Sunday, April 29, 2007

Washington Legislature Passes 522 New Laws

It exhausts a citizen just to think about it, the discovery of why life seems to become more complex each year and why time flies. It's not your imagination or the telescoping effect of age, it's the constant stream, this year a tsunami, of complex new legislation that defines what we do, how we are to do it and how much it will cost.

The State of Washington supports what is mischaracterized as a "citizen legislature," composed of two houses that meet annually but for relatively short sessions, normally either 105 days or 60 days. The original idea was for ordinary citizens to take leaves from their real jobs, spend a short and uncomfortable time in Olympia doing the State's business on a sort of minimalist basis, then returning to their communities for re-immersion in reality.

It hasn't worked that way. In fact, the reverse effect is more likely. Like a bacteria grown resistant to the antibiotic, the politicians grow stronger each session and then return home to spread the infection.

The state government is a one-party machine, centered politically somewhere in the range of John Edwards-to-Dennis Kucinich. This year it was the longer term, 105 days, and they used it to pass 522 separate pieces of legislation, each of which focuses the power of the state to effect change in the lives of its citizens.

And to take an extra few billion dollars from its citizens in order to do good deeds, either buying their way into Heaven or at least buying more leverage in the next election. Now, granted that billions are no longer what they once were, but, still, sucking up an extra few billions every year from a very few millions of people does require more muscle than can be provided by a Hoover.

It's not totally unrelated that State agencies are debating whether to allow emergency vehicles an exemption from paying the toll as they cross the State's newest bridge. At the moment, the pro-toll folks seem to be winning.

So, when you have that coronary caused by the stress of keeping within those 522 new laws, make certain you've got $1.50—correct change will speed your passage!—in your pocket when the ambulance takes you away.

Fleeing car thieves, bank robbers and folks who run afoul of one of the 522 new laws should keep in mind that the penalty for not dropping the toll is only $49, a small price indeed if it allows you to outrun the pursuing State Patrol officer, who will be stopping to drop the toll at the gate.

No comments: