About Those Thoughtful, Careful Legislators

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

From a Washington Post article about Caylee’s Law:

[Michelle] Crowder said in a phone interview that she had not spoken to any law enforcement officials before coming up with the proposal — she relied on a quick Google search and the belief that lawmakers would look into the details.

This was a frequent response to my Huffington Post piece as well. Sure, the law may be flawed. But we can count on our careful, thoughtful lawmakers to sort out the details. That’s democracy!

Here in Tennessee, the Caylee’s Law bill is sponsored by state Sen. Bill Ketron. Here’s what Ketron wrote on Twitter yesterday:


Ketron didn’t Tweet, “I look forward to holding hearings on whether or not such a law is necessary in Tennessee.” No, he wants to get this done “quickly,” while outrage over the Casey Anthony verdict is still hot. And, presumably, while he can still claim the mantle of the politician who “speaks for children who can’t speak for themselves” or some similar self-aggrandizing nonsense.

And Ketron has a history of negligent lawmaking. A few highlights:

  • He introduced an immigration bill that would make Arizona look like a sanctuary state. Ketron’s bill would require Tennessee law enforcement to demand papers from anyone they stop who looks or sounds “foreign”,  regardless of whether any laws were broken. It would also allow any resident of Tennessee to sue any government official they believe is inadequately enforcing the law.
  • Ketron’s “Cyber Bullying” law has on-point lessons to Caylee’s Law. Ketron introduced the bill after hearing a story in Texas about a mother who tormented one of her daughter’s rivals for the cheerleading team until the rival killed herself. The problem? Ketron’s bill, which is now law in Tennessee, makes it a felony to post any image online that causes “emotional distress” to anyone else. It is clearly unconstitutional.
  • Ketron also introduced Tennessee’s asinine, headline-grabbing bill that would make it a felony to “practice Sharia law” in the state. Ketron later had to rewrite the bill when it became clear that hadn’t the slightest idea what “Sharia law” actually means. (The bulk of the bill was written by a guy who thinks there’s merit in denying blacks and women the right to vote.)

By the way, Ketron isn’t on the fringes of Tennessee politics. He heads up the state senate’s GOP caucus.

If your plan is to rely on politicians to “sort out the details” and temper the hysteria with calm, thoughtful legislating, you’re making a huge mistake.

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21 Responses to “About Those Thoughtful, Careful Legislators”

  1. #1 |  JS | 

    “And, presumably, while he can still claim the mantle of the politician who “speaks for children who can’t speak for themselves” or some similar self-aggrandizing nonsense.”

    That’s a really really well written sentence. Nicely put!

  2. #2 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Yet more data points in favor of anarcho-capitalism….

  3. #3 |  Mike T | 

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that finding your kid after 24 hours isn’t going to be an affirmative defense under this law.

  4. #4 |  DJMoore | 

    Folks, look at “Caylee’s [excuse for a] Law” in the light of the previous post on the state taking obese children away from their parents. What happens when these two things intersect?

    You go from being required to report a missing child to being required to file regular reports verifying that you are raising the state’s child-units in conformance to regulations that no one understand, and that can always be used to prove that you aren’t a fit parent.

    I’ll just say it flat out: Liberty is not safe; there will inevitably be casualties. If most everyone can drive, there will be auto accidents. If most everyone is armed, there will be gun accidents. If most everyone can be a parent, some children will be raised badly.

    Problem is, all those things, and far, far worse, will happen no matter what. Liberty is the best way to keep us as safe as possible.

    Anybody who thinks the State, particularly the Federal Government, will be a better parent, on average, than Caylee’s mother, or Jessica’s mother, is so deluded they should be forbidden from posting on-line or speaking publicly.

    Oh, wait….

  5. #5 |  Warren | 

    In other news Radley cracks the top ten libertarian websites…

    http://deathby1000papercuts.com/dbkpreport/2011/07/libertarian-top-50-sites-june-july-2011/

    Congrats, baldy.

  6. #6 |  Stephen | 

    Hah! that first one could end up biting him in the butt if he’s not really careful about the wording of the “sue govt officials” part. :)

  7. #7 |  Charlie O | 

    Mr. Balko,

    Tell me again why you moved to live upon these knuckle draggers?

  8. #8 |  Charlie O | 

    “upon” should be “among”

  9. #9 |  Andrew S. | 

    #7 | Charlie O | July 14th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Mr. Balko,

    Tell me again why you moved to live upon these knuckle draggers?

    Not to speak for Radley, but I’ve noticed a tendency for legislative idiocy to increase the closer you get to DC*, so he might be better off.

    * Excluding Florida, which may as well be up near Maryland

  10. #10 |  diakron | 

    “In other news Radley cracks the top ten libertarian websites…”

    Crazed theocrat Vox Day is on that list. I’d say that disqualifies it from being called “libertarian.”

  11. #11 |  Curt | 

    It’s good to know that you can count on politicians…

    … to prove that worst-case scenario and slippery-slope arguments are often realistic.

  12. #12 |  Erik | 

    AFAIK, Vox Day has theocratic opinions on morality, and libertarian opinions on government enforcement of morality. I don’t think he disqualifies from anything for that.

  13. #13 |  CyniCAl | 

    In the wake of that horribly offensive Onion article about Nancy Grace sucking the marrow from Caylee Anthony’s bones, I propose a federal law banning all jokes about murder victims. It can be called “Onion’s Law.”

    I’m dead certain that a vast majority of US citizens would agree with me. After all, what’s freedom of speech compared to preventing the anguish of grieving relatives. Who’s going to vote against that?

  14. #14 |  Aresen | 

    How about “Bill Ketron’s Law” forbidding assholes from holding public office?

  15. #15 |  edmund dantes | 

    Any guesses if Bill Ketron was at any ALEC meetings?

  16. #16 |  the innominate one | 

    If this law is so critical, why are they waiting for the start of the legislative session? Call an emergency session.

    Child killing parents should kill their kids now, before the bill becomes law, so that they’re only breaking that pesky murder law, and not this one, too.

  17. #17 |  Stick | 

    ‘In politics stupidity is not a handicap.’ – Napolean Bonaparte.

  18. #18 |  Buzz | 

    It would be wonderful if the people passing laws had at least a passing familiarity with The Constitution. From local school boards up to the US Congress. Crazy talk, I know.

  19. #19 |  TC | 

    Too bad we did not have a Leiby’s law!

    That would have prevented this kid gittin killet and such!

    http://americanpowerblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/levi-aron-charged-in-kletzky-murder.html

    “A frantic two-day search for a missing 8-year-old Brooklyn boy ended Wednesday with the grim discovery of his dismembered body, the victim of what authorities called a “totally random” abduction by a stranger.”

  20. #20 |  July 15 roundup | 

    [...] “Caylee’s Law” proposals continue unabated [Balko and more, Lowering the Bar, Skenazy, Frank, Somin] Confirmed non-members of Nancy Grace fan club include [...]

  21. #21 |  Pablo | 

    For someone who is trying to ban Sharia law he sure seems to agree with most of it.

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