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Duck, Duck, Goose

In Virginia, libertarian instincts reign supreme--until they don't.

In Virginia, you can carry a gun just about anywhere you like, and legislators in Richmond are eager to lift the few remaining restrictions, whether that involves classrooms, bars or day care centers. Virginia lawmakers for years have fought to protect your right to carry open containers of alcoholic beverages while you drive. And the good folks in Richmond are the national leaders in the battle to prevent the police from enforcing seat belt laws.

Well, at least those bits are consistent.

But when the legislators find some right they don't like, the principles go straight out the window. Last week, the legislature killed a bill that would have ended Virginia's status as the only state in the union that does not permit motorists to use radar detectors in the Roadrunner vs. Mr. Coyote. Here's how the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported the move:

A committee has axed a bill that would have ended Virginia's distinction as the only state that bans radar detectors.

Representatives of the Virginia State Police, the insurance industry and the Virginia Sheriffs Association spoke against the bill, sponsored by Del. Joe T. May, R-Loudoun, arguing that it would make the highways more dangerous and drive up insurance rates.

The House Transportation Committee voted 11-4 to table the bill.

We all know that the only purpose of radar detectors is to permit us to elude the cops and drive faster than the legal limit. So I applaud Virginia for calling the gadgets for what they are. But how do lawmakers square their position on radar detectors with those other stands above?

And if that's not enough of a contradiction for you, consider the constitutional amendment that Virginia voters will be asked to consider this fall:

Not only would Virginia join the stampede of other states that are banning single-sex marriages, but the proposed amendment would go well beyond what other states are doing and prohibit contracts between unmarried partners of any sex. So heterosexual couples who now shack up would lose many of the legal rights they've enjoyed up til now. Here's how the AP reported Gov. Tim Kaine's reservations about the amendment:

By Bob Lewis AP Political Writer

RICHMOND, Va. - The proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage in Virginia could impair the integrity of a wide range of personal contracts between unmarried individuals, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said Thursday.

A day after the Senate gave final passage to a resolution that would restrict marriage to one man and one woman, Kaine said he supports that goal but believes two other sentences in the amendment are profoundly flawed.

"It just has consequences far beyond marriage. Folks who believe marriage is between a man and a woman, I believe that, I support that as the law," Kaine said on his first appearance on the Virginia News Network's monthly "Ask the Gov." call-in program. "But to potentially, for example, outlaw contracts between unmarried couples--and I think that's a fair read of the second and third sentences of the bill--there's just no reason we need to do that," he said.

Sadly, the legislators in Richmond act not according to any set of logical principles, but according to their own drifting and kneejerk conglomerations of bias, whim and momentary passions.

By Marc Fisher |  January 31, 2006; 7:21 AM ET
Previous: Mall Politics: Surrounding the Washington Monument | Next: Nervous Kaine, Victorious Herring


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Marc, those guys down in Richmond make fellow politco Zaphod Beeblebrox look positively rational.

You'd blogged last week on the Serenity and Tranquility act last week, a friend of mine took umbrage to it as well:


Posted by: bc | January 31, 2006 9:59 AM

Another consequence is that protective orders against abusive spouses will be MUCH harder to obtain under this amendment.....

Posted by: ET | January 31, 2006 10:12 AM

There's simply no contradiction as to the radar detectors. They're like burglary tools; their only purpose is to break the law. No such argument can be made about the opposition to seatbelt or open container laws. Maybe Fisher is trying to suggest that a "real" libertarian should oppose all speed limits and drunk-driving laws, but that's just silly.

Posted by: Tom T. | January 31, 2006 11:11 AM

These are all rational acts. What we, common-sense, Jeffersonian, Virginians are trying do do is drive all the transplants and liberals into MD and DC. Except we'll take you back in the evenings when you want to have a smoke with your drink/meal.

Posted by: Stick | January 31, 2006 11:56 AM

Let's're writing from D.C., where legislators act logically, and without any whims or drifting kneejerk bias', to create rational laws....And you're concerned about Virginia?? Do us a favor and move further north, maybe to Taxachusetts.

Posted by: Tugboat Phil | January 31, 2006 1:53 PM

Looks like Virginia wants to remain part of the Old South. Next, laws against those durn Imma-grunts. Then, bring back hoop skirts!

Posted by: CT | January 31, 2006 4:57 PM

"We all know that the only purpose of radar detectors is to permit us to elude the cops and drive faster than the legal limit"

They have more purposes than to elude cops and driver faster. They keep the cops honest for one. If they stop you and claim to have gotten you on radar aat some speed, but you didnt detect that they had radar, then you will know that they are lying. And, believe me, it happens.

Besides, you speak as if speeding is dangerous or something. Enforcing speed limits is nothing more than revenue generation. So, the radar detectors allow me to not pay that insane revenue. I live in VA nd have used one for years.

Speed limits have very very very little to do with safety.

If speeding were so dangerous, then why not stop it. The technology exists right now to ELIMINATE speeding totally.

Posted by: kme | February 2, 2006 10:37 AM

I don't see the big deal in using a radar detector while driving in VA. I have drove through VA and done it. There is a law the FCC passed back in 1934 that states if a frequency is transmitted, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECEIVE THAT FREQUENCY! I have had cops in VA tell me that going at least 75mph is ok. You better be pretty violent to try and take my radar detector. You will never get it!

Posted by: Mike | March 3, 2006 2:46 PM car site insurance. auto site insurance, car site insurance, The autos insurance company. from website .

Posted by: insurance auto | June 21, 2006 1:44 AM

I was stopped in VA when I hit 80 at the top of a hill while passing a double-wide that was crowding me off the road. I had my Cobra unplugged and on the floor at the time. The cop not only would not listen to reason (he said he didn't see the double-wide crowding me.. of course he didn't - he was on the down-side of the hill). The cop actually thought my apartment complex gate opener was a radar detector as he lectured me about driving with radar in VA. Training issue?? His solution to my situation - "You can have your day in court, so argue your points to the judge." (that is, if you want to make two 600 mile trips; one to plead and one to argue). And if I did appear, I'm sure the court would have its mind made up before my feet hit the floor. What a wonderful system they have up there!! Next time I drive through VA I'll use the Cobra for sure. It's the only defense I have against their "highway cowboys". This sort of thing only adds to the growing contempt towards laws, officers of the law, and (in the case of biased and unrelenting judges) our judicial system.

Posted by: bridge43 | July 7, 2006 8:39 AM

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