Lately I have been consumed by work projects, but this morning I thought I would catch up on some news. My timing is serendipitously excellent, because WOW, look at the crazy stuff the Oregon Legislature has been up to.

Okay, let’s start with the not-so-crazy: a bill to allow Oregonians to hang their laundry on clothes lines. No, really. Residents of condos and tightly regulated communities are bound by contract from using their balconies or backyards to dry their clothes in this environmentally-friendly way, so the OL is trying to loosen up such restrictions in favor of mitigating the effects of global warming. Opponents argue that it’s “unsightly” and (favorite Republican argument) will violate pre-established contracts. You can destroy the planet, but don’t violate the sanctity of private contracts, boys and girls.

The beer tax. Surprisingly, this bill has some life to it. Oregonians love their micro-brewed beer (I certainly do), so it is an obvious source of tax revenue. However, the state is home to a powerful beer industry that opposed any tax hike whatsoever, even though this bill would impose “less than a penny a glass” and contribute $50-100 million every two years to treating addiction and public safety. Please note such services have already lost funding in the state’s annual budget, thanks to the Gigundo Global Econopacolypse. I’d gladly pay an extra penny if it went to help people in recovery.

Okay, so not too crazy so far. Well, how about this? Republicans wanna empower local communities to regulate nude dancing. This is crazy, because voters have already rejected such proposals, and the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled against such legislation because it violates the state’s generous free speech laws. It’s crazy like running headlong into a brick wall, expecting a magical door to appear and open for you. Admittedly, I sympathize. My neighborhood has too many strip clubs — in fact, nearly every Portland neighborhood has too many strip clubs. If the Hawthorne Ave. folks can prevent McDonald’s and Lake Oswego can prevent a new Wal-Mart, can’t we keep the titty bars from spreading?

I have saved the best for last. The OL has already approved legislation to make sperm-throwing a sex crime. Governor Kulongoski is expected to sign it, though without any fanfare. Believe it or not, the reasoning behind this legislation is sound. Sperm-throwing has apparently become a gang initiation fad, as experienced by one young mother who was victimized while shopping at the mall with her daughter. What gets me is that this should be a no-brainer for any judge faced with such a case. It’s assault and it’s a sex crime. Duh!

Like the laundry legislation above, this is a law that arises because you cannot expect your fellow human beings to figure these things out for themselves. Er, that’s the basis of most law, I reckon. Hey, law-talking guys, what’s the legal theory? Compulsory legislation?

So, in sum, the Oregon Legislature has dealt with laws regarding laundry-hanging, beer taxing, nude dancing, and sperm-throwing. Your challenge: combine those concepts into a single sentence.

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