Several unique bills have surfaced during the most recent session of the Arkansas legislature. Lawmakers have debated such issues as the merits of allowing concealed handguns in church, the banning of cleavage and underwear baring wardrobes on students, and the adding of the state sales tax on internet purchases.
However, there have been some legislature moves that have not been as widely discussed in the state media.
For instance, the House and Senate overwhelmingly passed a law banning television commercials that feature Flo, the annoying insurance spokesperson who causes many people to shoot their TV sets.
“I have had at least seven of my constituents ruin brand new high-definition sets with a firearm because they can’t stand those damn commercials,” state Sen. T. Blanston, Jr. told me. “Two residents in my district actually left their homes in the middle of a television program, went to purchase pistols, and then came back to their houses to shoot their TVs – just out of sheer rage at Flo. The woman is like nails on a chalkboard.”
It’s interesting to note that a similar bill -- one that would have required Geico Insurance explain their commercials to people over the age of 65 as well as to people without a sense of humor -- did not make it out of a House subcommittee.
Arkansas legislators also approved another bill somewhat similar to the student wardrobe guidelines. The “cocked hat” bill, as it was nicknamed at the capitol, targets young men and women who wear their baseball hats with the bill cocked to the right or left side. If signed by Gov. Mike Beebe, the law will allow other parties to slap those wearing “cocked” hats directly across the face without fear of legal prosecution. Some opponents argued that it should also be aimed at those who wear baseball caps with the bill facing the back, but proponents of the measure noted citizens might twist that aspect of the law to physically attack actual baseball and softball catchers.
The influence of the Tea Party movement was felt in some bills that were proposed in subcommittees. One such bill would have mandated that pictures of Glenn Beck be displayed next to Gov. Beebe in offices of state agencies. Another bill would have ordered the arrest and waterboarding of Keith Olbermann if he ever set foot in the state. And a measure that would have mandated that all Arkansans not only speak English, but also think in English, was also discussed. All failed to make it to the House floor.
Other interesting tidbits about this legislative session included the proclamations of KATV meteorologist Ned Perme’s tan as the Arkansas State Tan and David Bazzel’s teeth as Arkansas State Teeth.
The session also included the passage of legislation prohibiting texting while operating motorized scooters in Walmart; allowing Facebook friends to harass other Facebook friends who constantly bombard them with Farmville posts; and funding research into the cheese content of Hanke Brothers Siding commercials.
Finally, Gov. Beebe signed into law a bill that would ban middle age men with initials of “R.G.” from writing weekly newspaper articles that attempt, but miserably fail, to be somewhat humorous.
And I think I speak for most of Arkansas in stating that I think such a law is absolutely ridiculous.