Saturday, May 09, 2009

Legislature 'picking on kids'?

Christy Hoppe at the Dallas News last week noticed a trend at the Texas Legislature of the Lege injecting itself in the role of parent ("Are proposed laws at the Texas Legislature picking on kids?," May 3):

Lawmakers don't want kids driving after 10 p.m., buying cigarettes or climbing into tanning beds. ...

Teenagers appear to be a target for lawmakers this year; everyone knows they need protection from their own self-destructiveness, and they can't vote. Lawmakers cite safety issues, but a few, such as [Jodie] Laubenberg, are starting to raise questions about parental rights as several measures move through the Legislature.

They include a number of restrictions on drivers under 18, including no text messaging or talking on cellphones without a hands-free device. Legislators also apparently believe that no good can come after 10 p.m. They propose that those 17 or younger shouldn't be driving after that hour – a change from the current midnight curfew.

"None of us would want to target any age group, but 17 and younger are inexperienced and still developing judgment and are prone to danger," said Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, whose bill with the 10 p.m. curfew has cleared the Senate and is pending in the House.

"The Legislature continues to try and find the appropriate balance between good policies and parenting," Carona said. "Government couldn't and shouldn't try to raise their kids, but where and when we can, we should find appropriate measures to protect them."

House Transportation Committee Chairman Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, said he favors the restrictions on driving while texting or phoning for young motorists, although he's not sure the earlier curfew is going to win House support.

"While I know it's like we're attacking young people, it's really helping them," Pickett said. "It's not that we want to be restrictive."

Pickett's last comment sums it up, doesn't it? It reminds me of Ronald Reagan's famous quip that the scariest words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." Pickett is certainly right that it's "like" they're "attacking young people." That's how the young people see it, no doubt, and perhaps also their parents whose decisions are being usurped.

One recalls that when the United States attacked Iraq, President Bush said we were "helping" them, too. (Note to policymakers: "Helping" and "attacking" are not synonyms!)

Why it should be up to the government and not their parents whether a teen wears a cowboy hat or a helmet in a rodeo or uses a tanning bed is beyond me. As with many new laws passed each session, much of this falls under the heading (in my book, anyway) of "none of the government's damn business."


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, Scott, and what's more, this sort of stuff just opens up whole new vistas of status crimes.

Anonymous said...

The government knows what is best for you. If you don't believe this then you must be a home grown terrorist! Our leaders have the divine right to rule over us because only they are intelligent enough to know what best serves society. Only a New World Order with world government can bring stability to the ignorant masses who over populate the planet. Personal freedom has ruined our environment and caused global warming or cooling, whichever it is. Shut up and buy your carbon credits from Al Gore! Also stop buying all the guns and ammo because you are only making it that much harder for the ruling class to strip you of all of your dangerous rights which have allowed you to run amuck. As George Bush said, "Either you are with us or you are with the terrorist!"

The Geography Lady said...

if it didnt affect anyone but the family involved, i'd tell the lege to GTH. but the fact remains, teen drivers have a lot of accidents, and those bike/bull riding without helmets are more likely to have injuries with long-lasting effects. i, as an insurance and tax-payer, am stuck with paying for their medical care. thats why the lege might have a case to get involved.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

TGL - you're confusing the roles of "insurer" and "government."

If insurance companies quit covering rodeos where cowboys don't wear helmets, I'd have no problem with it. For the government to mandate such is an infringement on liberty.

123txpublicdefender123 said...

What world do these people live in that they think it is a good idea to deny teenagers the right to drive after 10 pm? I mean, 10 pm? That is EARLY, especially for a weekend night. And under 18? 17-year-olds are adults for purposes of the criminal law, but they can't drive after 10 pm? I can't get over that. I never drank a drop of alcohol in high school, but me and my friends liked to go to movies or each other's houses on Saturday nights, and that meant driving after 10 pm. This is just ridiculous. Plus, I can just see the irresponsible and judgment-lacking teenagers racing to get home at 9:58 to make sure they aren't caught out after curfew. What a great idea!

sunray's wench said...

" "None of us would want to target any age group, but 17 and younger are inexperienced and still developing judgment and are prone to danger," said Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, whose bill with the 10 p.m. curfew has cleared the Senate and is pending in the House. "

Well perhaps 17 year olds shouldn't be on the roads at all then? Lift the driving age to 18 and see if that helps.

