Readers — Right now it is a crime in Ohio to hire a kid under 14, without his/her parents’ permission, to do anything for you, including rake your lawn. The idea, as always, is to keep kids safe from evil adults. But the law smacks of zero tolerance, putting leaf work right up there with a striptease. According to Ohio Public Radio:
Jason Romage ran afoul of that law in 2010 when he offered some kids quarters to move boxes into his Columbus apartment. The judge threw the case out, an appeals court agreed and the state went to the state high court.
Melanie Tobias defended the law to the justices, saying the state has a compelling interest in protecting children. But several justices questioned how the law does that without sweeping up innocent people as well.
And one, Justice William O’Neill, noted that even he may have violated the law.
“I moved from South Russell to Chagrin Falls last weekend. The going rate is $10. I had kids unload a truck. Did I break the law? I didn’t ask their parents. They’re kids that are known to me and to my kids. Did I break the law?”
Gotta love a judge who lays it on the line like that! And if you listen to the report (it’s under 2 minutes), it’s fun to hear Tobias wriggle to defend a law that so clearly was written without any thought of how it would affect most adult-child relationships. But when you see the whole world as one big predator, you write bad laws and then you squirm to defend ’em. Simple as that. – L.