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Posts published in “Day: April 8, 2021”

Changing tires

schmidt

The Idaho legislature took a few days off back in March, did you notice? But they are set to get back together this Tuesday. I hope they got the studded tires off their rigs before they head to Boise, because I doubt they’ll be wanting to twirl a lug wrench in their suits and ties. Studs gotta come off here in Idaho by the end of April. Maybe they’ll be done with their lawmaking duties by then. But it isn’t going to snow in Boise in April; they should take them off now.

That’s the kind of thinking I want from a legislator; minimize the damage done to others. You see, while the studs make your traction better in ice and snow, they damage the roads. And we wear our roads out enough here in Idaho. Tire studs are regulated in Idaho law.

I bought some studs this year on Craigslist for my little two-wheel drive pickup. The old street tires were getting pretty bare. I was glad I had them with the snow and ice we had, but it’s time to take them off. Probably need a new set of street tires. If they are all-weather, I might be selling those studs on Craigslist next fall.

Some states ban studded tires, but they are like Hawaii and Florida and Texas. But get this, Minnesota also bans studded tires, and they get winter, I’ve heard. Washington state had a ban on studded tires until 1969 when the legislature allowed them. Every year since the Washington Department of Transportation has recommended reinstituting the ban, but their legislature hasn’t bit that bait. Washington does charge a $5 fee on every studded tire sold in the state. It goes into the highway repair fund, but they claim it doesn’t cover the damage done. Heck, in Wyoming they are legal all year. But they have oil.

So, past Idaho legislatures have decided to regulate some things, despite the tone of the current session. Maybe when they get back this Tuesday, they’ll take a look at that studded tire law and throw that one out.

They haven’t been too welcoming to regulations this year.

That is, unless it’s public art. They want to regulate how municipalities do art.

And historic names, like schools or parks, the legislature wants to put their hand on that scale.

Oh yes, and anything to do with “social justice” is facing hard times.

And they want to make it harder to turn in absentee ballots because, as House Majority leader Mike Moyle says, “Voting shouldn’t be easy.”

Maybe studded tires are next.

It really is about freedom, after all. There’s a guy down the street drives by my house all summer on his way to Arby’s with his studs on. I can hear him coming three blocks away. He’s celebrating his freedom to run studs in the summer while he ruts up the road in front of my house.

One person’s freedom is the next person’s rut in the road.

I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to the legislature getting back together. I heard some got the Covid so that’s why they shut down suddenly. I really hope they are all better and nobody else gets sick. I hope they are ready to get back to work.

Maybe their perspective has changed in this little two-week break. We know the faces haven’t; the same butts will be in the same seats. And, despite the little Covid scare, most won’t be wearing masks.

But maybe they swapped to the summer tires. It would be the responsible, neighborly thing to do.