Soronel Haetir said...

Be glad it is 10pm and not 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset. The age people are able to start driving at with full priviledges is one of the most variable elements of the driving experience state-to-state.

Anonymous said...

Charles Kiker's two bits worth:

Like it or not, the public is the health insurer of last resort, via the emergency room. So the public is impacted by health issues. Having said that, and thus identified myself as a New World Order Socialist in the eyes of some, I think the lege is overreaching in a lot of these bills. And I certainly do not see the connection between underage smoking and driving. Yet, to get caught smoking under 18 (or is it 17) can lead to forfeiture of drivers license. And to get caught drinking can lead to being charged as an adult as a minor in possession.

Anonymous said...

This is all the basic programming taking place. as youth, they get the light rules, later they are more willing to accept the Orwellian mentality that government has been selling in the last 20 years.

I you teach a child that a pan is hot, they will NEVER question you about it again. Teach them that government is their 'friend', that too will never be questioned.

'bout time for another civil war...

Anonymous said...

"Be glad it is 10pm and not 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset"

This is exactly the dangerous mentality that most are talking about..

It's ok, they only want to 'glance in the front door', they don't NEED a warrant for that right?

'Ofcourse Officer, my papers are all in order'

The majority of Bolsheviks believed that Lenin was out for their best interests as well... This mentality gives in to nothing less..

George White said...

I think we should lock all the young people up - for their own good. If we let them roam free for so many years they are bound to get in to trouble. We can let them out when they are mature. Of course we will have to invent a standardized test to evaluate their maturity level before we release them. Here, here to government meddling!!

Anonymous said...

The whole argument that the government is the insurer of last resort is such BS!! If that is the case, then we should pass laws that close all the donut shops and laws that limit the number of calories each person can consume each day. There are a hell of a lot more people dying of self-inflicted maladies than there are 17 year olds killing themselves while driving.

Don Dickson said...

In view of our Legislature's preoccupation with solutions in search of problems, perhaps what we need is a statute prohibiting the consumption of oysters while driving by persons under 18 years of age. Six-month suspension of your license, and you have to go for an eight-hour oyster education course operated under government contract by the Pappas Restaurants Corporation. First Friday of each month from 4 'til midnight.

Anonymous said...

I ask all of you to view the Senat Committee Hearings, escpecially the Corrections Committee and then tell me our government cares! Many Committees do not have enough members present to even have a quorom and you can see this for yourself by going to and click on archives/videos and they want to tell us how to raise our kids? The answer to many of our problems begin and end with "TERM LIMITS". It is high time these were put into place.

I do realize those who are trying to make the laws, would be the ones voting, but a referendum, but that can be started and I believe many would sign on, how about this? It is time for many of them to go and place their crowns in a place where the sun does not shine.

Anonymous said...

I think people just don’t understand how the government wants to help. While our government has been dumbing down our society for decades with its education, welfare and affirmative action programs. Legislation has been passed to keep people dumb down and dependent on the government and we will continue to see the degradation of the basic human rights and freedom our country was founded on. We recently saw half our populous mostly the entitlement society and their sympathizers vote into office a government that is anti everything in our constitution, in return for empty promises of help from our government. During the 90’s I didn’t think government banks should be making home loans to welfare recipients who can pay back loans. Now we have a recession, because the government was trying to “help” people. Make your mark for change was the battle cry of our democratically built entitlement society, make your mark for change several times the leaders would say. Change to what, change to socialism, the murder of free market.
All one has to do to see how much the Texas legislature cares about kids is to look at the Texas Youth Commission.

Anonymous said...

This kind of legislative nonsense is nothing short of a violation of the civil rights of people, based on age alone.
Protect our teenagers? Let's call this what it is--an insidious attempt to control and curtail the lives and freedoms of our youth.
My teenaged daughters were stopped by a police officer on their lunch break from their jobs. Because they were 16. And it was during school hours.
The officer questioned them in spite of the fact they were both in uniform and wearing nametags identifying them as employees.
To assume all teens are criminals and truants and troublemakers is just plain wrong.