Letter to the Editor

'Federal tendrils'

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dear Editor,

This editorial "Federal incentives make tighter seatbelt laws more attractive" was reprinted in The Grand Island Independent.

While no one especially likes "federal tendrils" interfering with such quotidian events as routine stops by State Patrol personnel and their curiosity over our seat-belt use (quite effective without becoming a "primary offense" in my opinion), why don't we take a minute and think about where this entwining between federal "policy" and local legislative fiat (with millions of federal aid dollars at stake) first occurred?

Why, it was in 1984, with the 21 drinking-age mandated upon the states at the risk of a loss of 10 percent of federal highway apportionment.

This wholesale blackmail on the states by Congress was grinningly signed into law by Ronald Reagan, and happily approved of by the majority opinion of Chief Justice Renquist (in a case brought by the State of South Dakota).

These ever-climbing "federal tendrils" seem to have been provided quite willingly by some of the biggest names in the "conservative" movement.

David M. Fisher,

via e-mail

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