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Here are state laws we’d really love to see

By Edie Gross

The Free Lance-Star

The Virginia  General Assembly is back in session this week, and if the wind blows just right and you tilt your head just so, you can actually hear the sound of bipartisan bickering emanating from Richmond.

Which is actually pretty convenient since it saves you the trouble of having to drive down there yourself—and hunt for nonexistent parking near the Capitol—to hear it in person.

In an effort to cut down on the noise pollution and sow the seeds of unity, I’m proposing some legislation that I think all of us can get behind:

Mandatory minimum sentences for rubberneckers. If you’re so interested in that fender–bender on the side of the road, by all means, pull over, get out of your car, take some photos and post them on your Facebook page.

But that thing you do, where you stay in the travel lanes, tapping your brakes so you can slow down enough to get an eyeful of someone else’s misfortune—that just ticks off everyone behind you and causes a miles-long chain reaction that ultimately makes some poor guy in Maine late for work.

Thirty days on a roadside cleanup crew ought to cure you of your obsession. Even better for the rest of us, it’ll keep you out of traffic for a month.

Alternative health care benefits. If you have health insurance, many of your prescription drugs are covered. That’s all fine and well, but what about the over-the-counter stuff?

For instance, I find that I’m more alert, productive and able to resist the urge to hack at someone’s larynx if I’ve had a grande Starbucks iced coffee made with soy milk and five pumps of classic sweetener each day. That drink is medically necessary, for me and everyone around me.

I want my coverage. And trust me—you want me to have it, too.

Nougat Appreciation Day. This one’s really pretty self-explanatory, and longtime readers know this issue is near and dear to my heart. Some sample wording:

WHEREAS nougat is the mother of all edible adhesives, the glue that binds the chocolate to the caramel, the caramel to the little rice crisp crunchy things and the little rice crisp crunchy things to the all-important load-bearing wafer center,

AND WHEREAS studies show that nougat and nougat-based snacks coat the brain in mood-elevating endorphins that cut down on psychotic episodes among women everywhere,

AND WHEREAS that makes nougat a key public safety component,

THEREFORE we, the Virginia General Assembly, hereby acknowledge nougat’s unrivaled contribution to the commonwealth’s peace, prosperity and collective sanity and set aside a day for its celebration.

Yellow Starburst Initiative. Everyone knows the red, orange and pink Starburst are the best. The yellow ones just take up space in the bag. This bipartisan initiative decrees that yellow Starburst can take up no more than 10 percent of the volume of any bag sold in Virginia, which is just enough to remind you how much better the other flavors are but not enough to interfere with your access to those other flavors.

Sporting Event Communications Act. This law, which has been a long time coming, states that if you call someone and interrupt them while they’re watching a key sporting event, it must be for one of the following reasons: Your life is in immediate danger and the person you’re calling is the only one on Earth who can save you.

Actually, that is the only reason.

Fines are doubled if you call during the last few minutes of the game and the score is close.

Fix red-light running. Forget the cameras. Instead, using state-of-the-art annihilation technology, we can simply affix weapons-grade lasers to each traffic signal. Run a red light and get vaporized.

No muss, no fuss, no paperwork. Also, no accidents.

That may come as a blow to the rubbernecking community. But a little state-sponsored nougat celebration will cheer them right up.

Edie Gross: 540/374-5428