As We See It

Lawfully odd: Considering other states’ quirky bills, maybe Nevada isn’t so weird …

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From a bill that would name Picon punch the state’s official drink to another that would allow dogs in bars, the Nevada Legislature has more than a few lighthearted proposals to consider in 2015.

We want dogs in bars, we want Basque boozy punch and we want Bishop Gorman to stop winning all the state football championships. Oh, we also want to square dance. And so our legislators have drafted bills and bill draft requests to try to make it so.

Picon punch failed to become the state’s official drink in 2013, but Assemblyman David Bobzien of Reno isn’t backing down. He says the drink, made with brandy and Amer Picon apertif, would please Basque constituents and would boost the economy by creating marketing opportunities.

State Sen. James Settelmeyer of Virginia City wants dogs to be able to join their humans at certain watering holes. Assemblywoman Robin Titus of Wellington wants to join 31 other states in declaring square dancing Nevada’s official favorite. Assemblyman Harvey Munford of Las Vegas wants to ban Bishop Gorman High School from competing in state playoffs because the former high school football coach says Gorman has an unfair advantage for its ability to “recruit” players.

“Everything isn’t life or death,” state Sen. Tick Seg-erblom says of lighthearted legislative proposals. “A little humor never hurts, in my opinion.” After all, it’s all part of Nevada’s heritage. And it’s why he supports Picon punch.

Quirky bills aren’t limited to Nevada. New Jersey has considered naming milk the state drink or the collie the state animal (the horse won). In 2003, Pennsylvania’s Legislature argued whether the chocolate-chip cookie or the Nazareth sugar cookie should be the state treat (the jury’s still out). And in 2013 Wyoming discussed whether to name the jackalope its official mythical creature (maybe next session). That same year the Illinois Legislature passed six laws prohibiting anyone but eye doctors from dispensing contact lenses; preventing tanning salons from serving minors; clarifying the definition of “bow and arrow” from “crossbow”; forbidding the “wanton” waste of game meat; and creating a custom license plate for Prince Hall Freemasons, Chicago Magazine reported.

Last year, Texas proposed several head-scratchers, among them the right to carry a formerly illegal Bowie knife (fail); a petition to end Daylight Savings in the state (fail); permission to house prisoners in tents (like Arizona!); and allowing school board members to bring concealed weapons to board meetings (Pass! Just kidding).

Will we soon be drinking Picon punch at the bar with our dogs while watching Gorman-less football playoffs? That might depend on how well we square dance.

Tags: Politics, Opinion
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