Perspectives: How many laws does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

OPINION – During the past election season, candidate after candidate spouted the evils of our bloated government in their election speeches and vowed to limit government.

So, have the promises panned out?

Here is the irony of our political system.

 We vote in elected officials who promise to limit government.

•  To gain our approval as a hard working politician, they must be productive.

•  They write more laws that bloat government and create more restrictions.

•  We applaud their list of accomplishments and even pay them for their “productivity.”

•  And, then of course, we re-elect them, after they promise to limit government, again.

This is why year after year we have hundreds and hundreds of bills that offer new legislation in the State of Utah.

This is also why last year we had over 40,000 new pieces of legislation enacted in the United States.

Would we be able to fully appreciate an honest politician who gave a candidacy speech like this:

“To get the job, I will tell you what you want to hear; but let’s face it, you want me to pass silly laws that aren’t very necessary so that I will look like I am hard at work on behalf of you, the citizen. I will offer solutions to problems that you didn’t even know we had. Because, without a record of bills passed by me, you will deem me ineffective. So, just vote me in and look the other way. I will remain busy making a name for myself as a career politician and you will be comforted by my campaign speeches as government continues to grow.”

I am guessing this would not get the jubilant applause of a huge audience, but at least it would be honest. I am not saying all politicians act this way, and some in fact are very good at fighting for the rights of the citizens. Yet, once the campaign promises are made, do we hold their feet to the fire and demand that they actually, do, limit government?

According to Adam Brown’s April 4, 2012, article “The Utah legislature passes far more bills than Congress,” “during any given two-year period, Utah’s legislature tends to enact roughly 300 new laws for every 1 million residents. Meanwhile, Congress enacts roughly 1 or 2 for every million residents

Senate Rules Committee Chairman John Valentine said the Utah Legislature so far introduced 483 bills this year. In fact, according to a May 10, 2011, article by Matthew Piccolo published by the Sutherland Daily News and Views on Utah Public Policy, each year we see an increase of 5.3 percent in new bills seeking passage. At what point is enough, enough?

Will there ever be a time when we say, all right, we have enough codes, legislation, regulations and laws? The Founding Fathers started this country with a few documents of governing laws.

After the passage of more than a million laws, are we better off today?

I would love to see a politician do nothing more than spend their time in office repealing laws that are cumbersome and detrimental to our Constitutional rights. Do those politicians exist?

Do we need Hookah Pipe law? Brad Last, of Hurricane, insists that we do. I never realized we had  such a rampant problem of hookah pipes in Utah, but 2012 legislation offered a solution to this problem when it passed. Whew! Because I was tripping over Hookah pipes constantly as I ventured into my work place.

Do we need an anti-discrimination bill for gays? According to Utah Sen. Steve Urquhart, it’s long over due and should be law.

How do you criminalize people’s behavior and force them to accept others. Despite the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s, we still have racism in America.  If someone is discriminatory, how do you prove discrimination? Does this just give special groups more rights than others? Will an employer now feel compelled to hire someone based on sexuality instead of merit because they are afraid of a lawsuit? How is that fair? Can we make people respect people with the threat of imprisonment and fines? Have politicians run out of things to legislate, so now we are busy legislating behavior?

In Utah, do we really need a law to pull someone dying out of a lake? Do we need bills that forbid people to smoke in their cars with kids? Do we need laws that make us celebrate the anniversary of wars? Can we do all of these things without a law in place?

Just our locally elected state representatives and senators from Washington and Iron counties combined are responsible for sponsoring over 30 bills themselves in the 2013 General Session, not to mention the amount of bills that they co-sponsored, which was higher than that. Were all of those bills necessary and needed?

Maybe some were. But shouldn’t we all care a little bit more about the amount of laws that seem to sail through legislation just because politicians think we need them?

What if our own local politicians would have enacted legislation to repeal over 30 laws for this last session? Shouldn’t that be the role of a politician –to be a watchdog and protector for our natural rights by limiting government encroachment? In the next election round, let’s ask our candidates what they have done or what they can do to limit government overreach and then hold their feet to the fire throughout their term. Let’s ask them what bills they would like to repeal instead of promises of limiting government. I’m guessing this would result in much shorter campaign speeches.

