By Mike Kole Libertarian Writersí Bureau http://www.writersbureau.org
I always have to remember to take a deep breath when examining laws being proposed by our grand Legislature. I detest most of new legislation on table, but have to forgive our representatives in House and Senate for it. After all, writing laws is what a Legislature does, and if they donít write enough laws, it can begin to look like theyíve been loafing.
Call me strange, but I rather prefer a Legislature that goofs off and under produces new laws. Iím convinced we have enough of them already, and agree with Mark Twain, who famously said that no manís life, liberty, or property is safe while Legislature is in session.
Mainly, that is because no lawmaker wants to look like a slacker, especially so soon after an election. Itís bad form. As a result, we get some hideous proposals that I would chalk up as an effort to hide behind some broad good intention while looking meaningful, or at least busy.
House Bill 1508 is a textbook case as one such proposal.
Representative Vanessa Summers, an Indianapolis Democrat, has introduced legislation that would prohibit use of cell phones, making exceptions for hands-free devices and for emergency use. The proposed fine for violations of law would be up to $25.
The intent is to make our streets a little less hazardous. We have all groused at idiot guilty of driving while in conversation that cut us off or made us miss a light, and we have cursed driver and his cell phone. Summersí proposal takes its cue from similar laws passed in New York and District of Columbia. As everyone knows, these cities now have safest streets in world.
This law is rife with problems, from practical application to higher concerns of individual liberty.
I know four friends, right off top of my head, who would gladly pay up to $25, as a cost of doing business. They think this highly of each and every one of their calls. $25 is no kind of deterrent for these people.
What is emergency use? I define emergency use of a cell phone as a frantic call to a friend because I suddenly had two tickets offered to me for a Coltsí playoff game, and I have to accept within five minutes, or tickets will be passed on to a co-worker. My wife defines it as having found a deal on furniture, and sheís on her way home so I can look at fabric swatches. Iím betting that this is not what Representative has in mind. Some revisions will be in order.