April 2, 2007

Boland bill craters

This is old news... at least a few days... but I wanted to note it. Rep. Mike Boland's bill to ban smoking in cars in the presence of young children went down in flames, 91-18.

Guess it's proof that you can take nanny-state legislation only so far.

And that the system that makes legislators literally desperate to find something, ANYthing to put their name on and introduce often results in hare-brained ideas, and far, far, far too many laws in general.

When legislators behave like they're being paid by the bill, and when they crow about the number of bills they've authored or glommed onto as if it's some sort of score card, bad things result.

When candidate A says of candidate B, "Well, look, he's only sponsored 10 bills!", don't think that's a bad thing. 10 decent and half-way justified bills is far better than 50 half-baked, useless, and needlessly restrictive bills anyday.


At 4/02/2007 12:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand how this bill was a bad idea. I read some of the quotes from those that opposed it, and they made no sense. One such stated that this wouldn't work as law because you would need "Smoke Police" to enforce it. Uh, isn't drinking and driving illegal? Do we have "Drink Police"? What about seat belts, do we have "Seat Belt Police"?

Anyway, the way I see it, the state government is sending a really strange message on this one:

It is ILLEGAL for minors to smoke, yet it is LEGAL for parents to smoke while sharing a small enclosed space with their children.

So, from a child's perspective: we can legislate that you can't smoke, but we can't do anything about your parents holding you hostage in a smoke filled car.

This should be law. At least for children still in car seats. Perhaps going the route of child endangerment would have been better.

At 4/02/2007 12:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

In my opinion this just isn't a viable law, nor legitimate.
OK, you bust some poor slob for smoking with small kids in the car. You fine them, that money comes out of the kids mouth in the case of very poor people. What has it accomplished?

One person who'll be sure to hold the cig down when they see a cop.


It's the slippery slope involved. You bust people for smoking with small kids in the car. (and it always seems these anti-smokers assume that smokers drive around with all the windows rolled up tight so you can't even see through the smoke. yeah, right.)

Then these same poor slobs go home and abuse their kid, or feed them sugary gunk, or routinely psychologically harm them or abuse them, are you going to make laws against all of that?

Will people someday be sitting in jail because they damaged their child's self-esteem?

It's got to stop somewhere. The law has to end at some point and some matters left to personal responsibility.

With so many HUGE issues threatening our society and political system, from cash overrunning politics like cancer, to the greatest income inequality since the depression, to radical conservatives trying to pervert our very way of governing.... I think there's better uses for government than making sure no one runs with scissors or goes swimming within 20 minutes of eating, etc.

At 4/02/2007 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mike Boland is not exactly the most popular member in the Illinois House. Many of his colleagues say they just don't trust his word. I used to like the guy. I thought he was plucky in face of overwhemling odds. Then I saw close hand a couple of years ago why he wasn't trusted.

Boland also introduced more than his fair share of goofy bills. One of those bills crashed and burned yestereday..."

- The Blogfather, Rich Miller
Friday, March 30, 2007

At 4/02/2007 7:48 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

What's the roll call number on this? Can you show a link? What exactly were they voting on and were the 18 on Boland's side?

On the Michael Reagan Show today, he refuted the second hand smoke myth. He said that if it were true, everybody in his family (including the pets) would have died due to his mom Jane Wyman's smoking like a chimney. She is still alive and probably puffing away, too. Then callers called in with similiar anecdotes. Indeed, many old-timers smoke like fiends and they live to a ripe old age and those around them seem to be just fine.

I know Boland and he means well but sometimes his ideas border on crackpot-dom. He just gets carried away.

A better idea would be to go through the existing laws and abolish them as needed.

At 4/02/2007 9:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

worst state rep ever... plane and simple. currently the worst in the state. his seat mates in Springfield despise him and no one trust him. when will gianulis and madigan stop saving this man?

At 4/03/2007 7:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope, I think you're missing the point here. This isn't a case of running with scissors or swimming after eating. This is a case where a parent is running with scissors, while holding their child in their arms.

I just think it's a shame that a child, especially those confined to a car seat, should have to endure something like this. How is this different from a parent putting a baby in a car seat, bringing the baby and some cigarettes into a crawl space, and proceeding to burn a couple down? If DCFS knew about something like this, they would rush in and take the kids, right? If the media got a hold of it, it would be front page news and the leading story at 10:00.

I guess in my opinion it's sad that these kids have to deal with this. Dope, did you know that cigarette smoke, even passive cigarette smoke is a significant risk factor for SIDS.

You made a few assumptions (or at least implications) with your reply that I don't agree with:

1. Most offenders would be poor. (Therefore the fine would come straight out of the child's mouth)

2. People would disregard the law altogether and hold their cigarettes down when they passed a cop.

3. Having windows cracked keeps the children from being impacted by the smoke.

Now, perhaps getting a law like this on the books would make people stop and think. The notoriety it would generate might be enough to cause some social reform. Therein would be the deterrent, not the fine. When you pulled next to people at the stoplight, they'd shake their head in disgust. You have to recognize the correlation between guilt and reform. Sure, it might not work for everyone, but it would work for some.

