The House will begin the 2008 legislative session at Noon on Wednesday, January 9.

This means we all need to sort through those pre-filed bills to see what’s up.

It’s kind of fun (but actually pathetically sad) to recount the inanities filed in past legislative sessions. Think of it as an inoculation for the indignities to come.

The honor for my favorite self-serving and most inane bill of all time goes to David Pearce (r-121) who is an announced candidate for the 31st Senate District seat (Chris Benjamin recently announced he is running as a Democrat).

Deer.

In 2003 David Pearce introduced the following automotive deer hunting restitution bill:

252.042. The department of conservation shall pay the owner of any motor vehicle the first two hundred fifty dollars for repair of damages to any motor vehicle that collides with a deer. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any damage caused to a motor vehicle that involved avoiding a deer where there is no contact with a deer. The owner shall prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that such damage was caused by a collision with a deer and that at the time of the collision the motor vehicle was legally operated.

The Department of Conservation would pay you $250.00 to hunt deer with your car. What’s not to like?

I’m amazed he got someone to co-sponsor it.

I’ve always wanted to walk up to David Pearce and ask him, “David, what’s wrong? You look like a deer caught in the headlights…”  

Second place for most self-serving piece of legislation also has a Pearce connection. Yep, The Term Limited Politician Lowering the Bar for Public Higher Education Employment Shameless Self Interest Act. Which stated in part:

173.475. Notwithstanding any provision of law or policy of a public institution of higher education to the contrary, no public college or university, as defined in section 173.355, shall reject an applicant for a faculty position based solely on the applicant having not earned a graduate degree, provided that the applicant has earned an undergraduate baccalaureate degree and has served for at least eight years in the general assembly.

[emphasis added]

What did David Pearce do when confronted with blatant legislative self-interest? He voted to preserve “the little clause in question” [pdf].

This is going to be a banner year for the General Assembly. I can feel it in my bones.

And David Pearce is going to be added to the pantheon of Missouri legislative giants. Nah.

Well, let’s take a look at what’s in the pipeline.

HB 1315 Establishes the Emily Brooker Higher Education Sunshine Act which defines intellectual diversity for reporting purposes at public higher education institutions

Uh, oh. Does anyone thing Jane Cunningham has an axe to grind with university and college faculty?

As used in this section, “intellectual diversity” is defined as the diversity of ideas that provides the foundation of a learning environment that exposes students to a variety of political, ideological, religious, and other perspectives, when such perspectives relate to the subject matter being taught or issues being discussed. As used in this section, “free exchange of ideas” includes intellectual pluralism and students’ right to learn in an environment that exposes them to an abundance of new knowledge, different perspectives, competing ideas, and alternative claims of truth….

The Pastafarians are going to want their due…

Okay.

HB 1373 Requires any American or Missouri flag flown over state buildings to be made in the United States

8.920. Any Missouri or American flag flown over a state building located in Missouri shall be manufactured in the United States of America.

I think this should be amended to include moms, apple pies, and national anthems. Oops.

Yes, it’s going to be a grand legislative session.