Tag Archives: maine

Regulation Roundup

Here’s a fresh batch of regulatory bloopers:

  • In Michigan, it is legal to kill ducks during hunting season, but not to scare them.
  • In Pateros, Washington, it is illegal for dogs to be nuisances.
  • Massage parlors are illegal in well-named Horneytown, North Carolina.
  • In Salem, West Virginia, it is illegal to eat candy if you’re going to church in the next 90 minutes.
  • In Maine, it is illegal to walk on any street with untied shoelaces.
  • In New Britain, Connecticut, fire trucks on their way to a fire may not go faster than 25 mph.
  • In Brooklyn, New York, it is against the law for horses to sleep in bathtubs.
  • In South Dakota, it is illegal to fall asleep inside a cheese factory.
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Regulation of the Day 163: Switchblades

Switchblades are illegal. But Maine state representative Sheryl Briggs would like to end her state’s switchblade ban – but only for people with one arm.

One of her constituents is Paul Dumas, Jr., who lost an arm as a teenager. Because switchblades are spring-loaded, they can be opened with one hand. A retractable knife without a switchblade’s springs requires two hands to open.

That’s fine for most people. But it puts Dumas at a disadvantage. As he told the Associated Press, “I’m tired of opening knives with my teeth.”

Switchblade liberalization makes sense. For one, it would allow people like Dumas to live with a little more dignity.

For another, switchblade bans don’t even make sense. The federal ban was enacted in 1958, after an irrational moral panic involving West Side Story. Most states also have switchblade bans on the books. There was not an epidemic of switchblade violence at the time.

To this day, some shady people will ignore the ban and own switchblades; prohibition doesn’t work. But switchblade violence remains rare, depite most of the law-abiding population respecting the ban and being more vulnerable as a result.

Regulation of the Day 96: Health Warnings on Cell Phones

The state of Maine and the city of San Francisco are considering requiring warning labels for cell phones.

Perhaps some warning labels are in order. After all, few things are more annoying than people SPEAKING AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE INTO THEIR PHONE ABOUT WHAT’S FOR DINNER when a normal tone of voice will do.

But these warning labels have nothing to do with letting people know that their phones can make them look like jackasses.

No, the labels warn the credulous that their phones emit electromagnetic radiation. Otherwise known as light waves. Some people believe that this causes brain cancer.

Brain atrophy, maybe. But cancer? Most studies have found no correlation, let alone causation.

Something else to consider: the demographic group far and away most prone to brain cancer is also far and away the least likely to use cell phones – the elderly.

Hmm.