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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stupid Bills Lawmakers Think Are A Good Idea

This year has been a busy one in terms of unbelievably outrageous and often bafflingly insular proposed bills. The GOP seems to have made it their mission to degrade women’s rights, but women are not the only targets. There are now proposed bills that earmark  child labor laws, evolution, open record laws, and officials that have been elected by citizens:

Senate Bill 222, introduced in Missouri by State Senator Jane Cunningham seeks to abolish child labor laws altogether in that state. Some of the requirements are: the elimination of the restriction on the number of hours or when a child is allowed to work, doing away with the authority of the state Labor Division to inspect records on child employees,  eliminating the need for work permits, putting an end to the age requirement for child labor, allowing children to work in any industry and not providing a minimum wage.

Cunningham’s reasoning for this bill is that child labor laws imply “that government can make better decisions than a parent.” I’m sure her desire for such a bill totally has nothing to do with how much cheap labor it could provide for businesses. If no records are kept, then not only will inspectors not be able to monitor whether the children are being paid properly, but they will also be kept from examining whether working conditions are safe for them or not.

It looks like somebody is nostalgic for the good ol’ days when little children gave up school to slave away for hours in sewing mills only to lose their fingers to dangerous machinery.

Florida’s Senate Bill 1854 specifies that “Members of the instructional staff of the public schools… shall teach efficiently and faithfully… the following: a thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.” At first glance this provision does not seem all that questionable. However, the man behind the law is Republican Senator Stephen R. Wise, who has unabashedly claimed he is anti-evolution, and that he wants to have “intelligent design” taught at educational institutions.

The proposed bill is just an extra sneaky method of accomplishing this goal. His claim is that knowledge about creation myths would encourage “critical thinking.” If that’s the case, then I’m advocating that students learn of the Giant Spaghetti Monster and his gloriously gigantic meatballs.

In Utah House Bill 477 was signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert. This controversial law amends the state’s open records law to give the government more privacy. As an alteration of the Utah Government Records Access and Management Act, the bill requires that “voice mails, instant messages, video chats, and text messages are not records subject to the act, with some exceptions.”

As it turns out, there was enough controversy over this obvious cocoon of unanswerability for elected public representatives that the bill was recalled. It passed the Senate and the House, but due to the public not being too big a fan of it, the recall occurred on Monday.

In Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget is expected to cut aid to cities and towns so drastically that many municipalities are expected to fall into serious financial issues. Gov. Snyder currently advocates a bill that would provide him and his administration the power to declare any town or school district to be in a “financial emergency.” If a town earns such a status, then his administration is allowed to implement an individual to be in charge of that town.

This financial emergency manager would be bestowed with the power to “reject, modify, or terminate the terms of an existing contract,” and this includes any collective bargaining agreements. Basically, this one individual has the power to dispossess the town of union rights. But that isn’t even the kicker. The emergency manager also has the power to suspend or dismiss elected officials.

What does this imply? If you are a denizen of Michigan, it does not matter who you elected because this one person can dismiss your representatives at will. The emergency manager also has the power to “disincorporate or dissolve the municipal government” without any regard to what its citizens wish.


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