American Elephants


Extraordinary Adventures in Bureaucracy. by The Elephant's Child
October 2, 2009, 1:15 am
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Freedom, Law | Tags: , , ,

• The AP reported on a letter sent to Lisa Snyder, a suburban mom, by the Michigan Department of Human Services. She was warned to stop watching her neighbors’ children while they waited in the mornings for the school bus. Ms. Snyder was kind enough to do this as a favor for her friends who are working mothers.  Preliminary reports do not indicate whether the warning letter was backed by possible criminal penalties.

• Small-time entrepreneur and inventor Krister Evertson of Wasilla, Alaska was arrested at gunpoint by SWAT-clad FBI agents.  He was unaware that he had to put a federally mandated sticker on his otherwise lawful UPS package.

• A few years ago, Kay Leibrand, a 63 year-old grandmother was arrested by police at her home of 30 years in Palo Alto, California.  She had failed to meet some bureaucrat’s ruling on how high her hedges should be.

• Retiree George Norris, 66 years old, had his house ransacked by armed agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  His home-based business was cultivating, importing, and selling orchids.  He ended up serving two years in prison, finally getting free of federal supervision last December — at the age of 71, for what amounted to paperwork violations.

In July, a bipartisan hearing was held by Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and ranking member Louie Gohmert (R-TX), where both Krister Evertson and George Norris’ wife Kathy testified.  Scott is Chairman of the subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, so I suppose that’s it, though it seems a little excessive for a missing sticker and incorrect  paperwork.

What is clear is that poorly drafted legislation or overbroad laws can be used to turn ordinary Americans law-abiding lives into a police-state nightmare.   Lawmakers need to spend as much time eliminating bad laws and making sure that the new laws that they are drafting cannot be used so irresponsibly against innocent people.

Jennifer Granholm, Michigan’s Governor, has quickly called for amendments to the law that her Department of Human Services used to threaten Lisa Snyder for not having registered as a daycare with the state.

Thanks to “The Foundry” at the Heritage Foundation for this story.




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