It’s been said one of the worst phrases in the English language is, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
That one-liner gets tossed around, even by politicians themselves, as a way to push for less government intrusion. For a country that prides itself on limited government, it’s amazing how government grows like a beanstalk and seldom shrinks.
The Tennessee General Assembly is prepared to consider some 3,000 bills this legislative session. Yes, that’s potentially 3,000 new Tennessee state laws.
Of course only a fraction of those bills will pass, and many will never make it out of committee, but when you think about it, that number is staggering. Each one of those bills has a sponsor and it stands to reason that sponsor believes the bill, if passed, will somehow make life in Tennessee better. If the sponsor doesn’t believe that, why file it?
A very quick glance shows over 80 of the bills are related to alcohol. Eight pertain to highway signs. There are 20 bills related to sports, and nine related to barbers.
For argument’s sake, if all the 3,000 or so bills that have been introduced were to pass, it would average out to 8.2 new state laws per day for the entire year. Clearly, we don’t need 8.2 new laws a day.
In recent years, the only new state law that comes to mind of significant value is the distracted driving law, which went into effect July 1, 2019. The law was enacted because Tennessee had roughly five times the national average of traffic fatalities due to distracted driving.
When you have over 400 deaths and more than 17,000 accidents a year due to distracted driving, I say a new law was in order. So good job to state officials for banning handheld cellphone usage for drivers. Hopefully it’s a law which has saved lives and will continue to do so.
As for this legislative session, I think the state should vote to allow medical marijuana. My opinion on this has changed in the last 3-4 years.
I used to be firmly against it, but now I see no reason to continue my opposition. If it will help people dealing with medical issues, then what’s the holdup?
To take it one step further, I think all forms of marijuana should be legalized in Tennessee. My reason for this is not because I believe people should be out smoking pot.
My reason is wholly because I don’t think there should be anyone locked up and sitting in a jail cell because of marijuana possession. With everything we have going on in America today, it seems a very poor use of tax dollars, and unfair to the person incarcerated, to throw someone in jail for marijuana.
That leaves roughly 2,999 state laws left to consider this session.
If we're looking for items to remove from the agenda, how about a measure to require barbers and hair stylists to take a course on domestic violence, which is HB0042. Something tells me we could take all the state laws which have been filed this year and work it down to about a dozen which are worthwhile.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.