Nanny State

4 New Year's Bans: Plastic Bags, Light Bulbs, and More!


Lynn Friedman / / CC BY-NC-ND

The new year provides a perfect time to turn a new leaf… whether you like it or not. Before diving headfirst into 2014, you may want to exhaust all your desires to put groceries in plastic bags, talk on the phone while driving, use a tanning bed, question a convicted felon, or buy incandescent light bulbs. At all different levels of government, these activities and products are about to banned.

4. Los Angeles Bans Free Plastic Bags

Los Angeles is about to become the nation's biggest city to ban free plastic groceries bags. According to the Los Angeles Times, any business caught violating the law will "face a fine of $100 after the first violation, $200 after the second and $500 after the third. Fines would be imposed for each day the violation continues."

The crusade against plastic grocery bags is not exactly popular. A Reason-Rupe poll conducted earlier this year found that "60 percent oppose a ban on plastic bags in all grocery stores and other retailers in the city or town where they live."

Likewise, although the initiative enjoys large support from environmentalists for ostensibly cutting down on waste. The sentiment is nice, but ReasonTV suggests this is just "feel-good legislation," because plastic bags actually have a negligible on the environment.

3. The Illinois Twofer: Phone Calls While Driving, Minors from Using Tanning Beds

It's about to be a long winter for image-conscious Illinois teens. As of Wednesday, no one under the age of 18 will be allowed to use a tanning bed, even with parental consent. A local ABC affiliate reveals how detrimental this will be to many small businesses in the state. Pushing tanning salons to the brink cannot help Illinois, which already bears high unemployment and burdens on businesses.

But that's not all. Come New Year's Day, talking on the phone (unless it's hands-free) while driving in will become a punishable offense with a $75 ticket. Illinois joins a growing number of states with similar prohibitions, despite murky evidence about their effectiveness. Reason's Peter Suderman addresses how laws banning cell phone use while driving have failed across the board to reduce crashes. Likewise, former Reason staffer Radley Balko highlights research that indicates that bans "actually may prompt a slight increase in road crashes."

2. Rhode Island "Bans the Box"

Rhode Island will become the fourth state to "ban the box." The law prohibits employers, whether public or private, from inquiring about a potential employee's criminal background during the application process. They will have to wait until interviewing an individual to ask. Law enforcement agencies are exempt from the law, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

This type of legislation is well-intentioned in its effort to help reintegrate convicts into society, but it doesn't address the problem of harsh laws that imprison non-violent offenders. After all, Department of Justice data shows that an increasing proportion of the roughly 1.5 million individuals in state and federal prisons are behind bars for non-violent crimes. Instead, Rhode Island is following a trend of creating an even more complex set of laws that infringe on the rights of business owners.

1. The Feds Black Out Incandescent Light Bulbs

Not unlike Canada or the People's Republic of China, our own federal government is phasing out incandescent light bulbs. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 already killed off 100-watt and 75-watt bulbs, but 2014 will mark the end of 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs.

The majority of Americans are in for a rude awakening about this. Computer World reports that as many as 60 percent of consumers are unaware of the ban. They will likely not realize its impact "until a few months into the next year when those light bulbs are bought and not replaced," explains The Sentinel.

The Heritage Foundation warns of how serious of an impact this government overreach will have. The feds not only used scare tactics to constrict consumer choice and distort market forces, but have forced "unnecessary job losses from traditional incandescent manufacturers in the United States. After already closing factories in Kentucky and Ohio, General Electric recently announced that it is closing its major incandescent factory in Winchester, Virginia—a factory that employed 200 people and the last major incandescent manufacturing facility in the United States."

NEXT: France Orders 15-Minute Delay for Uber Customers

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  1. I for one think that the world will be a slightly better place after all of these changes. I’m so glad the government is there to protect me from me. Lord knows I can’t be trusted to know what bags to use, when to tan, when to talk on the phone, or what lightbulbs to buy.

  2. I will bet anyone, that I could get in a nice car and dress like a respectable white person and drive all over Illinois taking on a cell phone and never get pulled over. Laws like this and seatbelt laws are nothing but an excuse for cops to pull over anyone who doesn’t look like they belong. That is all they are. With these sorts of laws in place, a cop is free to pull over any black person making the mistake of driving in a white neighborhood and just claim “I thought I saw him talking on a cell”.

    1. It is interesting…when I drove a Honda or.a Ford pickup and got.pulled over for speeding, I always would get a speeding ticket, with a fine and points on my license, and usually a good looking the officer. Now, driving a BMW, I get “failure to obey a traffic.control device,” which carries the same fine but doesn’t add any points in PA. They are happy to take my money and not jeopardize my driving priveleges now.

