With each year come new laws and amendments to older laws that are signed into law by the governor.
Bills are introduced to the Legislature, lobbied for and, if things go right for the advocates of that bill, they are signed into law. That’s the short version.
I’m sure that with some deep thought, and perhaps a few adult beverages, almost all of you would have a long list of laws that need changing. For instance, there’s the old law that says you need to keep a gun on you when you’re traveling to church in your covered wagon and need to keep your family safe from Indians. Or maybe the law was to keep the Indians safe from your ex-wife. I don’t know.
Every January and July, these laws go into effect. Some have dramatic effects and some are more subtle. On the local level, for example, back in 2006 Sandy Springs adopted a change in the ordinance that required drinking establishments to close at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. There was such furor and rage that people took buses to the city council meetings to protest.
It was odd because most didn’t really know a lot about the city and some admitted they were making a few bucks by showing up to protest. But they certainly looked serious.
Dressed in plain clothes. and out of curiosity, I decided to speak to the protesters:
Me: “What are you protesting about?”
Protester: “I’m not sure; check with that guy over there.”
Me (To That Guy Over There): “Sir, what are you protesting about?”
Guy Over There: “Uh, well, I’m protesting the closing of the bars.”
Me: “What time did they close before?”
Guy Over There: “Uh, 3, 4, 5?”
Me: “What time do they want the bars closed?”
Guy Over There: “Look, pal, I don’t know. I’m from Detroit and they put us on a bus and paid us 40 bucks to come here and hold this sign. Is this even City Hall?”
Although changing a local ordinance can cause some uproar, as this one did, the funny thing is just about all of our pre-existing bar problems went away. It seemed a lot of the problems were happening between 2 and 4 in the morning. Good advice: If you can’t get it done by 2, cut your losses and hit the Waffle House or just go home.
Laws that are badly needed
There are two laws that I would love to see as soon as possible:
1) A new law that would ban the sound effect of screeching brakes and breaking glass on AM and/or FM radio.
There I was just driving along on 400, listing to crummy drive-time radio and wishing I had a better CD collection, when suddenly I hear screeching brakes! I reacted by scrunching up my shoulder around my ears and putting the death-grip on the steering wheel as I awaited the impact.
Several things ran through my mind:
It takes only a second or two before you realize all this stress is actually coming from the radio and not real life. For me, I can’t just shake it off. That is a serious freak-out and I cannot just bounce back. I have to pull over and just lie there in the fetal position for an hour.
If you can’t sell insurance or your legal practice without using screeching tires and brakes laced with the impact sound of glass shattering, then maybe you need to move your advertising to the side of a bus.
2) My second new law would ban the “Siren of Death.”
Not the distant siren that slowly gets louder, but rather the exploding siren that tells you that whatever is coming already got here, and there’s a good chance you’re being run over!
Two words: Heart attack!
This, too, must be banned forever.