Nanny state gets even “nannier”

Posted on January 2, 2011

Fresh from the Los Angeles Times, they’ve printed a list including some of the new laws taking effect in the nanny state of California.  Not all are bad, or overbearing mind you, but are some of these really necessary?:

  • Billboards: allows cities and counties to prohibit mobile billboards.
  • Campus security: requires newly constructed schools to have doors that can be locked from the inside, in case there is a threat of violence from the outside.
  • Cigarettes: makes it an infraction to sell or furnish electronic cigarettes to minors.
  • College admissions: requires the California State University system to notify the public served by a campus when that campus changes its admissions policy. (Because you can be expected to look up the information you need on your own now, can you?)
  • Domestic violence: increases the minimum fine for people granted probation for domestic violence from $200 to $400. (Does anyone really think that increasing the fine will lead to less domestic violence?)
  • Healthcare: restricts the ability of health insurance plans to cancel coverage for nonpayment of premiums by requiring a 30-day grace period while the insured pursues grievances with state regulators.
  • Healthcare for dependents: makes state law conform to the new federal requirement that health insurance coverage be extended to dependents to age 26.
  • Mental health: allows minors 12 and older to consent to mental health treatment, including in residential shelter services. ( A child aged 12 can now consent to mental health treatment?  And where are the parents in this decision?)
  • Restaurants: requires restaurant chains with 20 or more outlets to include calorie counts for each food item on all menus, and on menu boards above the front counter. (Here’s my rule of thumb: If you need to know the calorie count, you probably shouldn’t order it.)
  • Schools: requires school districts to provide access to free drinking water during mealtimes by July 1. (Whatever happened to water fountains in school?)
  • Stem cells: provides funding for a public system of collecting stem cells from umbilical cord blood for medical purposes.  (I’m hoping this is voluntary and parental consent is required.)
  • Surrogacy: requires childbirth-surrogacy businesses to use an escrow account for their clients’ funds.
  • Unemployment: allows residents receiving unemployment insurance benefits to continue coverage while enrolled in job training or education courses.  (On the surface this law seems ripe for abuse.)
  • Water quality: empowers Los Angeles County to ask voters if they want to pay a property-related user fee to raise funds for clean-water projects.

The most “nannyish” of them all is the requirement that bakeries “are banned from using 0.5 gram or more of artificial trans fat per serving in cake batter and yeast dough that will be deep-fried.”    Yes, apparently now some people actually think it’s okay for the government to dictate just what bakeries can use in making their products.   

Click the LA Times link above to read the whole article and to see some of the other laws going into effect.

Posted in: California