Recent local laws...
Mood: hungry
Posted on 2007-02-12 11:51:00
Tags: dodgeball taxes snow poll
Words: 316

I heard about two proposed laws around here that I thought were interesting. One, in New York, would ban using electronic devices (such as iPods) while crossing the street (in response to the death of two such pedestrians) - the penalty would be a $100 fine. The other, in New Jersey (and proposed in Washington DC as well), would ban smoking in a car with children in it.

In my opinion, the New York law is way beyond the bounds of what the law should cover. It's common sense that you should pay attention while crossing the street - why not make it illegal not to look both ways?

The New Jersey one is a lot tougher...protecting children from secondhand smoke versus legislating what you can do in your car. I voted "No", but I could probably be convinced to vote "Yes". Maybe.

Anyway, I was just interested in what y'all thought.

Dodgeball was fun this weekend, except for getting the glasses knocked off of my face (they were OK, albeit a little more bent than before...I really need to get new frames at some point!) and running into a teammate which left my left cheek a bit tender. And this was in the match where the other team didn't have enough players! (so we lent them some of ours and played for fun)

There's supposed to be a big storm coming through tonight and tomorrow. Winter weather advisories and such. Hoping we get the day off!

Finally got around to doing my taxes this weekend - it was less painful than I thought and I ended up with a smallish refund. The state taxes thing was new, but you can do them online in a mostly painless manner. State taxes are high, though, especially considering that sales tax here is 5%, which doesn't seem like that much less than 8.25%. I guess property taxes are significantly lower, too?


Comment from omega697:

We see eye to eye on the iPods issue. Let natural selection take its course.

As for smoking, I don't even think you should take kids to church, so I definitely don't think you should expose them to toxic smoke. I mean, you can't beat your kids, and that won't give them cancer.

Comment from wildrice13:

Yes! Exactly. Now, if somehow these people had ended up inadvertently killing someone OTHER than themselves, that'd be a different matter. But if you're stupid enough to use "electronic devices" loud enough or otherwise to the point that you become oblivious of the world around you... well, that's Darwin RIGHT THERE.

Comment from cifarelli:

Agreed on the iPods.

On the smoking in a car with children in it....I'd only vote for that if they also outlaw all other smoking in the presence of children, including in one's own home. I agree that smoking is bad for children (everyone, actually) and that they shouldn't be exposed to it, but as long as parents are allowed to make the decision to smoke around their children in their private spaces, they should be allowed to smoke in their vehicle as that is also a private space.

Comment from wildrice13:

The (slight?) difference being that smoke in a car becomes more concentrated, unless the windows are all rolled down anyway. And it's plenty cold in Jersey for enough of the year (and they have enough fast roads...) that windows would often be rolled most of the way up. Bad news.

Comment from tehfanboi:

I voted yes on both.
On New York: While it would be nice to think it is Darwin taking its toll, you can impact other people in a very dangerous way. For example a moron darts in traffic while blasting his eardrums with the latest Black Eyed Pease track. I slam on my brakes to stop from hitting him, the car behind me hits me. Now I've got the potential for whiplash because the alternative is me being charged with potential vehicular manslaughter. Lets say the guy behind me swerves to prevent hitting me and ends up going on a sidewalk potentially hitting other pedestrians. New York city is a very crowded place, and if you can't hit pause, cross the street and then resume, maybe you shouldn't be wearing the earplugs to begin with.

On New Jersey: A car is a very small place, even the ford explorer. I think subjecting kids to concentrated second hand smoke is endangering the child's health. Parents should be expected to provide reasonable precautions to protect a child's health, and subjecting them to concentrated second hand smoke is not following that guidelines. I'm all for people having the right to smoke, but not in ways that force otehrs to breathe smoke. and children can't refuse to be in a car with their parents.

Comment from gregstoll:

If you do hit pause but leave the earplugs in your ear, how are the police supposed to tell the difference? I have a feeling that, if enacted, this will be another one of those laws that isn't really enforced, which "sets a bad example".

Comment from taesmar:

Teh Fanboi - you are wrong! I don't think you realize how often you cross the street in NY. You could NEVER take a walk or a jog listening to music if that law were enacted - it would be a constant hassle to start/stop the recorder. Remember, people exercise right on the streets. They don't have a choice.

You don't get in your car to go somewhere - you take a 10 minute walk. What if the law said that you couldn't listen to music in your car when you're crossing an intersection? Think of it that way.

As for the smoking in the car with children - those people should be taken out and shot. Cars have poor ventilation. I don't even like it when people fart in the car.

Comment from amorphousplasma:

On law 1: Superfluous. It is not the responsibility of the state, unfortunately, to keep people from being stupid. Besides, some people can listen to their ipods, etc., and remain cognizant of their surroundings.

On law 2: In this case, the action of the smoker is directly damaging to someone other than the smoker. And there's no way to inhale secondhand smoke without it being damaging.

Comment from onefishclappin:

I just feel sorry for the poor people driving the cars which inadvertantly hit the dumbass who steps in front of them. Still, we can't outlaw stupidity and trying to micromanage ways people are stupid isn't reasonable.

And, having been a kid in a car with an adult smoking and having no way to avoid it (asking them to stop, trying to unroll a window and having it declare "too loud", etc), I symathize with the kids. Especially those so young as to have no control. Idealy, I think smoking should be illegal (on the basis that we outlaw so many other things which do less harm to people) but the legacy is there, so I doubt it will happen.

And on a related note, Texas recently changed foster care regulations such that foster parents can't smoke in the house or car or in front of foster kids. Woohoo!

Comment from anonymous:

A giant "WTF?!" appeared above my head when I saw this mentioned on CNN this morning. I don't know if you've seen this, but this is on the topic of stupid people fighting for stupid politics:

Initiative 957 would "require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled."

This group ( is pushing for if people can't or don't want to have children, you can't stay married.

Again... WTF?!

Comment from gregstoll:

They're just making a point. In the state supreme court case that upheld the Defense of Marriage Act (i.e. gays can't marry), they said there was a "legitimate state interest" in limiting marriage to couple who could have children together. So they're pointing out that this is somewhat absurd by proposing a law to codify this.

Obviously it's not going to pass, and I assume they don't really want it to anyway.

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