BY DOUG KELLOGG
Communications Director, Reclaim New York
While New Yorkers have been struggling to make ends meet, get to work, and even trust their government, legislators have spent time crafting proposals so ridiculous they’re laughable. Reclaim New York sifted through thousands of bills, and found over two dozen frivolous pieces of legislation to boil down to the 10 most ridiculous.
“New Yorkers want financial relief and their faith restored in government,” said Reclaim New York Executive Director Brandon Muir. “But instead of addressing these concerns, the legislature is spinning its wheels on measures that give tax breaks to bees, or allow ballot selfies.”
Here are the top 10 most ridiculous proposals from Albany this session:
10. Telework Task Force, A45
The idea that New Yorkers need six government agencies, and legislative liaisons, to band together in yet another task force to tell them whether telework is a helpful practice or not is absurd.
9. No animal “death drones”, A1437
This legislation would head off the wildlife version of Terminator, and prevent people from using unmanned drones to hunt and kill animals.
8. Tax break for bees, A37
No offense to bees, but our tax code is already one of the most complicated in the U.S. before adding a sales tax exemption for the sale of bees. Human New Yorkers are getting stung every day by high taxes, and too many flee out of state, but politicians might give bees a break.
Bee more serious Albany.
7. Ballot selfies, A5215
Legislators take a shot at grabbing the social media spotlight with a bill to make it legal to take selfies in the voting booth.
Someone should remind millennials that “pics or it didn’t happen” does not apply to voting. Your vote is what matters, not the like count of your post.
6. Making it easier to officiate a wedding, A1137, and S.5858
This could allow the State to give individuals a license for just one day to officiate a wedding. This is so that your best friends can upgrade from embarrassing you during reception speeches, and get started during the official ceremony.
5. Life & death measures for some animals, A7778, A7908, A5586
If you’re a Mourning Dove, there’s a bill that would declare you a migratory game bird which means you can be legally hunted – and now you can live up to the name.
The north cricket frog has been living the protected life on the endangered species list, but there’s a proposal to return them to the state of nature. Gulp.
And if you’re a pheasant who’d like a larger family, the state may not be of help if they quit participating in artificial pheasant propagation activities.
4. Seafood marketing task force, A6893
Albany can’t possibly think a bigger task force is going to help seafood businesses escape the jaws of the nation’s second-worst business tax environment. The state might think about making New York’s waters more friendly with tax relief and regulatory reform, rather than acting fishy with a showy task force.
3. Children’s Book Contest, A47
This bill would direct the commissioner of education to run a contest every two years to pick the best children’s book – it’s the literary version of the state’s failed “economic development” strategy. The Hunger Games should win every time, which means New Yorkers lose.
Meanwhile, the state’s students need better basic education, not bells and whistles, as middle-schoolers have fallen to 34th in national reading and math rankings.
2. Declare “black dirt” the state…well, dirt, A7854, S989
This bill would also declare the black dirt region as “home to the most fertile soil.” The state’s opinion on soil fertility isn’t going to make a difference. Making our grocery shopping costs cheaper would make a difference though.
New York already has a state dirt, “Honeoye”. The legislature didn’t get to pick that one though, so now they are considering going rogue and selecting their own dirt.
1. Declare sweet corn the state vegetable, A6493, S3556
There’s a corny joke here somewhere… Having a designated state vegetable is frivolous enough on its own, but figuring out the state vegetable has been an ongoing drama for six years. That is still a lot less time than corruption has been a problem at the Capitol.
Only Albany could be so tasteless to table ethics reform, and wrangle with a question like, sweet corn or onion? Meanwhile most other states don’t have a state vegetable, and Washington’s “Walla Walla sweet onion” will never be beaten.
Reclaim New York: Reclaim New York is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)3 organization that empowers citizens, through education and civic engagement, to make New York a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Follow on Twitter @ReclaimNewYork.