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The governor is finally working through the 766 bills that crossed his desk during the budget crisis. Among these was AB2233. Brought by Assemblyman Bill Maze, the bill was meant to outlaw the practice of carrying a pet on your lap while driving.

Question: Why do we need a law that says it’s not okay to have a pet in your lap while you’re driving?

I would think that common sense would keep people from doing this (then again, I also thought common sense would keep people from texting while driving). I guess the point is that “common sense” is not so common. In fact, it is different for every individual person. Think about it, common sense tells me not to jump out of a plane, but many people enjoy the hobby of skydiving.

A couple of years ago, a kid died at a waterhole in the Folsom Lake area. About a week later, another kid died. Then I heard on the radio that an average of two people per year die at this location! My question then was why wasn’t the waterhole fenced off or something to protect the stupid people who would still go to it despite the danger.

The Answer: The government is not responsible for protecting us from our own stupidity. It would be an impossible task if it was.

In court and in life we are expected to act “reasonably,” when we don’t, accidents happen and that’s when we end up in lawsuits. Actions are held to the “reasonable man” standard and judged based on what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation.

So where is the balance? Does the government need to tell us what to do and what not to do in every aspect of our lives? Or can we be responsible citizens and do what we know is sensible? Aren’t the consequences of injury, death, and lawsuits enough of an incentive to be careful out there on the road?

Maybe not. Maybe I am an idealist. I might be giving the general public more credit than they deserve, but I really don’t think so. We have brains! We are smarter than this! I may be naive, but I must believe that.

What do you think? Should the governor have signed the bill into law? What is the government’s role in our lives?

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