Every law passed disrupts the lives of ordinary people
American Legion Post 260 in Portage is facing a rock-and-a-hard-place dilemma because of the statewide public smoking ban that goes into effect July 1. As a private club, the post is exempt from the law, and members can decide for themselves whether to allow smoking. But, The Times in Munster reports, the club might lose no matter what it chooses.
If smoking is permitted, there can be no events at the post at which children are permitted, so Legion families will have their options limited. But if smoking is banned, it is feared that attendance will drop and bar sales will be reduced, costing the post money and perhaps even forcing it to close.
That’s only one club in one city. Just imagine how many thousands of people are affected by the law throughout the state and will have tough decisions to make. What about the bars that have to decide whether to have a non-smoking room to comply with the law and worry about whether a future stronger law will nullify the thousands of dollars spent to comply with the weaker one?
And multiply the smoking ban by all the other laws the General Assembly passes to comply with someone’s idea of how we can live better. Every time an idealist acts on an impulse, our daily activities are likely to suffer disruptions.
Legislators tend to speak of laws at the macro level, speculating, for example, that economic activity from a certain act will go up or down a certain percentage. But all laws have effects at the micro level, causing real changes real people’s lives.
Lawmakers in many states have taken a big step forward by requiring economic impact statements to be prepared for pieces of legislation. Maybe Indiana should go a step further and require daily-life impact statements.
Eyes on the road, criminals!
Some people want the nanny state in Indiana to get even stronger, and, no, it’s not do-good legislators. Unbelievably, Hoosier police want more intrusive laws they will have trouble enforcing.
“Police across Indiana,” says the Greenfield Daily Reporter, “are calling on lawmakers to beef up the new state law that bars texting while driving so that it covers all activities that can distract motorists behind the wheel.” All distracting activities? Really? Apparently so – also mentioned as needed on the forbidden list are reading, applying makeup “or doing something else that takes attention away from the road.” Letting one’s mind wander during a boring drive isn’t mentioned, but surely somebody somewhere will try to get that banned.