February 28, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

New Laws: No More Texting While You’re Drunk and Other Lifesavers:

Well, okay, as long as you’re not driving at the same time. On January 1, many new California laws kicked in and for the most part they seem to make sense. It might be true of some of them that they reflect a good intent, yet in practice may not exactly crush the problems they are meant to solve. But that’s law; it’s a best effort. Speeding tickets don’t stop everyone from speeding, but they stop me from speeding. Tickets, and the fact that my ’88 station wagon produces a high-pitched whine above 50 miles per hour. Imagine the lead singer from the rock band Boston hitting that note on “More Than a Feeling”… only you can’t shut it off until you drop your speed to 45.

Still, we should review some of the new laws so that we’re clear on how they might impact our own lives. This way, you can’t say you weren’t warned if you get busted for human trafficking. You know, the way they’ll open a cargo container on a ship and find that it’s full of people and then the captain says, “Now you tell me it’s illegal!” We don’t want that happening to any Mirror readers in the coming New Year.

Human Trafficking

It’s now illegal in California to deduct from future wages any cost of bringing a person into the United States or the person immigrating. What we’re uncertain about is, let’s say you’re a 7 ft. 5 in. basketball player in Shanghai. Since you’re taller than most humans, would it be okay if the Houston Rockets covered your travel expenses since the only way you’ll fit on an airliner is lying down…? Or foreign TV show formats. If we keep getting “new” shows that are just formats from overseas brought over for American audiences, shouldn’t somebody pay a fine? Can we charge it to Simon Cowell, even if he’s not directly responsible? What if we sent him back to England in a shipping container… would that be legal?

No More 911 Burger Inquiries

Calling 911 for the nearest Jack in the Box location? That’s over, pal. I know, after doing that weed you got from Jerry, it was an emergency. But starting this year, there will be fines for knowingly using 911 lines for anything other than an honest-to-goodness emergency. Perhaps this will bring about creation of the “Not Quite an Emergency” lines that we’ve needed for years. For example, can’t we have a line where we report single shoes found on the highway so that the other shoe, when found, is reunited with its mate? Was it Gandhi who said, “I felt badly for a man who had but one shoe, until I met a man who found the other shoe on the 405 near the airport…”?

Toys in the Car

I don’t know what it says about Californians that we need laws to tell us not to phone and drive, not to text and drive, and not to have GPS devices glued onto the windshield such that we can’t see what’s coming at us. But we now have those laws. Apparently it’s still legal to drive with a Chihuahua dog jumping up and down in your lap, since I see that all the time. I’m not sure where all this turned, but it must have been back in the 60s when they started putting those little white packets of silica gel in boxes with new binoculars and stereos… and had to write on the packet “Don’t eat this!” (Of course, that sort of made sense, as there was a lot of eating of chemicals back then.) In either case, we’re being saved from an America where you’re driving down the freeway texting your brother-in-law that it’s Friday, the night you two always get together to eat silica gel and rip the tags off of mattresses.

Mobile Phonies

It’s now a crime to forge or counterfeit a DMV clean air sticker that verifies a low emission vehicle and thus allows you to drive in the carpool lane. Although if you act quickly, I can hook you up with some McCain/Palin bumper stickers. They also loosen up traffic, since few people will want to drive near you, fearing that you’re packing heat or a recently shot moose. Also new in 2009: Police officers can impound the cars being offered by anyone acting as a used car dealer without a license. No word yet on a law that would punish used car dealers for acting like they’re your friend.

Get Well Soon

In 2009 hospitals will have to develop more comprehensive policies to ensure that patients are not infected while in medical facilities. No medical facility worth it’s salt (or silica gel) would ever knowingly create infectious hazards, but we’re now living in a time when new strains of “bugs” can create mass ill health and worse. I’m not sure just how germ-free we can make our modern world. Remember all the people out at LAX with medical masks on because we feared avian flu? And at that same moment, our kids were playing with toys painted in China. I only make the point because over the weekend I got a cold after attending a party. Was it a friendly kiss hello, or something in the shrimp? A napkin I shouldn’t have trusted to be clean? A can of Coke pulled to my lips after being handled by who knows how many other people? What about that guy with the feeble soul patch and the weird glasses. He didn’t look healthy at all. Oh, wait… that was me.

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