Posts Tagged ‘names of laws’

Ted Frank on laws named after victims

Laws named after sympathetic victims are sure-fire vote-getters, but they are usually bad laws. “A politician holds a press conference standing next to the victim’s family; this gets the bill on the news. Because of terse media coverage, voters think said law will actually do something for a victim or potential future victims, no matter what the real legal changes are.” [Ted Frank, L.A. Times]

For Prince’s name, perpetual posthumous protection?

In the aftermath of Prince’s death, lawyers representing the entertainer’s estate administrator have been pushing a posthumous right of publicity law in Minnesota. The proposed PRINCE Act (“Personal Rights In Names Can Endure”) would forbid the use of an individual’s name “in any medium in any manner” without consent, which critics say makes it a rare instance of a law that actually violates itself. [David Post/Volokh, Jacob Gershman/WSJ Law Blog]

New York: “Bill Would Let Cops ‘Field Test’ Your Phone After an Accident”

“All you really need to know about New York Senate Bill S6325A is that it would create a law named after a person (this one would be ‘Evan’s Law’), since any law named after a person is almost always a terrible idea. (See, e.g., ‘Caylee’s Law,’ a terrible idea in 2011.) If the law were a good idea, they wouldn’t need to try to generate support by manipulating people’s emotions.” But the law — which would empower police to demand inspection of your cellphone after any auto collision, for the stated purpose of seeing whether the recent use of it had distracted you, and would provide for automatic license suspension if you refused — is in fact a very bad idea. [Lowering the Bar]

Unanimous California high court overturns “Jessica’s Law” residence restrictions

In 2006 California votes approved the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act (a.k.a. Jessica’s Law) which, writes Jacob Sullum, “prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, without regard to the nature of the crimes they committed or the threat they currently pose.” Persons are added to the registry over offenses — indecent exposure after being caught urinating at 2 a.m. outside a bar, for example — that may have nothing to do with children, force, or even sexual conduct as such. Under the sweeping terms of the California law, persons on the register were prohibited from occupying an estimated 97 percent of the apartment-zoned land in San Diego County. Sullum: “In 2007 Georgia’s residence restrictions, which mandated the relocation of sex offenders dying in nursing homes and forced repeated moves as formerly legal homes became illegal, were unanimously overturned by the state Supreme Court, which observed that ‘there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected.’

Meanwhile, in Carson, Calif., the city council has declined to amend its strictest-in-the-state law, which “prevent[s] them from going within 300 feet of day-care centers, libraries, swimming pools, and any establishment with a children’s playground or school bus stop.” [Daily Breeze]

Peter Bonilla is reminded of why “laws named after dead kids are bad for freedom,” a theme we have pursued here and here, among other places in our names of laws tag.

Great moments in immigration law

When a near-unanimous Congress came together in 2008 to pass something with the moralistic, self-congratulatory name of the “William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection” Act, we should have braced ourselves for major, unintended, un-humanitarian consequences. And here they are. [Alex Nowrasteh, The Hill]

More: Now that the Wilberforce Act’s moral posturing has led to more actual trafficking, activist groups (see their open letter) are pressuring the White House not to fix the law [Charles Lane, Washington Post] “Congress likes to put fancy titles on its legislative handiwork, but they should probably just call everything the Law of Unintended Consequences, especially immigration bills.”

Maryland’s speech-chilling new “cyberbullying” law

I’ve got a short critique up now at Cato (earlier on the topic here). Proponents styled the enactment “Grace’s Law,” after a Howard County teenager who committed suicide; here’s Radley Balko on why “Laws named after crime victims and dead people are usually a bad idea.” While I believe the courts will eventually get around to striking it down, in the mean time the law will operate to chill some online speech.

P.S. Some recent thoughts from EFF’s Hanni Fakhoury on how laws can address the problem of harassment without being speech-unfriendly.

Labor law roundup

  • Union withdraws, and NLRB drops, complaint against Boeing over plant location decision [Adler, earlier] “Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) Introduces Bill to Reverse NLRB’s ‘Micro-Union’ Decision” [LRT via @jonhyman] Video of “Organized Labor & Obama administration” panel [Federalist Society convention]
  • Suing Atlantic City is an established sport for current, former employees [Press of AC] After lawsuit win, former Gotham sanitation worker litters neighborhood with cars [NY Post via Christopher Fountain] Why have House, Senate reversed usual ideological lines on federal employee workers’-comp reform? [WaPo]
  • Murder of reformist professors reinforces difficulty of changing Italian labor law [Tyler Cowen] UK considers relaxing “unfair dismissal” controls on employers [BBC, earlier]
  • Taylor Law and NYC transit strike: “ILO Urges that U.S. Stop Violating International Obligations It Hasn’t Agreed To” [Ku, OJ; Mitch Rubinstein, Adjunct Law Prof]
  • Maryland’s misnamed 2009 “Workplace Fraud Act” bedevils carpet installers and other firms that employ contract workers, and perhaps that was its point [Ed Waters Jr./Frederick News-Post, Weyrich Cronin & Sorra, Floor Daily]
  • “Government pay is higher” [Stoll] Notwithstanding “Occupy” themes, interests of unions and underemployed young folks might not actually be aligned very well [Althouse]
  • More on outcry over proposed federal restrictions on kids’ farm chores [WSJ, NPR, Gannett Wisconsin, CEI, earlier]

“Dead kids make bad laws”

“Kyleigh’s Law,” which imposed an 11 p.m. curfew on younger drivers and required them to affix red reflective decals on their vehicles, was really not a very good idea, but New Jersey lawmakers figured that not voting for it might seem to insult Kyleigh’s memory. Much could be said as well against Megan’s Law, Hannah’s Law, Jessica’s Law, Chelsea’s Law … might one discern a pattern here? [Michael Tracey, Reason]

January 14 roundup

  • When naming a new law, please, no acronyms, no victim names, and no assumptions about what it will accomplish [WSJ Law Blog on Brian Christopher Jones’s recommendations] More: Wood.
  • America’s Most Irresponsible Public Figure® — that would be RFK Jr. — sounds off on Tucson massacre [Hemingway, Examiner]
  • More press attention for CPSC’s dubious consumer complaint database [Washington Post; my take last month]
  • An appellate win for Internet anonymity in Pennsylvania [Levy, CL&P]
  • Santa Clara lead paint case: Supreme Court won’t review government misuse of contingency lawyers [Wood, ShopFloor]
  • DC cops’ “post and forfeit” policy deserves scrutiny [Greenfield]
  • “Philosophy Explains How Legal Ethics Turn Lawyers Into Liars” [Kennerly]
  • “Marshall, Texas: Patent Central” [six years ago on Overlawyered]