Tag Archives: illinois

Regulation of the Day 207: Cold Medicine

First drain cleaner, now cold medicine. These are lousy times for Illinoisians with sluggish drains and runny noses. Just as they are now required to present valid ID when buying drain cleaner, the people of Illinois have had to do the same thing since 2009 when buying cold medicine. But according to a new bill signed into law Friday, “Now stores will transmit those records electronically to state police. The information sent to authorities will include the customer’s name and address.”

No person may buy “more than 7.5 grams of pseudoephedrine in 30 days – or more than a month’s supply of 24-hour Claritin-D for a single person.” Stores must refuse such sales.

Everyone catches a cold now and then. Which means almost everyone buys cold medicine now and then. Which means this database will basically have Illinois’ entire 13-million strong population within a year or two. This is a rather wide net.

The goal is to put a damper on methamphetamine production. The regulation is easy to evade, though. Instead of one person buying large amounts of medicine, several people can buy smaller amounts. Or our drug-addled friends can take a short drive to Indiana, Wisconsin, or another border state. Or they could make meth from different ingredients. Or they could switch to a different drug entirely. The total net impact on drug production and consumption is likely to be almost precisely zero. The legislature clearly didn’t think this one through; prohibition doesn’t work.

This regulation is something else besides ineffective. It also reveals an ugly attitude that no state should have towards its people, that everyone is a suspect. Talk about adding insult to illness.


Regulation of the Day 206: Buying Drain Cleaner

If you have a sluggish drain and you live in Illinois, the government wants to keep track of you. As one of the 40,000 new laws across the country that took effect on January 1, the state of Illinois now requires consumers to show valid ID to buy drain cleaner. That’s not all:

Merchants must then log the buyer’s name, address, date and time of the purchase, the product and the product’s brand and net weight.

The bill was passed in response to a Taliban-style acid attack on two Chicago women. It is also an anti-drug law; drain cleaner can be used to make methamphetamine. It is unclear how showing ID and putting pen to paper would physically prevent either acid attacks or drug use.

For the Children

The people of Illinois don’t expect their government to be corrupt; they insist on it. That’s why nary an eyebrow was raised when it recently came out that two lobbyists for the Illinois Federation of Teachers were able to qualify for generous teachers’ pensions by working as substitute teachers for one day.

One man could receive up to $3.8 million if he lives to age 84. This is in addition to the 401(k) the union gives him as an employee. The Chicago Tribune reports:

Preckwinkle’s one day of subbing qualified him to become a participant in the state teachers pension fund, allowing him to pick up 16 years of previous union work and nearly five more years since he joined. He’s 59, and at age 60 he’ll be eligible for a state pension based on the four-highest consecutive years of his last 10 years of work.

His paycheck fluctuates as a union lobbyist, but pension records show his earnings in the last school year were at least $245,000. Based on his salary history so far, he could earn a pension of about $108,000 a year, more than double what the average teacher receives.

Nationwide spending on K-12 education is around $13,000 per child per year. Not all of that spending is actually for the children, contrary to popular rhetoric. Fortunately, it appears only two people took advantage of this scheme. But the real kicker is that one of the two actually helped write the legislation that made it possible.

Regulation of the Day 190: How to Behave While in a Forest

Since time immemorial, Cook County, Illinois has had very strict personal conduct regulations for its forests. Among other things, it has been illegal to:

  • Hang out (only applies to felons)
  • Tell fortunes
  • Have your fly open
  • Juggle
  • Do a somersault
  • Park illegally (redundant?)
  • Perform acrobatic stunts

All those clandestine activities are now legal. Those laws are at least 100 years old, and were mainly intended to prevent traveling circuses and carnivals from setting up shop in the forests surrounding Chicago. No citations for any of these offenses have been issued within living memory.

That’s why Cook County’s forest preserve took the hygienic step of repealing the regulations. If a rule isn’t going to be enforced, or if it is clearly a relic of the horse-and-buggy era, it shouldn’t be on the books. Legislators around the country at all levels of government would do well to follow the example that Cook County’s forest preserve has set. It’s the regulatory version of spring cleaning.

Regulation of the Day 185: How to Wear Pants

Collinsville, Illinois officials know that when you look good, you feel good. That’s why they are now regulating the height at which people shall wear their pants. Some young people these days prefer to wear their pants somewhat low. This fashion trend is no doubt a direct reaction against World War II-era fashion, when men wore their pants much higher.

According to the new dress code regulations, Collinsville residents must not wear their pants more than three to four inches below the waist. First-time offenders get a $100 fine. A second offense nets a $300 fine and 40 hours of community service. There is no corresponding regulation for wearing pants super-high.

Collinsville regulators do not unanimously favor the new rules. Bob Knable, the city manager, has apparently heard of opportunity costs. Police forces only have so much time and resources. He points out that time officers spend eyeing peoples’ pants is time not spent on more serious matters.

Halloween Roundup

Regulators kept themselves plenty busy for yesterday’s holiday. Highlights:

Silly string is forbidden in Hollywood on Halloween. Revellers are warned by street signs featuring not one, but two sets of unnecessary quotation marks (pictured above). The punishment is a $1,000 maximum fine and up to six months in jail. The punishment is the same as the maximum for a DUI, less a six-month driver’s license suspension.

Across the country in Zebulon, North Carolina, a 20-year old man was arrested for “wearing a mask or hood in public” on Halloween. The 1953 ordinance was anti-Ku Klux Klan measure. Ironically, yesterday’s arrestee is black. His bond is set at $7,500.

And in the Midwest, Belleville, Illinois has made it illegal for anyone over age 12 to go trick-or-treating.

Friday Regulation Roundup

Postal Service pays incompetent employees over $20 per hour to not work. They can’t be fired because of union rules. So they come to the office and take naps, play cards, and fill out coloring books. And get paid for it.

-It is apparently against regulations to sell burgers and porn together without a permit.

NSF funds research to identify star soccer players.

Illinois high school administrator had $885,327 salary; retires with $601,978 annual taxpayer-funded pension. Total value of the pension? More than $26 million. Watch your back, Greece. America is right behind you.

-Ever want to have a web chat with the federal government about combustible dust? Here’s your chance.

Arizona spends $1,250,000 to save 250 squirrels. That’s $5,000 per squirrel.

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.