New laws, same hypocrisy

It’s October, and that means a whole new set of laws are being enacted in Connecticut. If you ever needed proof of how hard your elected officials are working, look no further than the highly anticipated laws governing flower seeds, the creation of kitchen incubators, new crane operations, the legislation of maple-sugaring activities, and “an act concerning captive insurance companies.”

I’m not usually one to rail against government interference. Truth be told, it’s all I can do to keep an eye on my lunch at work. However, new laws are rolled out on the first day of January, July and October, and this month Connecticut has rolled out dozens of new head-scratchers. For instance, under a new act, the DMV must require applicants for driver’s licenses or identity cards to indicate whether they consent or decline to be organ donors. Prior law required only that an applicant be given the opportunity to become an organ donor.

It makes me a bit nervous to discover that securing proof I’m a valid driver now comes with a demand to reveal my plans for my organs after I die. I’ve been a designated organ donor for years, but it sIeems like a reach for a government entity to force me to make a decision like that while at the DMV. No one should make important decisions at the DMV, with one exception: how to get the hell out of the DMV. People are not in a charitable mood after giving up an entire afternoon to fill out forms; they’re certainly not likely to give up a kidney.

Maybe that’s why new legislation authorizes the DMV to adopt procedures to issue licenses more quickly, and to charge up to $75 for this service. Let that sink in a moment: you could spend less time at the DMV! Of course it’s a blatant money grab for something they should be able to expedite for free, but you get to spend less time at the DMV! Another act allows organizations to advertise bazaars or raffles with sound trucks, billboards or television. After years of complaints about the lack of sound trucks, Hartford has finally listened to us. Huzzah.

Under an act regarding text and media messages, solicitors (regardless of whether a consumer is on the registry) “may only send, or cause to be sent, text or media messages for marketing or soliciting sales of consumer goods if the solicitor has received the consumer’s prior express written consent to receive such texts or messages.” Are there really people out there willing to provide express, written consent for these junk texts? If so, we need further legislation on who’ll be allowed to procreate (we can screen them at the DMV).

Another new law increases the penalties for “robo calls” (automated messages) and calls to consumers on the state Do Not Call list. Amazingly, our state legislators somehow forgot to address all the robo calls they make themselves around election time — these remain exempt from both the law books and common sense. Lawmakers portray these new rules as “helping the consumer” while still allowing themselves the right to exploit the loopholes they wrote into the Do Not Call registry. This is both condescending and transparent, and accordingly all politicians should be forced to spend extra time at the DMV.

Despite all the new legislation, Connecticut lawmakers have yet to discover a sense of irony. Amid the dozens of new laws requiring thousands of pages of documentation is one titled “An Act Eliminating Unnecessary Government Regulation.” Good luck with that, Hartford.

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