Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CBA, Judicial Branch Honor John Adams’ Legacy with Law Day Event

The Middletown Superior Court set the scene yesterday for a reenactment of the Boston Massacre Trial.  A joint effort of the CBA and the Connecticut Judicial Branch, the mock trial celebrated Law Day and the legacy of founding father John Adams.  Attorneys Wes Horton and Kevin Kane portrayed defense attorney John Adams and prosecutor Samuel Quincy, respectively, while Mercy High School’s championship mock trial team served as the jury and CBA staff represented the nine accused British soldiers.  Judge Susan B. Handy and Judge Robert L. Holzberg presided over the event and led a discussion that questioned how the evolution of law since the 1700’s may have changed the outcome of the trial in today’s age. As Judge Handy observed, “We have nine men on trial for the murder of five. The facts state that each soldier had only one bullet. Five bullets, five murderers, nine men on trial. Do the math? How is that possible?”

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Of Lemonade Stands and Government Regulations

Wikipedia Commons

Nicolas S. Martin, the Executive Director of the Consumer Health Education Council in Indianapolis, penned this humorous cautionary tale in the Los Angeles Times last weekend concerning overreach in government regulations.  It recounts how his daughter's spirited plans for a Lemonade stand (and Martin's own enthusiasm to use Lemonade as a way to teach his daughter about business) were crushed by a series of government regulations:
After shopping for her raw materials, I gave my kid a bedtime primer about starting a business. How much profit do you make after expenses? How should you promote your business? Give the customer a great product. She soaked it up and went to sleep all inspiration and smiles. Then I got to thinking about something I hadn't discussed with her: government regulations.

The next morning I began a three-day phone trek through the maze of government agencies that regulate businesses and food sales, and I watched my child's All-American plan crumble like fresh-baked cookies.

My first call was to the parks department, which maintains the trail. That agency is a sponsor of the local Lemonade Day, but, alas, does not permit lemonade stands on its properties any other day of the year. It especially doesn't allow them alongside the trail. Why? They would be "dangerous"; accidents would happen. Do they expect any accidents on Lemonade Day, I asked? "No, we are confident nothing bad will happen that day." Poof! Our best option for a profitable lemonade stand was gone.

My next calls were to the health department, where I eventually found an official who cheerfully told me that, except on Lemonade Day, no child can legally operate a lemonade stand in our city. Nowhere. No time. As far as she is concerned, Lemonade Day itself is just food poisoning waiting to happen.

Martin's plan in response?
What are my kid and I going to do on Lemonade Day? We are going to set up a stand in one of the permitted locations — in a park or at one of the approved sponsors — with hundreds of other kids doing the same thing. But our "secret ingredient" is that we will hand out leaflets explaining why operating a lemonade stand makes my kid and yours not just a hopeful entrepreneur, but an actual lawbreaker.