And now, the latest in our occasional rundowns of some of the more unusual bills that state lawmakers currently have on their dockets.
Firearm-related bills are popping up all over the country like targets at a shooting range. Some would allow school janitors to carry weapons, while others would ban private gun sales. But only in the Show-Me State has a lawmaker proposed a bill that would criminalize the proposal of gun-control bills. The plan from Republican State Rep. Mike Leara “specifies that any member of the General Assembly who proposes legislation that further restricts an individual’s right to bear arms will be guilty of a class D felony.” Leara has told reporters that he’s not optimistic about passage, but he feels the bill sums up his position on Second Amendment rights.
Georgia: Where lewd photoshopping may be a crime
After having his head photoshopped onto the body of a porn star, Democratic Rep. Earnest Smith became one of six lawmakers to sponsor a bill that would outlaw the “electronic imposing of the facial image of a person onto an obscene depiction.” Smith told the Athens Banner-Herald that he believes “no one has a right to make fun of anyone,” even if citizens do have the right to free speech. Of course, Smith’s interview quickly led someone to create an online contest for who could photoshop the lawmaker’s face onto the best stuff (sample entries: Jabba the Hutt, cat on hind legs, “The Creation of Adam”).
Montana: Because meat hit by a car is still meat
Montana may soon join the handful of states that have explicitly made it legal to eat certain animals that are killed on highways and byways. Republican Rep. Steve Lavin, a state trooper, has said that he was inspired to craft the bill after seeing “a ton” of roadkill go to waste. The proposal, which recently passed the state House of Representatives, explicitly names big game animals–antelope, deer, elk and moose–as salvageable eats. It excludes animals such as bears and big horn sheep, which might “get hit by a car” so people could swipe their valuable horns or fur.
Massachusetts: Rockin’ out in the Commonwealth
Rolling Stone once described “Roadrunner,” a hit from ’70s punk group Modern Lovers, as the front man’s “wide-eyed ode to the suburban highways of his native Massachusetts.” (The song is largely about driving around all night with the “radio on!”) Democratic Rep. Marty Walsh has introduced the bill to sanctify the ’70s punk anthem as the Commonwealth’s official rock song, a designation already made by states such as Ohio, Georgia and Oklahoma. When Rolling Stone recently asked the band’s drummer what he thought of the proposal, he said, “Now that I see there’s a state muffin, I’m not so sure it’s such an honor.”*
Connecticut: Giving animals their day in court
If a cow is vandalized or maimed and the matter goes to court, there’s little hope of getting first-hoof testimony. But Connecticut lawmakers have proposed a solution: allow “animal advocates,” from among the state’s veterinarians, to stand-in for the animals themselves. The measure’s stated purpose is for such advocates to act “in a family relations matter that involves the care, custody and well-being of animal.” The bipartisan proposal follows the shooting of two cows on a local farm.
*The corn muffin became Massachusetts’ official muffin in 1986.