Tag Archives: alabama

Regulation Roundup

Here’s a fresh batch of regulatory bloopers:

  • Flirting is illegal in Haddon, New Jersey. (see § 175-12)
  • It is illegal to play cards on the street in Madison, Iowa.
  • In Haverbill, Massachusetts, it is illegal for women to wrestle.
  • It is a felony for bears to wrestle in Alabama.
  • You may now sit outside year-round in Stratford, CT if you like.
  • Talk about attention to detail. Massachusetts state law requires gift certificates to be valid for at least 7 years.
  • In Florida, it is illegal to release 11 helium balloons per day. 10 is ok, though.
  • Adams County, CO requires all male massage parlor workers to wear white shirts and white pants. Transparent clothing is expressly forbidden.

Regulation of the Day 177: Single-Wide Trailers

In 1957, the town of Cordova, Alabama banned single-wide trailer homes. It was a cynical attempt to lower the local poverty rate by keeping poor people out of town. Mayor Jack Scott explains, “We’re trying to better Cordova[.] We’re trying to clean up Cordova and keep it clean. We’re trying to keep the property values up. We’re trying to get it to where people will want to build homes on these vacant lots.”

The recent spate of tornadoes in Alabama has left a number of Cordova residents homeless. Some people are interested in buying trailers to live in temporarily while they rebuild their houses. FEMA also has trailers available for people. But they’re single-wides, so they aren’t allowed in Cordova. The weird part is that the ordinance was mostly unenforced until the tornadoes came. Now the city is cracking down at precisely the time when people need trailers the most.

The citizenry is understandably upset about this regulation. But when over 200 people, many of them displaced, showed up at a townhall meeting, they ran into another regulation. Fire marshals only allowed 100 people to enter the National Guard Armory, where the meeting was held. After much complaining, they relented and allowed everyone in.

Hopefully they will also convince Mayor Scott to rescind the trailer ban. Cordova’s people need roofs over their head more than they need their mayor’s aesthetic vision.

Friday Regulation Roundup

Some of the stranger governmental goings-on I’ve dug up recently:

-Since 1960, it has been illegal to fly a kite in Schaumburg, Illinois.

-If you are a tree in need of help, the federal government has a Tree Assistance Program.

$18,881 of stimulus money spent on a single sign in Wyoming.

-Concerned about your fecundity? Consult the federal government’s Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee.

-Northern Arizona University spends $75,000 in stimulus funds to install electronic sensors to see if students skip class.  (hat tip to The Wall Street Journal‘s Kim Schatz)

-In Alabama, it is against the law to sell artificially colored potatoes.

-Need help with your math homework? Consult the government’s North American Numbering Council.

-In Yukon, Oklahoma, it is illegal for a patient to pull a dentist’s tooth.

Strange Laws in Alabama

Jacob Grier has a Regulation of the Day of his own about some bizarre beer laws in Alabama. Take a look.

Sen. Shelby Lifts Holds

Sen. Richard Shelby, who placed holds on over 70 of President Obama’s nominees, has lifted all but three of them. Politico reports:

A spokesman for the senator said Monday that with attention brought to these two concerns, the political maneuver had “accomplished” its goal and was no longer necessary.

Translation: “We were getting too much bad publicity.”

The three holds that Sen. Shelby is keeping in place have directly to do with the Alabama-based pork projects that he believes will make him look good to the Alabama voters he will be facing in November. So, in a way, nothing has changed.

This brings up a legitimate question: can earmarking abuse sometimes be an agent for smaller government?

Few, if any, of President Obama’s appointees will work to decrease the size and scope of government. Now that their path is cleared, they will probably do net harm to taxpayers. This is the nature of government workers, whether Republican or Democratic.

Sen. Shelby’s motive for blocking them is despicable: stealing from taxpayers to improve his re-election prospects. But one wonders if those same taxpayers would have been better off if Sen. Shelby had stuck to his guns.

Regulation of the Day 79: Auctioneers in Alabama

It is illegal to conduct an auction without a license in Alabama. Unlicensed auctioneers can be punished with fines of up to $500.

Applicants must pay nearly a thousand dollars for 85 hours of coursework. 8 additional hours are required every two years to keep the license.

It’s worth asking: Does this benefit anyone besides the people teaching the courses and the auctioneers who get to limit the amount of competition they have to face?