” It’s not clear what that means (if the roof falls on you, you can sue, but if it just leaks, too bad?). Repubs, though, have been trying to make it harder to sue developers for years, so get ready to pay for your roof yourself.

Gustavson scores a hat trick with SB 137, eliminating the requirement for a permit to carry a concealed firearm. It won’t pass, but it may move him closer to getting his picture in the dictionary under “tone deaf.”

Or maybe not. Assemblywoman Michele Fiore of Sparks is pushing AB 143, allowing students to pack heat on college campuses. There’s the usual gun-nut stuff about self-defense, and the usual silence about problems. Interestingly, though, guns would be banned from any sporting event in a facility that seats 1,000 or more. So, you need a gun to be safe, but if you’re in a crowd where emotions run high and confrontations are frequent, you can’t have one.

Nevada doesn’t have a monopoly on lame legislators, though. In Kansas, the House Education Committee has introduced a bill mandating that teachers question the “scientific basis” of global warming. The bill, straight from the uberconservative American Legislative Exchange Council, declares climate change a “controversial topic,” and in a sense it is: Surveys show that only 97 percent of active climate scientists agree that it’s real.

And there’s always Oklahoma, where the wind goes sweeping through the brains: The Common Education Committee is considering a bill forbidding science teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers trying to debunk evolution. Science teachers.

Sponsor Gus Blackwell, a Republican (as is everybody mentioned here. Surprised?) who spent 20 years with the state Baptist General Convention, says his bill has nothing to do with religion but is aimed at “academic freedom.” Eric Miekle of the National Center for Science Education says it’s a bad idea: “If every teacher, parent and school board can decide what to teach ... you’re going to have chaos.”

Chaos and handguns. How can it not end well?


Feel free to add to the list.

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Reply '13 Legislature may set a record ... for dumb bills (Original post)
Smilo Feb 2013 OP
Sekhmets Daughter Feb 2013 #1

Response to Smilo (Original post)

Sun Feb 24, 2013, 07:28 PM

1. And there’s always Oklahoma, where the wind goes sweeping through the brains:

Best line all day! Great read, thanks for posting.

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