      1. I talk on my cell phone while driving all of the time. It is illegal to do that pretty much everywhere I drive. I have never once been pulled over.

        The only time I have been pulled over in the last 15 years was once on my motorcycle. Tell me cops don’t profile.

      2. Interesting. I’d think driving a BMW would be cause to definitely give you a worse ticket. Since you become a douchebag every morning when you leave the driveway.

        1. Yeah, BMW drivers are the worst, on average.

          1. I don’t really notice BMW drivers, which means they don’t piss me off.

            My list of offenders is:




            Any housewife/huge SUV combo

            Also, in the past few months I’ve noticed a lot of very slow in the fast lane corvettes. Is this a thing?

            1. It’s been a thing in Florida for a long time. (Male) retirees want to recapture their youth so they buy bright red corvettes. And then drive them 5 mph under the speed limit.

              1. Volvo. What scared people drive.

                For some reason today I had trouble with two Chevy SS cars blocking both lanes of the Interstate 5 below the limit. Different paint jobs, but they looked to be the same year.

                1. I’ve seen the exact opposite with Volvos. Those drivers do not give a flying fuck about looking when they change lanes because they are in “the safest car on the planet”.

  3. I just heard that that whole New Year’s celebration in Times Square is sans alcohol. I speak, of course, about the legal status of the celebration, not the actual fact that most of the people are drunk, stoned, what have you.

    1. This just made me realize I need to get my flask back from my cousin.

      1. I flew recently, and pouring my double shot of rum into my Coke Zero 20 oz. bottle really impressed a young woman I was talking to at the airport bar.

        1. The young women sitting behind us at the game yesterday were also impressed at the concept.

          1. “You mean… you can bring your own?!”

            1. “But what about security?”

              “That’s why I have these massive boots on in 45 degree weather.”

              1. When I started at UT in Austin, the football security guys had been given the word that drunken students with flasks in their boots were no longer welcome. So you had to have chicks with you to tote your booze in. Which was great, because it gave you an excuse to find a chick with a good rack that liked going to the football games.

                1. Used this at UF in 1985. Vodka, Ziplock bags, and an obliging seatmate blessed by nature.

                  1. Used this at UF in 1985. Vodka, Ziplock bags, and an obliging seatmate blessed by nature.

                    Your words brought up this image

                2. I suspect it’s harder to pull off large winter boots in Texas or Florida than it is in New England.

                  1. Shit kickers at a UT game? You’re fucking with me, right?

                  2. I was talking about bras, not boots. This was, after all, Florida. Can’t hide much alcohol in flip-flops.

                    1. Brett: Not big enough. Also not necessary enough to prevent the place from banning/inspecting all of them.

                      Pro lib: I was referencing the need to use bras instead because of the lack of useful footwear.

                    2. I dunno, seems better to root around in a bra for your drink than in some smelly boots.

        2. That’s how we used to drink on alcohol-free beaches–a two-liter bottle of Coke became one liter of Coke and one liter of Jim Beam (or whatever bourbon/whiskey/rum we could afford then).

          1. At high school footbal games kids used to inject citrus fruit with vodka after squeezing out some of th3.juice.

            1. Excellent. And people say initiative is dead in this country.

              1. We better ban fruit.

            2. Everclear and watermelon 🙂

    2. They should totally test for “impairment” at the security checkpoints and deny entry to anyone who has the slightest intoxication. You want to live in that world of security, folks? Pay the dues.

  4. Oh shit. I didn’t realize about the 60’s and 40’s. I pretty much only use 60’s. Guess I’d better stock up.

  5. Did Rhode Island “ban the liability” too? Because I’m sure when it turns out that I’m employing a convicted felon at my tax service, and people’s identities get stolen, my company will be held wholly blameless, right? I mean the guy had a 680 credit score!

    1. It’s only banned when receiving applications, not during the interview.

      So employers get the extra waste of processing an app they will immediately reject later.

      Gosh I wish I were as smart as the government thinkers!

  6. I say we take off and ban everything from orbit.

    1. We already banned banning things while falling.

      1. That’s no way to be sure.

  7. Found this while looking through the linked article about uber in France. If people genuinely believe this then liberty is doomed.

    Wait, what? capitalism is an economic system. What does it has to do with political systems and social systems exactly?

    You can actually have capitalism and statism because one does not detract the other.

    Also, your more describing free market capitalism than the more vague term of capitalism.

    And no, mixed systems are not a myth, unstable yes, myth no. These mixed systems are unstable due to the principal of there being nothing perfect in life and all systems in existence today are mixed systems.

