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Kirby: Nothing legal about everyday people enacting laws

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published May 13 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated May 16 2014 02:06 am

The legal landscape changed at the stroke of midnight Tuesday. If you haven’t been paying attention, you may want to check on the new laws that are now in effect.

Yeah, I thought that was funny, too. We don’t pay attention to the laws we already have, never mind the ones we just got. We ignore them until they catch up with us.

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The new bills signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert include more 80-mph speed limits and restrictions on payday lenders. You now can hunt without first completing a hunter safety course.

One of the new laws addresses the risks of cellphone use while driving. Kirb Bill 350 mandates the installation of driver-side rocket ejection seats in all vehicles (defined as anything with wheels) sold after 1899.

KB350 further provides rebates for the installation of switches in special vehicles (mine, Sonny’s, Killer’s, Bammer’s and one or two others) for the purposes of triggering these ejection seats whenever the driver is observed texting or talking on a cellphone.

Had KB350 been in effect two months ago near Lagoon, I would have flipped the switch and fired the clueless blonde gab hole in the Mary Kay pink Cadillac 100 feet into the air over Interstate 15.

Opponents point out a potential flaw with this new law — namely that no provisions were made for the accidents these suddenly driverless vehicles might cause.

I successfully argued that vehicles being operated by cellphone users were essentially already driverless, and that the next time these ratchet heads wanted to text behind the wheel, they better be wearing a helmet and a diaper.

Sorry. That’s how I would have crafted KB350. The actual new cellphone law is a lot less effective. Look it up if you don’t believe me ­— or you can wait for the police to explain it to you.

If I could have passed one law in Utah this year, it would have been KB350. I put a lot of idle thought and furious ranting into it. I had some others in line as well.


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My texting/talking phone bill narrowly beat out KB210 (legalizing the hunting of wildlife poachers with aerial drones) and KB131 (mandating the installation of carbon-monoxide detectors near the pulpits in all churches).

Everyone has a pet peeve or infuriating circumstance they would like to remedy with a law. If you could pass one this year with no questions asked, what would it be?

I asked some acquaintances and a few complete strangers this question. Their laws were every bit as disturbing as mine.

Grocery clerk: "Outlaw all guns … except bowling ball cannons."

Guy on TRAX Red Line: "Legislators who don’t drink alcohol would have to learn how."

Skater kid with nose stud: "Legalize drugs and not cruelty to living things."

Guy at courthouse TRAX stop: "Legally outlaw the LDS Church."

Guy who overheard that guy: "How about I legally kick your --- instead, pal?"

Woman in checkout line: "Free higher education for single mothers."

Female panhandler: "For everyone to go vegan immediately."

None of these are anywhere close to being actual laws, although I do rather like the first half of the last one and the last half of the first one. The rest, including my own, would have been vetoed for sure.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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