Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 90
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for May 31, 2001

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

An Open Letter to Our Legislators:

Dear State Legislators,

Your 2001 session is over, and again you’ve left a mixed bag of passed and unpassed bills. You passed a budget that is reportedly 14% over the previous year. I don’t understand how you managed to do that, since the Hancock Amendment is supposed to limit the growth in government income to the growth in personal income. You’ve squandered the surpluses of recent years in ever more profligate giveaway programs, and now will be asking for even more money.

I understand that you were blackmailed into lowering the allowable blood alcohol content, but you did very little to curb the activities of the repeat offender or to hammer the really drunk driver. One problem is many jurisdictions still plea-bargain to a non-alcohol-related offense; I see nothing in your new law to limit that.

According to your website, the improvements to the Sunshine Law never got through. I fail to understand how municipal lobbyists can influence you to let government operate in secrecy with relative impunity.

I sort of regret that you didn’t give us a chance to vote on the hodge-podge of taxes thrown together for the so-called highway plan – campaigning against it would have been so much fun. Highways should continue to be funded by user fees (gas taxes) and not by general sales taxes. Now I read that the next step of the campaign is to convince us that the highway department won’t even be able to pay off the bonds you’ve allowed it to issue. What arrogance!

I also sort of regret you killed the Cards stadium bill without giving us a chance to vote on it. It would have been such an easy target! Congratulations on doing your job without putting us through the cost of an election.

I congratulate you for passing the reforms to civil forfeiture procedures (SB005). You’ve made it much more difficult for law enforcement agencies to take someone’s property for their own benefit. What some agencies did was corruption in and of itself. Now, can you reexamine the whole “War on Drugs” from the standpoint of its cost in civil liberties, farm economics (industrial hemp) and overall ineffectiveness?

Congratulations also on a couple of small steps toward freedom. You’ve told the Department of Revenue that it can’t use our drivers licenses to include information without your permission (HB897). You’ve told counties that city people won’t be able to vote on forcing a building code upon country people; only those affected by a proposed code will be able to vote on it (SB886). You’ve codified the traditional ‘right-hand rule’ on fence maintenance and freed someone without livestock of the burden of paying for a fence to meet another’s needs (HB219).

Whether it’s a special session or next year, the people will be watching what you do!

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