Posts Tagged ‘Legislation’

Emotional Legislation

February 19, 2013

When rules, regulations, or laws are driven by emotions or idealism, very little thought is given to consequences. An emotional rush to enact legislation always results in something different than what was intended, causing more problems.

Denver is facing unintended consequences from Colorado’s recent Amendment 64 that legalized marijuana and is now considering opting out of that amendment. Some city council members say voters intended only to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, not to have pot stores in their neighborhoods. The police chief says there are a lot of safety issues involved and that crimes, such as burglaries, have increased since Amendment 64 passed. Imagine that.

The marijuana issue has become an emotional and political football, confusing legalization with decriminalization. That confusion, a deliberate tactic on the part of marijuana advocates, helped get Amendment 64 passed. Buyer’s remorse is already setting in, but it could have been prevented had voters and legislators been more observant and less emotional.

They should have looked at Los Angeles where marijuana dispensaries now outnumber Starbucks. California has been trying, and failing, to regulate medicinal marijuana which has been legal in the state since 1996. This out-of-control situation provides a lesson for other states, but emotional, feel-good legislation is deaf, dumb, and blind.

Current emotions are running high on gun control, with wingnuts on both sides of the aisle taking untenable stances and refusing compromise. The same can be said concerning comprehensive immigration reform where “reform” has become synonymous with “amnesty”, making the issue impossible to discuss rationally.

We are currently experiencing many negative, unintended consequences from Obamacare, an emotionally charged bill forced through Congress by an idealistic president. This, too, was legislated while ignoring lessons from European countries struggling to sustain liberal health care policies. Good intentions need rational analysis, not knee-jerk reactions.

President Obama’s fomenting of class warfare along with his myopic focus on social issues uses emotions for political gain. As long as emotions rule politics, resulting legislation will just be another burden passed onto the next generation. It is our responsibility to think before acting and elect leaders who do the same.

David J. Hentosh

Going to the Dogs

March 1, 2010

Proposals to overhaul dog laws being considered in England and Wales include a costly and mandatory competence test for dog owners to prove they can handle their pet (http://tinyurl.com/yknafw8). Owners would also be forced to buy insurance in case their dog attacks someone and have a microchip with owner information inserted into their dog.

The proposals being considered are a result of an increase in both attacks by dogs and ownership of ‘status’ dogs that intimidate or threaten others. It is expected that there will be heavy resistance to these laws on the basis that responsible owners of all types of dogs would end up paying the costs, thereby, being penalized, while irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs would just ignore the laws.

One can expect PETA members to get into the fray and find themselves in a conundrum over these laws. On the one hand they will certainly applaud laws that require responsible ownership of any animal. On the other hand, they have argued in the past that no one can really “own” a dog and forcing a dog to have a microchip implanted without consent infringes on the dog’s rights.

If it is found that a competence test for dog ownership is appropriate, perhaps it will spark a cry for a competence test before allowing couples to have children. After all, any woman (along with the father) can get pregnant and have a baby at any time without proving to be responsible enough to bring a child into the world. Insurance is not always mandatory for that child and proof of ability to feed, clothe and shelter that child is not legislated beforehand.

In fact, dogs are often treated much better than children in the same family. If, indeed, responsibility can be legislatively mandated, responsibility for children should be enforced before making dogs an overly-protected species with more rights than children often have. Perhaps the widely held notion that society is going to the dogs is, unfortunately, slowly becoming literally correct.

David J. Hentosh