    In reality, pure ideals are the myth. Why? because the existence of these ideals would dictate perfection, which goes against the rules of our reality that nothing can ever be perfect.

    1. Your use of italics confuses me.

      1. Sorry, it’s the only HTML I know offhand. When all you have is a hammer…

        1. Here is a good reference. Not all will work here but bold, italic, underline, strike, and blockquote all work here. Maybe someone will link to the saved images of Day of the Commentors. Also known as Tagpocalypse.

          1. Just minutes away from inline porn, was Hit & Run’s comments section on that day.

            1. I’m surprised at how long it took to go that way. I’m also disappointed in whatever lame time killing I was doing that day during my internship instead of being on H&R.

              1. Personally, I was distracted by the blink tag. Blink. Blink. Blink.

                1. I never really asked about your fascination with blinking.

                  1. Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck.

          2. Testing
            Here is a good reference. Not all will work here but bold, italic, underline, strike, and blockquote all work here. Maybe someone will link to the saved images of Day of the Commentors. Also known as Tagpocalypse.

            1. Clearly I am an idiot because this test has failed. Will the HTML work on a phone?

              1. It should.

                Maybe it autocorrected your tag out existence.

                1. Ok I’ll try again

                  It should.

                  Maybe it autocorrected your tag out existence.

              2. The preview button should allow you to test without having to post.

              1. Underline?

                1. See? I used the U tag in my comment, too.

                  1. I also would like the UL tag restored here. We used to have it.

                    1. I also would like the UL tag restored here. We used to have it.

                      Punishment for the Day of the Commenters. We’ll get it back when we can be responsible with it… Maybe.

                    2. What, bullets are viewed as dangerous? On a libertarian blog?

                2. Got it. Auto correct was putting a space between block and quote. Neat.

        2. PROTIP:

          Use the Reasonable ap for Reason and it’ll give you buttons above your comment to add style options, e.g. link, quote, italic, etc…

          It’ll also give you unimaginable powers in dealing with trolls.


          When I started using HTML I had this website bookmarked. I had to use it for a while, but eventually everything went to memory.

    2. What is objectionable in this?

  8. No more plastic bags means an increase in food-borne illnesses. There was an outbreak of norovirus traced to plastic bags last year.…..say-761983

    1. Reusable bags, not disposable plastic. But yeah, exactly. All meat is the same, wrap it in plastic.

      1. Never forget to wrap your sausage.

        1. Thank you! I thought that was just gonna sit there all day untouched.

    2. Reusable bags have killed more people than every gun I have ever owned.

      1. Yeah, but statistics and study after study show that owning a gun blah blah blah blargggh alup slrarp sljasdfjaspdgj ….

    3. I meant reusable bags. Fucking brain cells, why don’t they work?

  9. Likewise, although the initiative enjoys large support from environmentalists for ostensibly cutting down on waste.

    And when they find out that people are actually consuming more plastic because now they have to buy plastic trash bags, I’m sure they’ll rescind the ban.

    1. I really doubt my sister is going to stop using plastic bags to pick up after her dog during walks.

      1. What she’ll do is stop picking up after her dog.

        1. don’t worry; plenty of dog owners doing that already. Basturds.

    2. Or having to replace the “reusable” bags. Or having to buy more detergent and use more water and electricity to clean them.

    3. What if the polymer was made up of something nonobjectionable, like Republican?

        1. Well, see, that’s just common sense. Republican is biodegradable, so it’s good for nature.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised if they mandated Republican hide grocery bags within the next few years.

        1. Just so long as they were humanely skinned.

  10. I find the decision to treat a criminal conviction on the same basis as a disability to be bizarre in the extreme. The next step, of course, is requiring employers to give convicts “reasonable accomodation”, and to prosecute them if they don’t hire enough convicts.

    Just wait for it. Its coming.

    1. Just wait until lack of education or ability becomes a protected class. And/or until accommodations must be unreasonable.

      1. If you can’t prove that literacy is a job requirement, discriminating against the illiterate will be verboten.

      2. I seem to recall UPS getting in trouble for not hiring a legally blind driver. Could be a too-good-to-check story, though.

        1. He wasn’t blind. He just had one eye. No way that could ever be a safety issue on the road, could it?


  11. I have been stocking up on bulbs for the year. Bought some today(100), then used some credit card points, and used them at Amazon, with no sales tax. Capitalism greatest system ever.

  12. I stocked up on 100s when the ban was first announced. Didn’t know about the 60 and 40 thing.

    Wonder if “bulbleggers” are gonna start heading to Canada or Mexico to smuggle bulbs over the border.

  13. plastic bags actually have a negligible on the environment.


