our view

How many new laws do we need?

Times change. We get that.

And as the world evolves around us, we must have new rules to ensure order. We get that, too.

But with dozens of new laws enacted on July 1 in this state, shouldn’t there be just as many that go by the wayside?

How many laws are too many? Our legislators appear to have the same answer to this question as they do to how many taxes are too many? There are apparently never enough.

Even so, we agree with the need for some of the new laws. They aren’t perfect, but they do point us in the right direction.

The texting ban, for example, makes great sense. Drivers in Iowa are no longer allowed to use a cell phone to read, write or send a text message or e-mail. This will be a tough one to enforce, yes, but it’s a good law. Giving warnings for a year is way too lenient, but we will probably need a reminder. Or two. Or three.

Making a related law for drivers with intermediate licenses makes sense, too. They can no longer talk on a cell phone or use any hand-held device while driving. This can and should be enforced. The law could have been viewed as age discriminatory, but using the “intermediate license” term seemed to help skirt the issue. Now what about the elderly who use cell phones?

Not allowing loaded rifle magazines in cars seems reasonable, although we would hate to find this out the hard way.

Allowing youth to have alcohol possessions erased from their criminal records by having two years without any criminal convictions seems smart, too. We all make mistakes.

Requiring employers to give employees 30 days’ notice before laying off 25 or more full-time employees is a nice gesture, but the loopholes in the wording make this law useless.

Allowing residents who declare bankruptcy to keep $1,000 in personal property belongings is a bad law. Bankrupt means bankrupt, not bankrupt but you get to keep $1,000 worth of belongings. Silly law.

We like that parents or guardians will be charged with child abuse for knowingly forcing children to view obscene materials. The key word here is “knowingly.” And who decides what is obscene? Look out sexual education instructors.

Iowans who want to officially “live” in a neighboring city may now petition for severance from one city and annexation by another. City councils from both communities must agree, and the applicant may not create an island of land that’s geographically disconnected from any city. The post office has to love this one.

We like that employers can not require veterans to work on Veterans Day, but we know of few veterans who would press the issue. Most we know are hard working people who are thankful for jobs and don’t want any freebies.

New rules for mixed-martial arts events are necessary and will help the image of the sport by swaying it out of the bars and into arenas. Regulation ensures safety, too, and that is desperately needed in MMA. This law still needs some clarification on the credentials for doctors, but the progress is good.

Minors should not be dancing nude. Ever. For any reason. Thank you.

We don’t like more taxes, but we agree that native Iowa wines should no longer be exempt from the state wine tax.

We like that Iowans convicted of domestic abuse can no longer carry guns. The loophole for law enforcement officials is disturbing though.

We already thought that anyone 17 or younger was required to use a seat belt in a car. We are glad to know it is official.

And thank the heavens that Iowans may now hold bingo games without a state license. All they have to do is make sure the prizes are donated and admission is free. Try regulating that one.

Now if our legislators would only rid us of some laws, too. CV

Round Kick Gym

Best of Des Moines 2011

Fall Relish

Coupon Guide