Our 28th annual edition, Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader is finally here. Want a sneak peek? Here are four odd stories from the halls of U.S. state legislatures.
Like, Meow, Dude
In 2015 Nevada state senator Tick Segerblom proposed a bill legalizing medical marijuana…for dogs and cats. Segerblom acknowledged that there are no formal studies proving the medical benefits of getting your furry friends high, but said a veterinarian told him it could potentially ease the suffering of pets with debilitating illnesses. When asked if pot might be harmful to pets, he said, “You don’t know until you try.”
A Wheel Big Problem
In 2013 Washington state representative Ed Orcutt replied to an e-mail sent from a bike shop owner protesting a $25 tax on new bicycles over $500. Defending the tax, Orcutt claimed that cyclists cost the state money: “The act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider.
Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.” After a public outcry, Orcutt backpedaled, saying he meant that cyclists “have a lower footprint but not a zero footprint” but that his e-mail was “poorly worded.”
Sixty Shades of Dumb
During an Iowa House debate on collective bargaining for teachers, State Rep. Ross Paustian was photographed holding a book called Sex After Sixty. Hundreds of the Republican’s constituents complained to his office, but Paustian said it was an innocent mistake. He wasn’t reading the book, he explained, but merely “holding it for a friend,” fellow lawmaker Robert Bacon.
In 2015 a fourth-grade class from Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, worked with their teacher to draft a new law that would make the red-tailed hawk New Hampshire’s “state raptor.” The bill had already made it through two subcommittees when the students went on a field trip to the state capitol building to watch the final floor vote. When they arrived in the assembly hall, the lawmakers applauded them…and then lambasted the bill. “This hawk grasps its prey with its talons and then uses its razor-sharp beak to basically tear it apart limb by limb,” said Rep. Warren Groen. “It would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.” Rep. John Burt added, “If we keep bringing more of these bills…we’ll be picking a state hot dog next.” Then the civic-minded students got to watch their beloved House Bill 373 lose by a 160-133 vote.
This article first appeared in Uncle John’s Factastic Bathroom Reader.