Roorda to the Rescue

4 Dec

Newly-elected 113th district Rep. Jeff Roorda wasted no time in getting back to work in the Missouri House. He submitted a bill on the first day filing was open. Does this bill tackle Missouri’s economic issues, or strengthen ethics in Jefferson City, or address some other pressing need? Well, no, it bans shopping on Thanksgiving Day. Here’s the bill itself. It is getting some national attention (maybe that was the point?).

The assumption behind this bill is that those oppressed retail workers are being forced to desert their families and go to work that day, when all they really want to do is stay home and be thankful. Roorda says:

“It’s Thanksgiving Day, not Black Friday’s Eve,” Roorda said.  “It’s just silly what these retailers are doing to the families of folks that work for them.  I think government has a role in regulating the market, and in this particular case…our role is clear — it’s a day that’s supposed to be about family and reflecting and giving thanks, not about corporate greed and prosperity.”

Roorda presumes to know what these retail workers want, although it is quite plausible that many of them like the opportunity to work some extra hours at holiday pay rates (and maybe, by seven or eight in the evening, they’ve had enough of their family!). Maybe a number of these workers can’t visit family at Thanksgiving because their relatives live out of town, and in the Obama economy they can’t afford to travel, so their choices are to sit at home alone or go earn some money. There are all kinds of individual situations, way too many for Roorda to account for in his silly bill, which is a quintessential example of how Democrats view the role of government.

Note too that this bill exempts restaurants. Why should our state’s waiters, waitresses, and cooks be forced to toil under the thumb of greedy executives while their retailer brethren eat turkey and watch football? And good thing the Rams and Chiefs don’t play at home on T-day; there may be no concessions available if this bill passes.

Roorda makes no mention of the shoppers who head out on Thanksgiving night, who have made it clear that their choice is to take the opportunity to hit the stores. I agree that the shopping emphasis around Thanksgiving (complete with fights and stampedes at stores) has gotten way out of hand. That’s why I choose not to participate. But Roorda doesn’t think people should be allowed to choose. If this bill is a preview of his term in office, he will provide much blog fodder, but little results.

Update: Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine already have similar laws.

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