Related posts

Constitutional carry bill passes as anti-discrimination bill dies

Perspectives: Discrimination shouldn’t be a criminal act

ON Kilter: The litmus test for laws and government

On the EDge: Legislature moving backwards

Legislation can’t fix everything (OPINION)


Kate Dalley is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are hers and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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  • Curtis March 15, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    And when our Lords And Masters in SLC need to take a break from passing unneeded and quite possibly harmful legislation they give impassioned speeches condemning the Nanny State being forced on us from

  • J. Robertson March 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    A excellent article. Kate Dalley know the truth and has the go – –ads to express what a lot of us are feeling. -Did you notice how St. George News allowed the article to be published (thanks) then immediately point the finger at Dalley for writing it and not them? Fair and balanced and no go—ads, I guess.

    • William March 15, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      There is nothing wrong with a paper allowing its editorial page to be used for opinions that MAY oppose the editor’s or owner’s. It is not essential that they agree with everything those of opposing opinions say. Unlike the national media sources, that in fact filter their writers to assure compliance with owner opinions, the St. George News should be lauded for openness.

  • William March 15, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Full agreement with this article. One of our national senators appears to love legislation. Sen. Hatch seems to have never met a new piece of legislation he didn’t love.

    It is interesting that nearly every legislator in America views themselves as a modern Moses. That act like it takes 10,000,000 laws to enforce the Ten Commandments. One phrase I like to describe most candidates is that they “run retarded and are elected with genius” . A few years ago in California the state legislature was faced with a potential bankruptcy of the state. What did the elected officials do. They passed a bill establishing a “No Swearing” day. Now, that BS was worth cussing at some damn fool in Sacramento about.

  • Karen March 16, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Here we go again. Just like Fox opinionist Bryan Hyde, Kate Dalley casually dismisses the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because “we still have racism in America”. Maybe they should actually study the history of civil rights in America, especially for blacks and how far we have come as a nation in creating “justice for all”. And yes, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a big part of it. Gone are the “whites only” signs at public accommodations like drinking fountains, hotels, and restaurants. Gone are “sitting at the back of the bus” rules just because you’re skin is a darker color than the whiter people. Gone are poll taxes and other “laws” that kept citizens from voting.

    I still remember the day in 1963 when Governor Wallace of Alabama was shown on tv, standing in front of a University of Alabama building, barring the way for black students to attend and vowing “segregation yesterday, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. I really don’t think that Americans, as a whole, are so dismissive of landmark legislation like Civil Rights Act.

    • Bryan Hyde March 16, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Your disagreement is based in the fallacy that everything depends upon legislation, including how we ought to treat one another. This gives opportunistic politicians a stature they do not deserve. Ask yourself this: would you be looking for ways to discriminate against those who are different from you if the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the 1965 Voting Rights Act were no longer the law? If your answer is “no” then what makes you think that you’re the only one capable of exercising civility toward others? I suspect that you’re rather like the rest of us who choose to be civil simply because we believe it’s the right way to treat one another, not because the law is forcing us to.

      • Karen March 18, 2013 at 8:45 am

        From living through the 60’s civil rights movement (although not in the South, I admit) it seems to me that the Civil Rights Act was much more than treating people with civility. You make a philosophical argument about how the laws don’t change behavior but, in the long term, they do. Of course, there is still racism in America. That will always be true. What I object to from you and Kate Dalley is the seemingly dismissive attitude you convey about a historic piece of legislation. Your arguments have merit in some sense about laws in general but your example using the Civil Rights Act is so far in left field that I was shocked.

        • philiplo March 18, 2013 at 10:53 am

          You weren’t alone in being shocked, Karen. I’m glad you found your voice and spoke up, as that particular portion of the opinion piece left me speechless.

  • William March 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

    I have posted this question several times on Facebook and have yet to hear anyone answer it with other the smart-alec answers.

    At what point does one person have the justification to deprive another of their RIGHTS in order to accommodate their own DESIRES, without that person’s consent?

    Now for my analysis:

    Government is the mere extension of the will of individuals. In some case it extends the will of a despot. In other cases it extends the will of a just and fair society. America, whether you agree or not, was based upon the principle that natural rights were sacrosanct. That means that each person was responsible for their capitalizing on the opportunities presented to them in life.

    Government, in the USA has no greater rights than any individual. Government may not, in limited circumstances or in the extreme, impose upon the rights of one over another. Regardless of how “noble” the cause, neither I, you, nor the government has a right to impose upon another, with their consent.

    An extreme example: Organ donation has a propensity to limit the quality and tenure of one’s life. Therefore, does the government (or you and I) have the right to require that one person donate a kidney to another who needs one, with the donor’s consent? More graphically, does the government have the right to lower the quality of life of one…to potentially improve the quality of life for another? I say no.

    At what point does one person have the justification to deprive another of their RIGHTS in order to accommodate their own DESIRES, without that person’s consent?

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