To address the slippery slope (a term which is vastly overused), how is this any different from our current child safety seat laws? The intent is the same: protect the children from unnecessary risk. The enforcement would be the same. The parents would be guilty of the same thing: negligence. The cost for parents would be nothing, while the cost of those car seats is significant.

I think the slippery slope excuse is just an easy excuse for politicians to use when voting against something that they know could be used against them come re-election time.

Dope, I think you were quick to look at this from a different angle than me. You see this as the government taking cigarettes away from smokers; I see this as taking reasonably clean breathing air away from children.

I wonder how much traction this bill would have had had it been brought by someone more popular with his colleagues than Boland.

At 4/03/2007 7:47 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Just a quick response... first, smoking in a car is NOT like being in a crawl space. Crack the window and most of the smoke is pulled out the window.

Also, YES, most drivers would most definitely simply hold their cigarettes down to hide them from a cop.

While perhaps this proposed law could be lumped in with other laws such as motorcycle helmet laws, etc. I think they're all part of a really bad trend.

This law simply was not justified. There's most certainly not any provable evidence that smoking in a moving car for a few moments is going to cause permanent damage to a child.

It's not going to HELP their health, of course, but this just goes too far, which is my point.

Smoking around kids is simply not "child abuse" in the classic sense anymore than is yelling at them or calling them names or exibiting dubious behavior in front of them, and that goes on millions of times a day.

You might want to "save the children" and make the world a perfect place, but .... this is a supposedly free country where people are not only free to do great things, but they should be free to do dumb things as well.

As far as somehow passing three thousand laws to try to protect children from every hazard they might face, the very idea is ludicrous, and I feel that laws such as this fall into that catagory.

Life is risky. The courts are already beyond jammed. We don't need stuff like this.

And anyone that smokes with infants in the car sure the hell isn't going to suddenly feel "shame" just because they get a ticket.

They probably smoke around the house 12 hours a day or more and you're trying to get cops and the courts involved when they smoke a minute or two in a car?

Sorry... still can't go for it.

At 4/03/2007 8:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree Dope, that is why I think those with the courage to vote down these laws that threaten our civil liberties should be commended.

Who is this Rich Miller who said this about Boland?

At 4/03/2007 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hiya Dope . . .

Only somebody with the self appointed moniker of Dope would say the following . . . "There's most certainly not any provable evidence that smoking in a moving car for a few moments is going to cause permanent damage to a child."

Methinks you are letting your personal addiction to nicotine "cloud" your judgement. Second hand smoke is harmful, even in small amount. These are kids we are talking about dope, and if their own parents aren't smart enough to protect them, then society has a place.

At 4/03/2007 12:48 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Ya know what? I don't smoke.

But you're full of it if you truly think exposure to wisps of smoke for a few minutes is going to permanently damage ANYONE.

You really need to get over the crusader mentality and stop the anti-smoking jihad and start letting a bit of common sense seep through.

If what you say is the truth, then millions of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts would be laying in hospitals gasping for breath due to exposure to campfires.

Better start a campaign to make those illegal too.

Remember: S'mores Kill!!

Boy... look what happens when you think you can save the world through well-meaning, but goofy legislation.

At 4/03/2007 12:51 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 8:21

Rich Miller is the preeminent political blogger/reporter in Illinois and among many projects, writes a weekly syndicated column which can be read in the River City Reader, as well as publishes "Capitol Fax", the grand-daddy of all political blogs in Illinois.

See Capitol Fax's link in the sidebar.

At 4/03/2007 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The EPA seems to think there is a reasonable chance that second hand smoke in a car is a problem:


As does the Canadian Cancer Society:


As does the Lung Association:


As does Health Canada:


As does the National Jewish Medical and Research Center:


Dope, you've said a lot of things that I've agreed with, but this is not one of them:

"There's most certainly not any provable evidence that smoking in a moving car for a few moments is going to cause permanent damage to a child."

Also, your use of the questionable campfire analogy is ludicrous. Campfires don't have the same ingredients as cigarettes. Campfires are not very common inside of cars.

Maybe Jacobs has finally succeeded in buying out the Dope; I've seen these tactics before on this blog...

At 4/03/2007 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Mike Boland ever introduced legistation that was passed and signed into law?

Me thinks he is still pitching a no hitter.

At 4/03/2007 11:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

You're obviously a zealot on this issue as you've long ago moved beyond reason.

I have never suggested nor do I believe that cigarette smoke is somehow benign and harmless.

I do say that brief exposure to such smoke is not going to cause any damage to anyone.

