…So there I was this morning, minding my own business, checking the headlines on the web when I ran into the following AP story: New Year Brings New Laws, State to State. “Oh,” I thought, “this might be interesting or entertaining.” And so I started reading about states with new laws against identity theft, a Florida law limiting gifts lobbyists can give legislators, yada-yada, and then I hit this gem:
Legislatures sought ways to improve safety on the highways, demanding seat belt use in taxis and shuttle vans in Oregon, requiring motorists hogging the left lane to move to the right in Florida, and trying to discourage drunk driving in Tennessee by requiring that offenders help clean up state highways while wearing vests emblazoned with the phrase “I am a Drunk Driver” in 4-inch lettering. (emphasis mine)
…And I said to myself, “WTF!?!”
What’s next? The return of the Scarlet Letter for prostitutes?
And so I ask our legal minds out there – is this one of those “showpiece” bills that will quickly go down in flames when challenged in court and that’s only passed so the legislature can feel good about itself; sending out fliers to the electorate showing they’re tough on crime? What does this say about the legislature and people of Tennessee? (I’m sooo embarrassed, as you can imagine!)
Do y’all know of other examples of laws requiring public humiliation in our great republic? </snark> How have they stood up against legal challenge? This just floors me. (as I guess you can tell) If someone told me about this in the workplace, I’d have dismissed it as a bad joke or urban legend (which it may yet be, I hope I hope?).
But then, this is the state where it’s legal to collect and eat road kill:
TCA Section 70-4-115 allows that, except for non-game and federally protected wildlife species, wild game animals accidentally killed by a motor vehicle may be possessed for personal use and consumption. However, possession of a deer killed by a motor vehicle is permitted only if the person notifies the TWRA [Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency – KP] or any law enforcement officer and supplies his/her name within 48 hours. A bear killed by a motor vehicle may be possessed only upon the issuance of a kill tag by a TWRA enforcement officer.
(I might as well put it in here, `cause I know someone will bring it up in the comments…)