As you probably know, our legislators here in Massachusetts face a lot of challenges. For instance, they’ve recently been debating a bill that would prohibit drivers from holding a cell phone in their hands or "with any other part of the body." Just imagining which other body parts those could be would be enough to rattle even the most seasoned representatives for almost an entire Caribbean junket.
But it’s not just those high-profile laws that legislators must contend with. For instance, they recently considered an obscure proposal that would "tax" the entertainment industry $10,000 each time any of the leading actors in a production are seen smoking cigarettes. It’s a different approach; most observers expected the next state funding initiative would be making elementary school students sell cartons of Marlboros to people coming out of the Keno parlors.
Of course, legislators didn’t exactly fall all over each other to support this measure, which was proposed by a constituent from Andover; in fact, they ran from it like tobacco executives running from Mike Wallace. That could be because it’s probably kind of, you know, unconstitutional, and also not a good way to get on the good side of the film industry, the tobacco lobby or Keith Richards.
For the rest of this year's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.