And now, the latest rundown of some of the more unusual bills that state lawmakers currently have on their dockets.
Michigan: Go on, pet that bear cub.
A Michigan measure would make it legal for people to have contact with bear cubs in the state—so long as the cubs are under 9 months old or weigh under 90 lbs. The amendment to the “Large Carnivore Act,” introduced by Republican Sen. Tom Casperson, would allow for better photo-ops on the state’s “bear ranches,” businesses that put animals on display for “education or exhibition purposes.” Despite some growling from Democrats, the bill passed the Senate this week. And Republican Gov. Rick Snyder has expressed support for people getting up close and personal with baby bears.
Nevada: Pay attention, pedestrians!
Most states already ban drivers from texting while they’re on the road. Now Nevada lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it illegal for pedestrians to text or browse the Web while crossing the street. While the legislation, introduced by Democratic Assemblyman Harvey Munford, specifies “highways” as the no-texting zones, Munford has said he wants it to apply to all roads, including those in residential areas. Cities such as Fort Lee, N.J., have passed similar bans against so-called “dangerous walking.”
Florida: Don’t you dare dye that bunny.
In 2012, Florida lawmakers overturned a long-standing ban on dyeing baby chicks and bunnies, a controversial Easter-related activity. But Democratic Senator Maria Sachs is trying to bring it back. Though the bill would outlaw the artificial coloring of any animal, Sachs specifically lays out protections for Easter favorites: rabbits, baby chickens and ducklings. It would also prohibit the sale of such creatures, unless done for agricultural purposes.
North Carolina: Cover up, ladies.
Following women’s rights rallies in Asheville, at which some ladies got topless, conservative lawmakers want to make it clear that baring breasts amounts to indecent exposure–and is therefore a felony. It’s already illegal to flash one’s private parts in North Carolina. The proposed bill would clarify that “private parts” include parts of the female bosom. During a hearing this week, according to Fox News, one of the bill’s sponsors “said a blanket solution is needed to give law enforcement officers statewide the clear authority to make arrests when nipples are exposed.”
Kentucky: Hemp sandals on the horizon?
This week the Bluegrass State Senate passed a bill that would regulate hemp if the federal government lifts its ban on the substance. Kentucky was once the nation’s leading grower of the marijuana relative, which can be used to make clothing and carpeting among other things. Republican Sen. Paul Hornback, who introduced the bill, is championing the potential economic impact of the crop, while critics are worried that ganja growers would take advantage of such a measure, sneaking pot plants into hemp fields.