I decided to try and tackle the daunting task of reading all 133 new Tennessee state laws that went into effect July 1.
I lost interest in about the time it takes professional eater Joey Chestnut to scarf down 25 hotdogs. It's not because I don't care about our state government. It's because most of these new laws are a waste of time.
One new law allows property owners to mark trees and posts with purple paint as a way to indicate no trespassing. Another law directs our public schools to warn parents of the dangers of the flu.
Yet another new law addresses requirements on the size and placement of steel traps used in taking wildlife. Still another allows juvenile offenders to be charged with unruly use of a telecommunications device.
These are just a few of the new laws which took effect this month. If those 133 aren't enough, there was another batch implemented just six month earlier on Jan. 1, 2017.
If you're keeping count, which the Associated Press is, Gov. Bill Haslam signed all 524 measures which crossed his desk this legislative session. For a Republican-led state that claims to be for less government intrusion, the actions of our lawmakers don't match their words.
On June 30, I doubt there was anyone out there thinking, "Gee, we need 133 new laws to take effect tomorrow. That will make Tennessee better."
I saw where a Nashville TV station published an online story titled "15 New Tennessee Laws You Should Know." The story, which was about 10 laws too long in itself, begs the following question: If there are only 15 laws we should know, why did 133 take effect July 1?
We could all live just fine without any of these new laws. But that can't happen because special interest groups, the NRA being chief among them, have to fight for more laws every year. If Tennessee continues on its current gun path, it will soon be required for all citizens to walk the streets with a loaded gun. Anyone caught outside their home without a loaded gun on their person will be subject to criminal charges.
In another new state law this year, residents are now allowed to use gun silencers under the Tennessee Hearing Protection Act. It was enacted for all those sportsmen who love to hunt, but who weren't doing so because the sound of gunfire was too loud on their ears. What silliness.
Several years ago, a measure was passed to limit the number of new laws a state representative can introduce each year to 15. That's a max of 15 laws for 99 state representatives for a total of 1,485. There's no limit for state senators.
Tennessee would have much better government if the state limited the number of new laws each year to 15. That's 15 total for all 132 lawmakers. That's 15 laws for the entire legislative session.
If Tennessee were to reach that proposed maximum each year, there would still be 150 new laws every decade. Even at that greatly reduced amount, do we need that many?
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.