Thursday, August 23, 2007

Writing better laws

Back in the springtime, the Arkansas General Assembly tried to do a good deed by fixing up a state law that treated guys and girls differently on the age of marriage without parental consent. At least that part is my recollection. It started off completely harmless, but by the time it was over the fix may be worse than the cure.

At the root of the problem is a little three-letter word, “not.” The way things turned out, according to the law as passed by Arkansas General Assembly, boys and girls of any age may marry with parental consent. It was not the intend of lawmakers, and officials that take care of the Arkansas code decided to just drop the little negative word and fix things. It was a noble gesture, but the Legislative Council is having nothing to do with this quick and dirty solution.

As much as it grieves me to say so, this time the legislative branch has it right. If unelected bureaucrats decide to edit any law they think does not look right, there is no end to the mischief. At the end of this almost hilarious story is an expensive and inconvenient special session.

That is not the cheapest, easiest or most efficient outcome. It is absolutely the best for all concerned.

(Broadcast August 21, 2007)

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