Whipping Post No Longer An Acceptable Form of Criminal Punishment
Up in smoke: Laws—both good and bad—come and go. While the state has welcomed gay marriage, it took a while for other measures—like public lashings—to go away.
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It started out predictably. The Senate sent a watered-down bill to the House, and the House sent a more stringent one back, but then the Senate decided the House was trying to make it look bad. It adopted the House version! The bill went to the governor! She signed it into law!
“Surprise, surprise,” says Wayne Smith, who was the House Republican majority leader at the time. “It was a political gambit that basically failed, and I am as glad as anyone to walk into public buildings and restaurants and not come out reeking of smoke.”
The fall used to be a time when the air was filled with the pungency of burning leaves after people raked them up from their yards. Then there came the realization the practice was not exactly environmentally sound, so people adjusted and put out their leaves, along with their lawn clippings and other gardening debris, as trash.
About five years ago, though, the state got the bright idea that the landfills would be better off without it. Instead, collection stations were set up as do-it-yourself dumping grounds for people to haul in whatever they had cleaned up from their yards.
A neighborhood menace was born. Vast acreage became heaps of decaying greenery, stinky and insect-ridden, and depending on the weather, dirty, dusty or muddy. Not to mention it probably looked like Disney World to rats.
Let the whipping post be a museum piece. Let gay marriage and smoke-free bars become another part of life. But this wretched refuse?
As Smith, the onetime House majority leader, says, “What a lousy law that does nothing.”