Here’s the open line. Video roundup topics: Two-faced legislators; distressed schools and Robert E. Lee.


* DEREGULATION: In a session after House adjournment, a House committee on an 11-7 roll call vote approved HB 1158 by Rep. Richard Womack to essentially gut state regulation of a variety of trades. It asserts a right to pursue “a lawful occupation” without burden of regulation. The guts of the bill:

A person has a right to engage in a lawful occupation free from an occupational regulation that creates a substantial burden unless the government demonstrates that:

(1) It has an important interest in protecting against present and recognizable harm to the public health or safety; and

(2) The occupational regulation is the least restrictive means of furthering the important governmental interest.

(b) The right established in this section is subject to the following:

(1) A noncertified person shall not use the title “certified” in performing a lawful occupation that is subject to certification requirements;
(2) A nonlicensed person shall not use the title “licensed” in performing a lawful occupation for which an occupational license is required; and
 (3) A nonregistered person shall not use “registered” as a designated title

Does this open the door for anybody to engage in any of the dozens of trades and professions under the purview of state regulatory boards as long as they don’t claim to be licensed or certified. HVAC installers, for example? All these regulatory boards, it should be noted, were rarely created out of public interest but by self-protective interests of the industries they cover. Most employ lobbyists. I’d think more will be heard before this hits the law book, though talk of deregulation is very popular in the new wave of legislators.

* THE RULE OF LAW FALLS ON ALABAMA: A federal judge in Alabama today ordered probate judges who’d been resisting to start issuing marriage licenses. They’d been resisting on account of advice from the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Maybe Justice Roy Moore and Mike Huckabee can haul out their shotguns, declare martial law and stand in the courthouse door to block same-sex couples seeking to create legal families. Moore and Huckabee have said states need not follow federal court rulings, just as such luminaries as George Wallace and Orval Faubus once did. News account here.