    Also LA doesn’t seem all that tolerant of plastic bags…

  14. It should never be forgotten that Fred Upton (Republican Michigan), the scumbag behind taking away our light bulbs and condemning the country to barbaric florescent darkness is still in Congress. Apparently there is at least one Congressional district in America where Americans have started mating with vegetables.

    1. I wonder how much he was paid by GE?

        1. And why did not pro-choicers stand against this shit? If they are just going to let SoCons control what kind of lighting we can have in our bedrooms, why bother electing pro-choicers at all?

    2. Now now. I’m sure the intent behind it was to encourage more leftards to use candles as mood lighting, thus increasing the number of jobs for firefighters. And if there is anything Michigan needs more of, it’s fires.

  15. Hopefully the light bulb ban wakes up a few more Americans to the evils of government. That’s the one small silver lining to ridiculous government interference with our lives.

    1. First, they came for the flushes. . . .

    2. That’s not gonna happen, b.

    3. Oh man, its cute to see someone with hope still.

      1. Let me cling to my hope! Its all that stands between me and a bullet to the brain.

        No, not my brain. I’m pissed off not depressed.

    4. Please. A not small segment of the population is all for the ban, how it will help you save energy/money, probably knock a couple strokes off your golf score, etc. Because people are incapable of figuring out for themselves if a better product is available.

      1. I have a cunning plan. Home-fabricated incandescent bulbs.

        1. I like your plan…

          Then I think about how difficult it is to blow glass.

          1. Perhaps some sort of polymer substitute could be used?

          2. ooooh… Artisinal Incandescence

      2. Thing is, those fucking cfls suck major swamp ass.

        They never last as long as claimed. Sure they technically put out light longer, but you’ll go blind trying to read by it.

        Secondly, they make you look like a fucking corpse. I know I love seeing all my veins and capillaries under my purple skin when I get ready in the morning.

        Third, no one is going to recycle the damn mercury-filled things. So the environmental impact will actually be negative.

        1. I think people might actually be pissed enough about this to do something. But the most that will happen is people will raise hell and our top men overlords will change the law and lament how stupid their charges are and everything else will go on as before.

          I am willing to believe that this law is so stupid and intrusive it might get repealed. That has happened with a few other laws. But no way will that anger ever translate into an over all skepticism of government, at least not now.

          1. Its too late, though. All of the American factories have already re-tooled, or will do so soon.

            1. I bet they still make them overseas. So we will just import them like we do everything else. If there is a demand, there will be a supply.

        2. I am liking LED’s more and more, and may switch instead of using CFL. I had the same problem as you with the output of CFL’s. Very unnatural light.

          1. But whatever improvements the LEDs bring, it doesn’t justify the cost. Incandescents are still the best technology. If they were not, there would have been no need to ban them.

            They didn’t have to ban people from using Apple IIes did they?

            1. I am with you, John, If I cannot have incandescence, LED’s look like a good option to go to instead of CFLs.

              Question: What are the penalties for having incandescence? You may be still able to buy them online, even after the ban.

              1. You may be still able to buy them online, even after the ban.

                Silk Road Deux will add a new product category, if need be.

                1. It would be a lot of fun to get thrown in jail for buying a fucking bulb. LOL

                  1. And then you’ll be anally violated with a 4-foot fluorescent.

          2. I’ll never buy another CFL.

            I’ve started experimenting with LEDs. As in, yesterday. Jury’s still out on the quality of the light, though.

      3. Yep…until they can’t sell their house without disclosing whether or not any bulbs were ever broken, mercury spilled, and cleaned up by hazmat team.
        If you say “no”, well you better have an independent assessment and test (like now demanded in many locations for radon.)

        1. I never thought I’d see the day that I have to put my light bulbs in a safe when I went on vacation!

          The democrats used to be for the “little guy”, now they are just a bunch of control freaks.

          1. I can’t find a point in history when Democrats, in action, were EVER for the little guy.

  16. 2014 will mark the end of 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs.


    1. Yeah, I suspect we’ll never see the end of dim bulbs.

  17. Sounds liek a worthwhile cause to me dude.

  18. So while the 20th century saw freedom come to places that had never seen it, the 21st will see a loss of it by people who had and lost it, because they gave insufficient damns to hang on to it.

  19. They tried the “no bag” thing at a Walmart in the Sacramento area. The one (and last) day I was in there, a woman dropped a container of ammonia on the way out the door. LOL. What a rip.

    Serves them right.

    If this becomes a law, I will only buy what I can carry, and I’m clumsy. Nothing like a gallon of yellow mustard dropped in the entry to brighten up your day!

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