Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Now is not the time for a health care Constitutional amendment

While we’re on the subject of politicians with bad timing seeking to change the Constitution, let’s move our focus to another U.S. House member: Jesse Jackson Jr. He wants to add a health care provision to the Constitution.

From the bill:

``Section 1. All persons shall enjoy the right to health care of
equal high quality.
    ``Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce and implement
this article by appropriate legislation.''.

Don’t get me wrong: Mr. Jackson’s Constitutional amendment — along with several others he’s filed this session — seems to be in good faith. Yet, this doesn’t seem to be the best year for such an amendment.

Democrats will have to fight hard to even keep the latest health care law on the books as Republicans file bill after bill to reduce its effectiveness, including their absurdly partisan bill: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. So, perhaps instead of grandstanding, Mr. Jackson should be spending time looking into doable initiatives this session.

Rating: 2 tea bags

Click here to learn about the rating system. For archives of the Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, click here.

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, The Unemployed Life

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation: Unemployed? Florida lawmakers want you to work for free

Picture this scenario:

Your longtime job of 10 years laid you off. You were making an honest $40,000. Suddenly, you’re thrown into the same lot as thousands of other Floridians — unemployed with no job prospects. Hesitant, you apply for unemployment benefits. A few weeks later, you receive a check for $275. You look for work, online and off, unsuccessfully. After two months, belts tighten more. Your meager savings is almost depleted. The bills are piling up. You stop driving around filling out random applications, trying to save the gas for actual interviews or referrals.

Then, one morning while drinking day-old coffee, you read in the local newspaper that the Florida Legislature has mandated that you find an organization and work for them. For free. No money for gas or child care.

Call it volunteering.

That’s the latest unemployment-related bill — that does nothing to fix unemployment, by the way — from state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples Republican.  She’s the sponsor of HB 509, which is currently in the Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee.

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation

Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation is back for 2011!

It’s been two years since the last Bipartisan Guide to Ridiculous Legislation, but I’m happy to announce the Guide is back to track the most absurd bills in the 2011 legislative cycle.

It’s the perfect year, too.

Both locally and nationally, U.S. citizens are seeing some of the most reactionary law-making in years. The political atmosphere is decidedly partisan … and sometimes just plain mean. There are hundreds of new politicians looking to make a name for themselves with opportunistic legislation. And with record numbers of laid-off reporters and bankrupt media companies, it’s an impossible task to track the hundreds (thousands?) of bills coming up for a vote.

That’s where the Guide comes in.

But this year, I’m doing something different: I will focus mostly on federal legislation as oppose to only focusing on Florida’s fair share of foolish ideas.

If you remember from the past two installments of the Guide, I’ve used some kind of graphic to rate the idiocy of featured bills from 1 to 5. In 2008, I used “Bumper Nutz,” those wildly-colored genitals that rednecks like to put on the back of their trucks. In 2009, in honor of Florida Rep. Darryl Rouson’s “bong tax,” I rated ridiculous legislation with 1-5 bong hits, with “5 bong hits” being the most stoned bills coming out of the Florida Legislature.

This year, with the Tea Party movement changing the face of politics in Florida and nationally, I thought the rating system should reflect this new (bizarre) phenomenon of U.S. politics.

So I’m using teabags. I will rate bills by 1 to 5 teabags, with five teabags representing the worst concoction of a law – reactionary, wasteful, and of course, ridiculous.

For a complete list of all previous posts, click here.

(Photos of teabags courtesy of Andrew Coulter Enright / Flickr under Creative Commons licensing)