Senator Claire McCaskill Thinks The Government Should Record You More

McCaskill questions why Springfield traffic footage is not recorded:

As Jason Haynes, a city of Springfield traffic engineer, led McCaskill on a tour of the center’s control room, which features a number of cameras and computers displaying live video from the traffic cameras along with other information, the senator asked if the video was recorded. The answer was no.

McCaskill responded that recording would be helpful for law enforcement, if for no other purpose. She mentioned the Boston Marathon bombing this spring, where images helped identify the Tsarnaev brothers on the street at the time of the bombing.

Indeed, whyever would a government entity not capture images and data on its free citizens when it can? That just makes sense to a Federal-level Democrat.

The Governor Only Does Good Things

Two headlines this morning jumped out at me:

Fascinating, isn’t it, how when laws are made, the Republicans in the legislature do the bad things about making cuts and balancing the budget against the valiant efforts of the Democratic governor, but when it’s time to sign the things that the media likes, the Democratic governor is responsible for the good things?

Well, not fascinating, but too typical.

Republican Sponsors Bill To Nullify Contracts

That’s one way to look at Missouri Representative Kurt Bahr’s proposed law to abrogate the contracts between subdivision/neighborhood associations and their members:

That would change statewide for future elections under a bill proposed by a legislator from nearby O’Fallon. The measure, by Republican Rep. Kurt Bahr, would prevent homeowners associations from enforcing or adopting bans on political signs.

“Should a private organization allow you to contract away constitutionally protected inherent rights?” Bahr asked.

Strangely enough, contract law does this all the time.

Consider:

  • Employer contracts that require non-compete, non-solicitation, and non-disclosure agreements. These contracts “violate” the rights to assemble and to free speech and press. 
     
  • Employer or other contracts that require drug testing. These violate the right to be secure against unreasonable searches. 
     
  • Lawsuit settlements where terms include nondisclosure and nondisparagement. These also violate the right to free speech. 
     
  • When employers fire you or taverns kick you out without a jury trial. This violates the 7th Amendment 
     
  • Mortgage agreements. Have you ever actually read a mortgage contract? You would be surprised to find out what you cannot do. Storing flammable liquids like gasoline for your lawnmower might put you in violation, which might make you think the bank is violating your private property rights.

And so on and so forth.

The fact of the matter is that people sign contracts and make individual agreements that limit what they can do. This does not “violate the rights” of either party in the contract or agreement any more than holding one’s tongue when one has a snarky remark violate’s one’s own right to free speech.

What Representative Bahr confuses here, as so many do, is that the Bill of Rights limits the government’s authority, not other organizations.

Anyone who signs a contract with a neighborhood association needs to honor that contract. Anyone considering moving into a home bound by such a contract needs to recognize that it is a contract, not a formality, and they need to honor it.

And the Missouri government should not step in and break these codicils when the citizens who signed the agreement didn’t read them or didn’t really expect to be held to them.

I’m not sure the non-enforcement part of the law could stand up in court anyway. After all, ex post facto is not just a river in Italy.

(Representative Bahr’s HB 1380 text here. United States Bill of Rights text here)

Juxtaposition, University Edition

Yesterday’s Springfield News-Leader ran the following two stories on page 1, probably thinking they’re unrelated.

In the first, the governor fights against the legislature’s spending priorities, which place university funding against state payments for the care of under 3,000 citizens who are blind:

Gov. Jay Nixon and disability advocates are criticizing a House committee’s recommendation to cut $28 million in medical services for blind Missourians in order to make up for a reduction in higher education funding.

The House Appropriations Committee on Health, Mental Health and Social Services recommended last week cutting more than $60 million in funding to a variety of programs. Among the reductions was the money used to take care of 2,858 blind Missourians.

But the nut graf is deeper in the story:

Nixon’s initial budget proposal included a reduction of $106 million for public colleges and universities.

Cuts to higher education! Why, the students will have to make due with fewer tenured professors and more itinerant professors. The universities will have to cut staff! Because the universities cannot stop funding expensive amenities:

A new architectural addition to the campus of Missouri State University is only months away from reality.

At the construction site of Foster Recreation Center, workers are installing basketball goals, putting up supports for a climbing wall and completing a swimming pool with a lazy river.

To the tune of:

The university broke ground on the $30 million construction project in April 2010.

I know, that money comes from a student fee and not from the state’s monies, but it’s the state’s monies that make the $30,000,000 “investment” in amusement activities possible.

Because governments don’t have to prioritize spending, and if they do, they’re demonized.