How many times have you rolled into a gas station with an overheated engine or a doughy front tire, only to find you had to pay for air and water? Or worse, the station provided no such services?
Problem solved, right?
The law took effect Jan. 1, 2000. Unlike many other bills, this law came with teeth.
The legislation required the Department of Food and Agriculture to create a hotline for motorists to report violations. In response to the complaints, the department was instructed to inspect service stations and issue fines to violators.
But, as of July 1, the money for the enforcement of the law was eliminated because of the state’s whopping $24-billion budget shortfall.
So … pass a law … get a photo op … accomplish nothing. This is worse than just ineffective. It is worse because the presence of this vast body of unenforced law both breeds contempt for the law (decline in legitimacy) and creates a kind of bureaucratic leverage over each of us, as we are caught in a web of selectively enforced laws.
The average speed on the 110 freeway (except during rush hour congestion) is over 80 miles per hour. The speed limit is 55; this means that the enforcing officer can select from a huge population of violators at will. Is he a racist? Then black drivers may get cited. Is she mad at her red-haired ex-husband? Red-haired drivers will get red lights in the mirror.
This kind of law gives incredible unlegislated discretion and power to the enforcers, and makes the average citizen into the average lawbreaker.
But our political system runs on it…