Don’t Touch Those Maps!

From time to time, various state legislatures make a bid to see who can pass the most ridiculous law.  (For many years, the Indiana legislature has had a strong competitive position, with its attempt in 1897 to set the value of pi [π] by legislation.)   Now, according to a report on the Web site of the New Orleans Times–Picayune, the Louisiana  state legislature has made its own bid for fame in this area.

It seems that the House of Representatives in the Louisiana legislature unanimously [!] approved a bill submitted by State Senator Robert Adley.  The effect of the bill is to increase prison sentences for crimes committed with the use of a “virtual map”.

Adley’s bill defines a “virtual street-level map” as one that is available on the Internet and can generate the location or picture of a home or building by entering the address of the structure or an individual’s name on a website.

This would seem to include all of the usual suspects, such as MapQuest, Google Maps, and so on.  The bill would require that anyone convicted of a burglary who used a virtual map have at least one year added to his/her sentence.  Anyone convicted of an “act of terrorism” (whatever that is) would have a minimum of ten years added to the sentence.

Sometimes, with proposals that don’t make much overall sense, one can discern a sort of weird logic in the background.  In this case, I am at a loss to imagine even a crazy reason for this idea.   And, honestly, under the circumstances, I would think that the Louisiana legislature has more important issues to consider.

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