Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dumb Delegate Tricks

Oh, boy, it's that time of year again in Charleston. The chill is fading from the air, the downtown will be awash with basketball fans, and the Legislature is in session. Which can mean only one thing - a stream of asinine new laws get proposed! And have we got a couple of doozies already.

First up is a bill to attack the plastic menace that is ruining our lives - Barbie:

Democrat Jeff Eldridge introduced a bill in the House of Delegates on Tuesday that would ban the sale of Barbie dolls - and 'other dolls that influence girls to be beautiful' - in West Virginia.

Eldridge said the dolls have encouraged girls to value their physical appearance more than their education and intelligence.
I appreciate Eldridge's point of view, but it's hardly the basis for a legal prohibition. Education, parenting, and social pressure make more sense. Of course, the bill provides no punishment for violating the ban, so it's hard to see if there's any more to this than just a legislative cry of attention.

Second, and more serious, but equally bad, is a bill from a delegate from the Eastern Panhandle that would require folks who receive public assistance to be randomly drug tested. Of course, such a law would run headlong into the Fourth Amendment (the Sixth Circuit struck down a Michigan attempt to do the same). But beyond that, it's getting not just dissent but derision from one other Delegate:
In a sharply worded rebuke Tuesday, a colleague of Delegate Craig Blair suggested that he should undergo drug testing for proposing 'inane' legislation to mandate drug tests for recipients of welfare, food stamps, or other public assistance.

'I can only assume someone stole your stationary and then submitted the most ridiculous bill of the 2009 session under your name and without your knowledge,' Delegate Sally Susman, D-Raleigh, states in the letter she hand-delivered to the Berkeley County Republican on Tuesday.

'Your latest legislative proposal is such staggering nonsense, I was surprised the members of your own party did not laugh you out of the House of Delegates,' her letter continues.
Ah, good ol' fashioned local politics. How many days are left in the session?

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