Murphey: Protecting People From Themselves


Rep. Jason Murphey

Mark Cuban gave an interview to Inc. Magazine last week. The resulting article attributed to Cuban the statement, “There’s no law against stupid!”

My immediate thought upon seeing the quote was, ” …it’s not for lack of trying.”

Each year legislators do their best to create new laws that represent a significant expansion of state government regulatory power designed to protect the public from itself.

We invariably encounter bills that raise existing fees, create new state agencies and accompanying bureaucracies, and introduce new sections of regulations which create costly and laborsome requirements upon Oklahoma businesses.

Each year a handful of these proposals become law.

For example, a few days ago, a new proposal, House Bill 2533, was signed that will put the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in the position of acting for the federal government in regulating how a person excavates on their own property.

Known as the Pipeline Safety Regulatory Certainty Act, the accompanying new federal law was signed by President Obama in 2012 and attempts to keep property owners from damaging pipelines which run underneath their property. In my view, this law against stupidity comes at a price to the rights of the property owner. Someone who uses a mechanical digger to dig a hole to plant a tree could face large government fines if they don’t go through the government-mandated process. Do we really want a government bureaucrat showing up on our property every time we dig a ditch?

What happens if the state doesn’t enact this new assault on the rights of property owners? The state would potentially lose federal funding for a small program within the Corporation Commission that most lawmakers and citizens probably don’t even realize exists. Is this really worth the creation of new and intrusive state regulations?

Instead of standing up to the federal government on this issue, Oklahoma appears to be headed down the path of acquiescence to yet another onerous intrusion upon our property rights under the guise of protecting the public from themselves.

This proposal easily passed the Legislature. But it’s not as if state policy makers could not have seen this coming. I initially wrote about it in an article in December, 2012 which is still online at I have been surprised that an aggressive assault on property rights has so easily stayed under the radar of public and legislative purview.

While Cuban may be technically right about no laws against stupid, it’s certainly not for lack of trying by state and federal government.

Over the next couple of weeks I pan to write more about recently considered proposals which escaped broad public purview but are nonetheless potentially far reaching in scope.

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  1. Kevin, 01 June, 2014

    It sounds like our lawmakers are buying into that idiotic liberal mentality “if it saves just one person its all worth it.”

  2. Castor, 02 June, 2014

    You go, Jason! The web of regulations is getting thicker and thicker. Time to start picking it apart.


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