Words

We get visitors to the state house daily lobbying on behalf of their issues. Yesterday I met with three guys in a motorcycle group. They were opposed to proposed legislation restricting cell phone use or texting while driving.

I asked, “So you guys on motorcycles think it’s OK for someone to be coming at you at 65 MPH while texting?”

They all shook their heads, “No, but why do we need more laws?” They thought such violations would be covered by the current inattentive driving statues.

“So you are opposed to redundant, wasteful and unnecessary legislation?”

“Yes,” they all nodded. “We want less government.”

“How do you feel about last year’s Wolf Emergency Law?”

They couldn’t recall it. I explained it to them but I could understand why they didn’t know about it. It was a posturing piece. But I explained, “We pass redundant, unnecessary laws through these halls all the time. Often they are attempts to make a statement. Sometimes, by putting words into law we are trying to say what we stand for, what we think is important. We can’t always gather a crowd and make a speech, so we write a bill and hope for press coverage.”

I went on, “These cell phone and texting laws are probably redundant with the inattentive driving statues. But they are an attempt to say that this body thinks such behavior, texting and phoning while driving is bad. It is unsafe. We must acknowledge that passing a law doesn’t make people drive safely. Neither did commandments make men free of error. But it can be honorable to provide a direction.”

They weren’t happy I didn’t whole heartedly agree with them. But I think dialogue is better than backslapping.

I didn’t tell them these bills won’t get out of committee. They didn’t know the politics. This is an election year and the bills are sponsored by Democrats.

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About ddxdx

A Family physician in the Idaho State Senate
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