Tag Archives: texas

Regulation Roundup

Some of the stranger goings-on in the world of regulation:

Starting July 1, it will be illegal to use someone else’s Netflix password in Tennessee, even with their permission.

Buffalo, New York fines 400 citizens over  the length of their lawns. Record rains during the month of May meant record grass growth, which can be difficult for residents to keep in check.

-In the wake of a court decision making it illegal to dance inside the Jefferson Memorial, activists are holding a dance party this weekend. Leonard Pitts has a good column explaining what the kerfuffle is about.

Texas is continuing its fight against TSA pat-downs. The legislature recently introduced a bill that would treat the pat-downs as sexual harassment, punishable by a $4,000 fine and a year in jail. It was withdrawn after the TSA threatened to ground all outbound flights from Texas. Looks like lawmakers want to reintroduce the bill in an upcoming special session. Utah is considering similar legislation.

The FCC would like you to pay more for Internet telephony. Traditional landline-based networks have been lobbying the FCC on this issue for some time; now their anti-competitive efforts are bearing fruit.


Regulation Roundup

Some of the zanier happenings in the world of regulation:

The Texas legislature was poised to pass a bill classifying the TSA’s pat-downs as misdemeanor sexual harassment – until the TSA threatened to ground all flights out of the state. The agency claimed it would be unable to guarantee passenger safety without the pat-downs. The legislature promptly backed down.

Denmark has banned Marmite, a paste-like substance made from brewer’s yeast that is popular in Britain. The reason for the ban is that the paste has added vitamins and minerals. In Denmark, that’s a no-no.

Don’t sell rabbits without a license. The Dollarhite family of Nixa, Missouri, found that out the hard way. The federal government has fined them over $90,000 for breeding rabbits and selling them to pet stores.

Members of Congress have unusual investment acumen. A new paper finds that “A portfolio that mimics the purchases of House Members beats the market by 55 basis points per month (approximately 6% annually).” The study covers the period from 1985 to 2001. The subsidies, tax breaks, and other forms of corporate welfare that Congress indulges in couldn’t possibly have anything to do with their personal investment decisions, could it?

Regulation of the Day 174: Lying about the Size of the Fish You Caught

If you live in Texas, look over your shoulder before you tell a tall tale about your last fishing trip. The state legislature there just voted to make lying about the size of your catches in fishing tournaments a class A misdemeanor. And if the prize money is over $10,000, you could spend up to ten years in jail as a convicted felon.

In 2009, an especially devious fisherman in the Bud Light Trails Big Bass Ray Hubbard tournament “put a one-pound lead weight inside the stomach of the 10.49-pound bass he had entered to win the grand prize, a $55,000 fishing boat,” according to the New York Times.

Fishing tournaments, just like other competitive sports, have their own rules. Violators are punished. The NFL reserves the right to fine and suspend players for misconduct. Major League Baseball hands out 50 and 100-game suspensions for players caught using steroids. Pete Rose was banned from baseball for life for betting on his team.

The tournament organizers foolishly couldn’t punish their own cheater because they didn’t have a rule for it. But submitting a leaden fish is a kind of fraud, especially when the prize is $55,000. And in fact, the man was charged with felony theft. He served 15 days in jail, was hit with a $3,000 fine, plus five years of probation. His fishing license was also taken away for five years.

That’s precisely why the bill on Governor Rick Perry’s desk is unnecessary. One, theft is already illegal. Two, if the Bud Light Trail tournaments are competently run, they now have specific rules and punishments for cheaters. Seems like a classic “do something” bill that doesn’t do much at all.

CEI Podcast for February 10, 2011: How Not to Stop Eminent Domain Abuse

Have a listen here.

Land Use and Transportation Policy Analyst Marc Scribner takes a close look at an eminent domain reform bill just passed by the Texas State Senate. As written, the bill would do little to actually solve the problem of government seizing private property from one private party and giving it to another private party with better political connections. Marc suggests some fixes and notes that many people are not fooled by this weak effort at reform.

12 Ridiculous Regulations

Business Insider has a list of 12 of America’s most ridiculous regulations. Many of them have been covered on this site. But some of them haven’t, including:

-In Texas, computer repair technicians are required to get a private investigator’s license.

-In Milwaukee, it is illegal to close a business without a license. Closing businesses must also pay a tax of $2 for every $1,000 of inventory intended to be sold in a going out of business sale.

Friday Regulation Roundup

$1.6 million in stimulus money to be used to irrigate a golf course in Texas.

-A new study by Susan Dudley and Melinda Warren finds that regulatory spending grew 31 percent under Bush. Regulatory staffing grew 42 percent.

-Selling shellfish to the Department of Veterans Affairs? There are regulations for that.

-It is illegal to possess pliers in the state of Texas.

-The federal government’s Integrated Nitrogen Committee is having a public teleconference on June 8.

-In Virginia, it is illegal to take a bath without a doctor’s permission.

-Government programs never die. One Cold War relic is the Federal Radiological Preparedness Coordinating Committee.

-The federal government’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is holding a public workshop June 14-15.

$300,000 of stimulus money to pay for floating toilets.

This Is an Actual Law

Texas state law states that “When two railroad trains meet at a crossing, each shall stop and neither shall proceed until the other has passed.”*

Sometimes, I think legislators are just messing with us.

*Robert Wayne Pelton, Loony Laws, p. 2.