By Michael Howlett
January 8, 2014
With the New Year, come new laws. Yes, yes, I know Congress didn’t do jack, but state legislators, that’s a different story. Those rascals were busy passing laws on everything from placentas to marijuana.
However, before I address the new laws that made the national news, let us look at Old Dominion lawmakers. One thing they did was require annual performance evaluations for teachers, principals and public schools. Now, when I hear teachers are going to be evaluated, I immediately get defensive. The Mistress of the Manor taught for 35 years and I’ve had two short, but illustrious substitute-teaching stints. Throw in all the teachers I have known over the years and I know something about teaching.
Too often, when the idea of evaluating teachers comes up, test scores are mentioned. Now, it’s real freakin’ easy to appear to be an outstanding teacher if all your students are AP or Honors students. It’s the teachers in the trenches, guiding the less gifted students who have the hard job. And no matter how hard those teachers work, their students aren’t going to have the highest test scores. Heck, in some school systems just avoiding being stabbed is a sign of a good teacher. So, if we’re going to judge teachers, do it on something other than test scores.
I guess the law state legislators passed that I like the best is SB969 which repeals the 1950 law against “lewd and lascivious cohabitation.” Now, anyone who knows me knows that I’m fine with lewd and lascivious. In fact, I attempted to major in that at college, but was told that wasn’t a real major, just a lifestyle. If you can’t be lewd and lascivious while cohabitating, where can you be lewd and lascivious? The bus station? An interstate rest stop? On the Blue Ridge Parkway? Well, actually I think it’s a yes to all those, but still it’s nice to know you are not breaking the law when you get lewd and lascivious in your own abode.
Now, let’s turn to new laws going into effect in the rest of the country. The first one was long overdue and was adopted by my new favorite state, Colorado, which joined Washington state in legalizing marijuana, not for medical use mind you, but for fun. Yes, now in the Rocky Mountain State, you can stroll into your friendly neighborhood cannabis establishment, lay down your money and walk out with a bag of weed, chest out and head high. I think most people in this country have come to realize that marijuana is much safer than alcohol or cigarettes, and can be a boost to the economy, generating jobs and adding to a state’s tax revenue. It’s a win-win, the tokers are happy and the state’s coffers are happy.
As for other states, Oregon will now allow mothers to take their placentas home from the hospital after childbirth. Now, why would mothers do such a thing you may ask? Well, to make a placenta casserole of course. Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it? Now, eating the placenta is not voodoo or mountain granny lore. No, science has shown that ingesting the placenta has positive health benefits. Science has also proven removing half your brain will not significantly impact who you are, but I’m not about to try it.
As for Illinois, there is now a lemon law for pet owners. Say you buy the cutest little pugsy wugsy you ever saw, get it home and a week later you notice its eyes are focused in different directions. A day later, it then begins to stagger about while excreting from every orifice. In the past, you would just have to shoot the little bugger, but thanks to a new law you can return it to the seller and demand your money back. Not only are you entitled to the return of the purchase price, but any treatment cost. However, don’t shoot it, no matter how repulsive it is, before you try to return it.
The new law I think could be the most abused is one adopted in California. In the Golden State, transgender students will now be allowed to play whichever sport or use whichever restroom they feel most comfortable with. Now, I feel for the transgender students, who we all know take abuse on a daily basis. Heck, in high school, the least variance from the norm draws abuse, so you know a guy in makeup or the girl with a mustache is going to catch hell.
However, I think this law can be taken advantage of. For example, Biff, an all-conference linebacker comes to school one day with painted nails and eye shadow, and proclaims he is transgender and feels more comfortable using the girls’ restroom. Now, has Biff come to terms with his sexual orientation or does he just want to get a look at Veronica’s all-American qualities. It could even work the opposite way — Brittany butches it up one day and declares she is more comfortable using the boys’ restroom. Well, there’s several sordid scenarios here, but we won’t get into them. That’s one to watch.