Other States Suck At Legislating, Too

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Texas Republicans are working hard to make sure this session can't possibly end up going well for the actual people of Texas. They're warming up for the most draconian budget cuts in almost a decade with forced sonograms, an illogical and unfunded voter photo-ID scheme, guns on campus, and a bill to require Presidential candidates to show their birth certificates. But that's not the point right now! To make citizens, Democrats, sane people, and anyone who has ever relied on a social service feel slightly better, I've scoured the Internet for bad legislation working its way through various other states. Read, weep, and make sure you vacation on the East or West Coast!

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Iowa: Let's Arm Mall Cops With Grenades!

Under The Golden Dome alerts us to a bill introduced that will arm mall security guards with a wide variety of weaponry, including grenades:

This is real legislation moving through the Iowa House today courtesy of Rep. Chris Hagenow of Windsor Heights and House Republicans. They believe mall cops should be able to carry offensive weapons. Not just any weapon mind you, just the usual offensive weapons like machine guns, rockets, missiles, bombs and grenades.

Are mall guards even licensed public safety officers? Is anyone at all cool with a group of people often derided as “rent-a-cops” holding live ammo? What kind of circumstance might require the use of a rocket at a shopping mall? Imagine if the crowds got too thick and unruly door-busting the Best Buy — talk about a Black Friday!

Also: NO ONE TELL JOE DRIVER, BECAUSE HE WILL LOVE THIS IDEA. On the upside, if it passes in Texas, it may finally stop people from driving over the aquifer to visit Barton Creek Mall. (Ahh, but what kind of gold-plated armory will they wield at The Domain?)

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Tennessee: Let's Make Following Shariah Law A Felony!

Apparently the Tennessee legislature is so worried that the Muslims are taking over that they're pre-emptively banning Shariah law. From The Blaze:

Yerushalmi said the legislation in Tennessee is clear about who's being targeted. “The legislation simply states that Shariah that follows the law of jihad, which calls for the violent overthrow of the Tennessee and U.S. government, is the Shariah that is at issue,” he said.

Sarah Thompson, a spokeswoman for the Islamic Society of North America, disagreed. “The way that it's worded makes the assumption that any practice of Islam is a practice of terrorism,” she said. “And that's a dangerous line to walk. It excludes the millions of Muslims that are practicing peaceably from the ability to do so.”

Of the thirteen states currently looking to ban Shariah Law (because that's going to create a CRAP TON of jobs), Tennessee wins the prize for introducing the most stringent. Personally, I have enough respect for the predominantly-peace-loving Muslims to know that they'd never want to settle in a hick-filled backwater state like Tennessee. You can't even buy wine there in grocery stores on Sundays!

It is unclear if the bill will also require Muslims to wear a red crescent pinned to their clothes so that Republicans can identify them more easily.

Meanwhile, apparently some actual militant Shariah Law-followers are planning a march on the White House aimed at telling “the tyrant Barack Obama and the American people know that a new constitution beckons the US called the Shari'ah.” Apparently they didn't get Leo Berman's memo that the President is already trying to force Muslim law on America — yeah, I mean, come on, it's, like, all over the YouTubes.  

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Montana: You Can't Not Discriminate Against The Gays!

In 2010, Missoula passed an ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Now, a Republican–who does NOT represent any part of Missoula–is attempting to not only invalidate Missoula's ordinance, but prevent any other city from doing likewise. From the Missoulian:

House Bill 516 by Rep. Kristin Hansen, R-Havre, would bar other communities in the state from adopting similar laws that ban discrimination based on residents' sexual orientation and gender identity while invalidating the Missoula ordinance.

The first of its kind in Montana, the Missoula law protects people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender from employment and housing discrimination.

This is absurd! That's “small government” for you! Heaven forbid a city enact ordinances that reflect the community's values of inclusion and tolerance. I wonder if Hansen would re-segregate the schools on principle, even though Montana is 87.6% White-Non Hispanic. Maybe she can just hand-print some signs to label all the drinking fountains in state buildings for White and Non-White citizens. Or they can just pass a Poll Tax and not even dress it up as “Voter ID.”

Of course, gay bashing is practically a platform plank for the Montana Tea Party–their chair made a Facebook comment asking for an instruction manual for a Matthew-Shepard-style attack on LGBT citizens. Shepard, of course, was tortured and murdered for being gay, in neighboring Wyoming. Pretty sick–and sadly par for the course in the Tea Party dominated Republican ranks these days.

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So, Texans, buck up. The legislature may be chomping at the bit to close your schools, fire your teachers, shut your nursing homes, turn the sick out onto the street and make sure that the next generation of Texans are as intellectually unstimulated as possible, but it can always be worse.

And crazy legislators elsewhere? Your bills suck, your motives are awful, and I hope your common-sensical constituents show you the door. In the meantime, thanks for giving a little balm to those of us Texas who thought we had a monopoly on bad laws and the Republicans who attempt to make them.

Maybe you can put that on your Republican Primary campaign lit: “Too crazy — even for Texas!” We can only hope it stays that way.  

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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