And if you think campfire smoke isn't just as toxic and chock full of chemicals, etc, then I suggest you stick your head over the next campfire you're at and take a nice deep suck on the smoke.

Yeah, campfires aren't in cars, as you so wisely point out. But kids do sit around them for hours inhaling that smoke. No one is suggesting to sic the police on the Boy Scouts or family campers.

And again, I fail to see how harassing people who are too addicted or dumb to avoid smoking around small children is going to accomplish ANYTHING other than wasting cops and the courts time and maybe bringing in some more revenue to the state.

These people smoke. They're very much addicted. They smoke at home in all liklihood. They spend far, far more time at home with their kids than in the car.

So what? Are you going to establish a police force to barge into people's homes and see if they're smoking too close to their children?

Face it, you're simply trying to legislate addiction.

Eliminating smoking would be great in a perfect world. But until you ban the multi-billion dollar tobbcco companies from both marketing and selling them, then you're always going to have those who become hopelessly addicted to them.

Beating on them with foolish laws is not the way to go in my opinion.

Why not establish free smoking cessation programs that provide free or reduced cost patches or gum or whatever is needed and also counselling and follow up to ensure that people can stand a chance of breaking the grip of addiction?

With all these goofy ideas focusing on the addict, you're missing the forrest for the trees.

Much progress has been made in preventing kids from starting to smoke in the first place, and that is truly the only hope.

In the future, with all the stigmatizing and often overboard anti-smoking measures and with greater education in schools to prevent kids from ever starting, I'm sure that smoking, while never eliminated, will at least be greatly reduced.

And the idea that because I hold these views means I've somehow been paid off or influenced by Jacobs or anyone else is simply preposterous.

I simply believe that some ideas, even well-meaning ones, are most definitely not wise or practical.

I've been accused of being "extreme" left, "fringe" left, and made out as embodying every possible negative about anyone who's ever held a liberal belief.

But the fact remains that I do think for myself, and though I am in favor of some public "protection" legislation, I am firmly convinced that things have gone over the line in the past decade or so.

I applaud the mega-lawsuits brought by states against the tobacco giants, but beyond that, I sincerely think that beating on smokers beyond what they already are is both counter-productive and excessive.

Same applies to helmet laws, and other such measures which are there mostly due to insurance company dictates in order to cut their losses.

While each of these may seem entirely justifiable, and may actually be, they represent just another tiny step towards such smothering regulation and suppression of personal liberty that if allowed to continue un-opposed, would result in a very bad and overly-oppressive situation.

There's so many silly laws already that 99% of people could probably be cited or arrested muliple times on any given day if there were a cop hovering over them.

There's got to be a limit.

Add to that the fact that most of these laws are the product of unimaginative and ambitious lawmakers scraping the barrel for something to put in their newsletters, and the situation isn't good.

At 4/04/2007 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is this different from the child safety seat laws? Where was the slippery slope on that one? Were police barging into houses to make sure that children were wearing seatbelts on their couches?

Comparing campfires and cigarettes is what is termed "questionable analogy" in the world of propaganda. Questionable analogies are an oft used tool of Jacobs. Perhaps that's why the comparison was drawn.

Campfires are typically outside, and the fuel is typically wood. The wood doesn't often contain tar, or nitrosamine, or benzopyrene. The smoke goes up into the atmosphere and dissipates. The fact that smoke is present is about the only parallel you can draw between the two. If Boyscouts stood over these fires and inhaled all night as you suggest, you might see people speaking out against it.

You keep inferring that these trips in the car are brief. What about longer trips? What about every day commutes in larger cities?

Again, we're looking at this from opposite perspectives. You see this as taking a "right" away from a smoker; I see it as defending the defenseless.

At 4/04/2007 8:21 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I have known Mike for about thirty years. I know him to be very idealistic and very progressive. He got to where he's at on his own merits with no help from the machine. I always wondered how Mike would perform in Springfield once he achieved his lifelong dream of serving in the legislature. Unfortunately, now the answer is clear.

Rich Miller's word you can take to the bank, and it is disappointing to hear that indeed MIke does not have a good reputation among colleagues. It sounds like the same old critcisms: that he still waffles and has "loyalty problems" and that it's his way or no way and that he is a gadfly. These are not new charges, but NOW coming from Rich Miller and other legislators, these criticisms of Boland have validity & credibility. It is no longer just a Jacobs conspiracy.

At 4/10/2007 9:37 AM, Anonymous Ted Smith said...

Mike Boland is the problem. This bill will pass at some point. With out Mike Bolands name on it.

At 4/13/2007 6:02 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

You can't legislate to prevent stupidity. If people want to kill themselves or harm the ones that have to live with them in any variety of ways they will. We can't get the manpower to ever enforce this type of bill even if it did pass.

We are better off spending money on education of our youth from K-12 and stop shorting the schools. If people become educated, you would be surprised how much better their choices would be on every level in their lives.....


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