Recently, Salt Lake City enacted an ordinance requiring owners of restaurants with drive-through windows to allow bikes and pedestrians to order from the drive-through. This seems to me to be a silly and somewhat misguided law, but the motivations behind it are understandable, and it’s within the authority of the Salt Lake City Council to enact.
Business owners tended to oppose the new law, as it exposed them to more potential liability and would likely result in increased cost. Having lost the battle at their local government, these business owners commenced the time-honored political tradition of taking the matter to the “higher-ups,” our representatives in the state legislature.
They found a sympathetic ear in Rep. Johnny Anderson, who sponsored H.B. 160, Drive Through Service Amendments, which would prohibit a local government from requiring business operating a drive-through window to provide services to bicyclists and pedestrians.
You see, the Utah legislature, by virtue of enumerating the powers allocated to municipal governments through legislation, has full preemptive authority over local laws. When it comes to its relationship with geographically inferior governments, the Utah State Legislature is like Congress on steroids.
And despite the constant stream of federalism rhetoric out of the Utah legislature since President Obama was took office in 2009, the Utah legislature is now apparently in the business of micromanaging to prevent stupid decisions of local government.
Getting into the business of culling out stupid laws of other jurisdictions can involve a lot of work. Luckily, our legislature has serious online resources like DumbLaws.com to assist them now that it’s decided to pick up the gauntlet.
Here are a few other stupid municipal (or county) laws that our legislature should consider banning:
- Kaysville. You must have identification to enter a convenience store after dark. #RightToShop
- Logan. Women may not swear. #%*$&#!EqualRightTo#&$*
- Monroe. Daylight must be visible between partners on a dance floor. #RightToGrind
- Ogden. Only animal services officials and policemen may molest animals. #NeverMind
- Ogden. Persons are only allowed to keep one cow on their property. #WheresTheBeef?
- Provo. Throwing snowballs will result in a $50 fine. #RightToFight
- Salt Lake County. No one may walk down the street carrying a paper bag containing a violin. #LIndsayStirling
- Salt Lake County. Auctions may not be advertised by hiring trombone players to play on the street. #TromboneShorty
- Tremonton. It is illegal to have sex in a moving ambulance and if you are caught the guy is let go and the woman is punished and her name appears in a newspaper. #EqualRightToProcreateWhileDeathlyIll
- Trout Creek. Pharmacists may not sell gunpowder to cure headaches. #RightToTryPart2. Representatives Ray and Chavez-Houck might want to get together on this one.
Each of the above was taken verbatim from http://www.dumblaws.com/laws/united-states/utah, and not separately verified. But hey — why do we need verification anyway? After all, these *would be* stupid laws were they enacted, so let’s act now to prevent such a thing. I mean, when has the inability to verify actual need precluded legislation, anyways?
What say you, citizens of Utah toiling under unjust (or just crazy) municipal laws: What other laws should our activist legislature preempt or prevent?