A recent proposal by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg looks to ban the sale of sodas and other sugary drinks over 16 ounces at city food establishments. The proposal has many questioning whether New York has gone too far with so-called ‘Nanny State’ laws that are thought by some to be overprotective or interfere too much with individual choice.
“Obesity is a nationwide problem, and all over the United States, public health officials are wringing their hands saying, 'Oh, this is terrible,'" Mayor Bloomberg said in an interview with the New York Times.“New York City is not about wringing your hands; it’s about doing something....I think that’s what the public wants the mayor to do,” he added. However, those in the New York City beverage industry are up in arms about the proposed ban while residents are still trying to understand how Bloomberg’s plan could affect their everyday lives.
Bloomberg is not the only local politician in America to propose laws described as enhancing the ‘Nanny State.’ The following is a collection of laws that have had residents wondering whether the government is going too far. Click ahead for the list.
Poll: Is New York Going Too Far in Banning Big Sugary Drinks?
Posted 31 May 2012
We’ve all seen pedestrians wander obliviously into the street, too busy texting a friend to notice the rush of oncoming traffic. The city of Fort Lee, N.J.,has decided to save these pedestrians from themselves by fining them $85 for the offense.
During summer 2011, King County, Wash., required that everyone “on or in a major river” wear a life jacket. This includes swimming, floating, or boating. Swimmers are required to don the life vest if they are in waters more than five feet from shore or in waters more than four feet deep. Not wearing an approved floating device can result in a fine of $86. It is unknown whether or not the law was renewed for summer 2012.
The state of Tennessee is telling its children to pull their pants up by passing a lawpreventing students from exposing underwear or body parts in an “indecent manner.” In effect, the law dictates what clothes the state's children should wear and how they should wear them. The fine for violating the law is a $250, or up to 160 hours of community service.
In Minnetonka, Minn., it is considered a public nuisance, and therefore illegal, for “a truck or other vehicle whose wheels or tires deposit mud, dirt, sticky substances, litter or other material on any street or highway.”
All violations of the Minnetonka code are subject to fines up to $2,000, but a spokesperson said the city “attempts several other measures to mitigate the situation before pursuing misdemeanor charges.”
The good news is that in 2011 the state of Maryland passed a set of guidelines to protect children from inappropriate physical contact. The bad news is that the guidelines extended to procedures routinely performed by camp counselors, such as the application of sunscreen to campers.The guidelines required that parents wishing to protect their children from the sun’s ultraviolet rays with sunscreen had to give camp counselors permission to apply it, causing some to question whether this was a 'Nanny State' law.
In 2003, New York became one of the first states in the U.S. to institute an indoor smoking ban in public places.Eight years later, New York City took things a step further and banned smoking in outdoor public places as well, including parks, beaches, and pedestrian malls. Violation of the ban carries a $50 fine.
Since 1979, children have delighted in the McDonald’s Happy Meal, a repast marketed specifically at them in which the hamburger and french fries are accompanied by a toy. But in 2011, the meals got markedly less happy when the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a lawbanning the inclusion of toys from the meals unless they met stringent nutritional standards — they had to have less than 600 calories, they had to contain fruits and vegetables, and the beverages could not have “excessive fat or sugar.”
In Hilton Head, S.C., it is illegal to store trash in your car.
Specifically, that section of the code states that it’s unlawful “to place, leave, dump, or permit to accumulate any garbage, rubbish or trash in any building, vehicle and their surrounding areas in the town so that the same shall or may afford food or harborage for rats.”
A violation is considered a public nuisance and is subject to a fine of up to $500 and/or jail time of up to 30 days.
In 2009 San Francisco began requiringevery household and business to use three different bins for discards: blue for recyclables, green for compostables, and black for trash. It’s all part of a push to cut greenhouse gas house emissions and send nothing to landfills by 2020. Failing to properly sort can result in fines ranging from $100 - $500.
For a generation of online gamblers, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006,signed into law by President George W. Bush, effectively ended their chances of striking it rich through poker-playing or other games over the Internet. In 2005,it was estimated that 1.8 million people playing online every day — and Christiansen Capital Advisors estimated that revenues from online poker reached $2.4 billion that year.
The law effectively made it illegal for American financial institutions to execute transactions with online gambling websites, shutting down the U.S. operations of many of these companies. For many players who made online gambling their livelihoods, the solution to get around the law has been to relocate to another country or jurisdiction, such as Canada, Central America, or Europe, that do not restrict online gambling in this way.
In 2008, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law banning the use of trans fats in all restaurants throughout the state.States such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts already had ordinances banning trans fat use, but California was the first to go for an all-out ban. Violating the law carries a penalty of anywhere from $25 to $1,000.
California is saving the backs of hotel housekeepers one fitted sheet at a time. SB-432bans the use of flat sheets as the bottom sheet for beds in hotels and requires “long handled tools” to clean bathrooms. The bill specifically targets practices that could cause short and long term injury to the housekeeping staff, labeling it a crime.
If you don’t keep your language clean, you may have to answer to the law in Rockville, Md. Here, it’s illegal to swear within earshot of other people, whether you’re on a street, sidewalk, or highway. That means even if you’re in your car, you’ll have to keep quiet if using an expletive. The penalty is a fine up to $100 and/or jail time up to 90 days.
A state law in Kansas prevents screeching your tires. And there are local ordinances to back this law up. For example, in Derby, it is illegal to accelerate your car, or turn a corner in such a way that it causes your car tires to screech. The penalty is a fine up to $500 and/or imprisonment up to 30 days.