Tuesday, May 3, 2011

This Day in Absurd California Nanny-Statism

Today brings us two silly stories from the realm of absurd regulation of personal choice. Just in case you were wondering if lawmakers in our state were too distracted by their disastrous fiscal policies to interfere with your life in some arbitrary way.

First, the state Senate's Business and Professions Committee has just approved a bill to declare that 18 is the Bronze Age in California; that's right, if the bill becomes law, Californians under 18 will be banned from using indoor tanning services. SB476 still needs to get through the Appropriations Committee before it goes to the full Senate. Its sponsor, Torrance Democrat Ted Lieu, is pushing it out of concerns over cancer risk: "The damage to your skin is cumulative. The more exposure to tanning beds you have early in life, the worse it will be for you in later life". Which does beg the obvious question: since we take risks with our health in almost everything we do each day, shouldn't the decision to have orange skin be left up to the individual? To quote LA tanning salon owner Paul Walker's response to the bill, "We are grown-ups and don't need people telling us how much soda to drink or tanning to get, and then taxing us to implement all that".

Next, the Orange County Register reports that the Laguna Beach City Council is taking a break from giving irresponsible pensions to lifeguards to tackle a far more serious problem: street lights. The motion comes as a response to hillside residents upset that the lights from tiny downtown Laguna disturb their views of the night sky; according to these residents, the night sky is a natural resource, and they want the city to protect it as such. The Council will vote tonight on whether to require all street lights to be hooded, shielded, and pointed downward. To illustrate how silly this is, the Register story uses a photo of downtown Phoenix to illustrate light pollution.


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