A recent amendment to legislation changing the height requirement for rear splash guards on trucks in Arizona that would have resulted in the ban of mudflap images deemed obscene or hateful has been defeated in the state legislature. Introduced by Tempe Democrat Ed Ableser, the amendment's restrictions would have encompassed the cheeky chrome naked-lady-silhouette mudflaps we've all seen countless times before. One of the amendment's other supporters, Theresa Ulmer (D - Yuma), said that the ban would help promote family values and would also dovetail with efforts to curb pornography and sexual predators.
It's one thing to work the well-intentioned family values angle. You lose us, however, when you mention chrome girlie mudflaps in the same breath as porn and sexual predators. They are kitschy, not criminal. What's next? A ban on Yosemite Sam "BACK OFF" mudflaps because the guns he's holding condone violence? This is the problem you run into when going down this road -- the scope of what's deemed harmful or obscene creeps wider and wider.
[Source: AP via Instapundit)
The catalyst for it all came about when Rep. Ableser saw a vehicle sporting mudflaps that used a derogatory term for black children on them. We called Rep. Ableser's office for more information on that, but haven't heard back yet. Suffice it to say that whatever he saw must have been pretty classless and reprehensible, otherwise he would not have been inclined to pen regulatory legislation. That said, the amendment proved too far-reaching, as evidenced by the 31-19 defeat it was handed. It's one thing to find something offensive (we each have our own definition of what "crosses the line"), but legislating good taste is always going to be near-impossible.