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Overstepping authority by enforcing bans or place restrictions

The actions that states have taken to protect children from the alleged dangers of smoking. Louisiana banned smoking in automobiles if there were children present. The punishment for violating this law is a $150 fine or one day of community service. Arkansas soon followed suit, but only fines offenders $25. Texas is forcing all foster parents to provide smoke free homes, basing this requirement on the fact that the children are wards of the state and need protection from the perils of second hand smoke.

Anti-smoking groups claim that a child in the car can be exposed to up to ten times the level of smoke found in a bar, whilst smokers claim it is a witch hunt based on "junk science". One question raised is whether the state has a legitimate basis for restricting a legal activity, and whether it is a legitimate exercise of the state's police power.

1. Are states overstepping their authority by enforcing bans or place restrictions on an activity that is legal?
2. Is there a legitimate state purpose for restricting smoking in public and/or private places?

Solution Preview

There is a legal maxim that states that your rights end where another's begin. So with that in mind, let's consider your two questions:

1) Are states overstepping their authority by enforcing bans or place restrictions on an activity that is legal?

The law is often times less than specific on certain issues. For example, my father (who happens to be an attorney) is also a private pilot. We were flying the other day, and I asked him what the speed rule was for taxiing the airplane on the tarmac and taxiways. His reply was that the rule is whatever is ...

Solution Summary

Overstepping authority by enforcing bans or place restrictions are examined.

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