Tag Archives: your papers please

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.

Regulation of the Day 144: Underage Senior Citizens

Bob Russ is 66 years old. Last weekend, he and his wife went to the Oregon Brewer’s Festival in Portland. Or rather, they tried to. He was denied entry. The reason? He was unable to prove that he was over 21 years old. At 66, Mr. Russ is Medicare-eligible.

In a letter to the Oregonian, he writes that “At two entry gates, staff told us the OLCC [Oregon Liquor Control Commission] requires a current photo ID for large alcoholic events, period.”

In addition to an apology, Mr. Russ asks for “the use of common sense by the OLCC and the city of Portland that will prevent entering into festival permit agreements that deny entry to unsuspecting “underage” senior citizens.”

The goal of photo ID laws is to prevent underage drinking. Keeping 66-year old men out of festivals for lack of valid photo ID does not prevent underage drinking. If anything, it wastes resources that could otherwise be spent stopping underage drinking.

This is one regulation where the OLCC should allow for some discretion. Doing so might prevent a lot of bad PR.

(Hat tip to Jacob Grier)