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State Legislature
  • Lawmaker Wants to Tax Bicycle Pollution

    Imagine you're a Seattle cyclist merrily commuting to work on your bike, a thermos of fair trade coffee in hand and a hemp messenger bag slung over your shoulder. You'd think you were Gaea's gift to environmentalism, right?

    WRONG! You are a goddamned monstrous eco-villain! So says Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama), the ranking Republican on Washington State's House Transportation Committee, in a letter to a bicycle store owner:

    "If I am not mistaken, a cyclist has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride."

    This was Rep. Orcutt's explanation for why he'd be supporting a sales tax proposal that would require everyone who buys a bike for more than $500 to pay a $25 fee.

    As long as we assume that every cyclist is eating a diet of pure petroleum (and motorists don't eat anything and never burn calories), Orcutt's argument makes sense, but doesn't go nearly far enough. Wait till he learns about running.

    Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Energy & Oil, Environment, State Legislature, Washington
  • The Idaho Militia Wants YOU

    And you. And you. And you. You too, grandma. State Sen. Jim Rice (R-Caldwell) wants to change the Idaho constitution to expand the state's militia to include every Idaho adult.

    His reasoning: if the Supreme Court ever decides that the right to possess AR-15s and other small-penis-compensators belongs only to "well-organized militias" and not individuals, Idaho will have a well-armed "backstop" against gun-grabbing liberals.

    Pretty clever, until you realize that Sen. Rice's plan for defending Idahoans against big government tyranny involves automatically enrolling them into a government posse. Hey, nothing says personal freedom like a draft.

    On the other hand, the Idaho constitution already enrolls all "able-bodied male persons, residents of this state, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years" into their own private Idaho army, so forcing women to join may be the most progressive suggestion an Idaho legislator has ever made.

    Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Guns, Idaho, Militias, State Legislature
  • Oklahoma Wants Women to Stop Using "Poison" Birth Control

    Say you're an Oklahoma state senator, busy with important Oklahoma state business like keeping the s-word (science!) away from children, when you're approached by a cardiologist and "natural family planning expert" with an exciting theory for you to consider.

    Women shouldn't be taking birth control because "part of their identity is the potential to be a mother," says this somehow-licensed physician named Dominic Pedulla. "They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn't bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies."

    What do you do?

    Read More »

    Tags: Contraception, Men and Women, Oklahoma, Science & Technology, State Legislature, Women's Rights
  • Montana's Roadkill Tastes Like Hypocrisy

    Montana, there are so many things to adore about you! Your bizarro state legislature, unfortunately, is not among these adorable things:

    Montana's House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would permit people to salvage meat from game animals killed in traffic accidents.

    Nothing wrong with that! Responsible adults should feed themselves as they please. Plus, times are hard and waste is bad. "We're just looking for something good for Montana so they can use the meat," noted the bill's sponsor, whose name is Steve Lavin (I know, you were thinking Ron Swanson).

    While the Roadkill: It's What's for Dinner bill sailed through the Montana House on a vote of 95-3, another bill looks like it will have trouble passing.

    That's because it's not about roadkill. It's about The Gays.

    Read More »

    Tags: Food, LGBT, Montana, State Legislature
  • Indiana Offers Two Vagina Inspections for the Price of One Abortion

    What makes an Indiana proposal that would force women to have a freedom wand inserted into their ladyparts before they can have an abortion different from all the other proposals to require pre-abortion trans-vaginal ultrasounds?

    The difference, bargain shoppers, is in the value. Most other states only make vagina-having adults go through one invasive and medically unnecessary procedure. But thanks to legislation that just passed the Indiana Senate's Health and Provider Services Committee, Indiana could soon require clinics to give women two trans-vaginal freedom screenings: one before undergoing a chemically-induced abortion and one immediately after.

    But wait! There's more!

    Read More »

    Tags: Abortion, Indiana, State Legislature, Women's Rights