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Tell It Like It Is

Laws, Stupid Laws, and Lawmakers




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Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
Tell It Like It Is
January 27, 2011 | 1735 views | Post a comment

Harlingen, Texas, January 26, 2011: In the year 2011 we have more than 200 new federal laws to endure that did not even exist just months ago. When state laws, county laws and laws written specifically for cities, towns, and unincorporated areas are added to the mix there are so many laws in the United States that it is impossible to live without being in violation of some specific statute.

Did you know that in a ten-year period, starting in 2000, the United States Congress managed to write into the federal record 452 new crimes? That means hundreds of things, never before even thought to be illegal are now punishable under the law. It also raises the total of federal crimes to almost 4,500.

There are only two things that lawmaker’s feel they must do to gain the favor of voters back home. They must bring home loads of pork, or they must have their name attached to some new law. In most cases they try to do both...early and often.

We have so many laws in the United States that they are impossible to count. If you doubt that statement try out Google or your favorite search engine and see if you can find the answer. It is an impossible task. Those federal crimes mentioned above each have a goodly collection of laws attached to those specific crimes. Added to the mix are the state and local laws that are also written to cover punishment for crimes of a similar nature.

As the nation seeks an economical means of obtaining renewable energy there are experts who tell us Hemp is the best and the cheapest product for those purposes. However, 49 states have laws making it illegal to grow Hemp...or marijuana.

Right now two states are considering legislation that would make it a crime punishable by a $100 fine if you are caught texting or listening to your ipod while jogging. We all know the states are hurting for revenue, but this is really reaching for any lawmaker.

Here in Texas we have an abundance of goofy laws. Sadly, after many years they still have not been repealed.

In Galveston for example it is against the law to drive a car down Broadway before noon on any Sunday. In the same city sitting on the sidewalk will bring you a fine of $500. It is also against the law in Galveston to land an airplane on the beach.

In Austin you can’t carry wire cutters in your pocket and in El Paso, it is still the law that “all churches, stores, markets, banks, railroad depots and saloons must provide spittoons of the kind and number to contain all expectorations into them.”

One very important Texas law states that “When two trains meet each other at a railroad crossing, each shall come to a full stop, and neither shall proceed until the other has gone.” It also remains a state law that it is illegal to milk another person’s cow and people are forbidden from shooting buffalo from the second story of any hotel.

You can get in serious trouble in San Antonio, if you are caught urinating on the Alamo, Obnoxious odors may not be emitted in any Port Arthur elevator under penalty of law. In Temple you can’t ride your horse in a saloon and it is still the law in that town for cattle thieves to be hung on the spot.

But Texas lawmakers are not alone in making outlandish or out and out stupid laws. In Idaho, for example, it is a crime to ride a merry-g-round on Sunday. In Florida women can be fined for falling asleep under hair dryers and in Hawaii it is still on the books that you can be fined if you don’t own a boat.

Some lawmaker decided it was a crime to put ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas and in Maine you will be violating the law if you step out of an airplane when it is in flight. You folks in Maryland should also watch your language. It is a crime to swear inside the city limits of Baltimore.

In Wisconsin it is against the law to serve margarine instead of butter in any eating establishment. The only way margarine can be legally served is for a customer to specifically order that product.

All of you folks in North Carolina please pay attention. Good citizens should watch closely for violators and those who own elephants heed this warning. It is against the law in your state to use pachyderms to plow your fields.

The best law for lazy students is one found in West Virginia. In that state no children may attend school if their breath smells of wild onions.

All of you single guys in Missouri are really in trouble. Since 1820 the law in that state reads that all unmarried men between the ages of 20 and 50 will be taxed $1.00 a year.

It is realized that in a nation of civilized beings laws must govern us. However, one of our national failings is that once a law is passed and becomes ingrained within the legal system, it is seldom removed from the public record. Perhaps we need a “new” law. For every law that is passed and becomes operational, it should be the law that ten old laws be ended.

Semper Fidelis
 
« Previous Blog Entry (January 16, 2011)
 


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