Massachusetts State Legislature: Hard at Work

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In our federal system of government, the states retain a great deal of authority and autonomy. This is despite the fact that their legislative bodies frequently seem determined to prove that this is a stupid idea.

Various sources have reported on Massachusetts Senate Bill 1384, which would address a vital public safety issue by prohibiting the possession of machetes. This does not apply if said machete is being transported for the purpose of cutting vegetation. It shall be presumed, however, that “such carrying of a machete is not for the purposes of cutting vegetation.” Happily, “[s]uch presumption may be rebutted.” Needless to say, any machete to be carried for the purposes of cutting said vegetation shall be registered with the local police department and a permit obtained to allow said vegetation to be cut with said machete.

Not to be outdone, the Mass. House of Representatives has introduced House Bill 1880, which would make it unlawful for any officer of the law to engage in “name-calling or profanity” whilst on duty. Other language in this cleverly drafted provision makes it unlawful to use “language which cast [sic] a negative reflection toward” a characteristic of any individual that would qualify as a “category of negative stereotyping.” This kind of language just screams constitutionality.

The stalwart legislators of Massachusetts have also proposed legislation to preclude children from riding in shopping carts (HB 1880) and to preclude operation of any kayak not equipped with a compass and whistle (HB 1934).