Since I have started this blog, I have discovered things beyond the ken of normal man. I have researched into the bowels of the Internet, and I have found shocking, eldritch things. Such as what government does daily.
Of course, they put it out there in plain sight, on Web sites of the .gov domain, where no one will see it. How better to hide the time-wasting activities designed to provide legislators with a part-time job to fill the time between fundraisers and elections?
For example, on the Missouri State Senate site, I have learned that our state senate has passed bills for the following just on Thursday (April 24, 2003):
- Fire department should get water during emergencies wherein, I assume the fire department will be called to put said water on a fire. This bill seems to specify that the fire departments should get water even if they haven’t paid their water bills. I have to wonder if this represents an upcoming budgetary cut.
- Car rental companies cannot charge more in damages than the replacement value of the car. Seems like a good idea, but it doesn’t really fit with laissez faire capitalism. Simple publication of the fact that XYZ rental company will charge you $60,000 for a stolen Hyundai Accent would probably impact XYZ enough to make them reconsider. More than a $1,000 fine would. And the fine print type size can be no smaller than 10 point!
- Made it a class D Felony to photograph or otherwise record an animal research or production facility, and to intentionally and knowingly release a pathogen therein. So Dan Savage can lick Gary Bauer’s doorknob in Iowa, but if he coughs in a Tyson chicken plant in Missouri, he’s going to jail!
- Names the official state grape. Okay, I admit, when it comes time for my weekly report at work, I like to finish a bunch of short things to at least have a number of items in my bulleted list of accomplishments. Surely the senators feel the same way, as they approved this one liner of a bill. I won’t tell you WHAT the state grape is. You’ll have to check it out yourself.
I understand passing these things in the state senate is only a third of the tri-partite bicameral-legislature-and-governor-signature system in place here in Missouri, so they’re not laws yet.
But I have to wonder how important a lot of the legislature’s business is. Do we really need a state grape? Legislation defining, and reglating, professional ultimate fighting (no throat hitting allowed)? How seriously will my state senator vote on these things? How will he (or she) react to a letter detailing a list of my positions on these issues?
Rightly, I would be labeled a crackpot, but wrongly I expect I would be ignored and/or sent a form letter based on some weird keyword search/merge. But this is what my state representative government does all day, four days a week, all legislative year.