Friday, February 4, 2011
Like father, like son. Libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is known in the House as a frequenter lone dissenter on bills and his son, freshman Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), voiced the only “nay” vote on a measure that outlaws aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft.
The amendment to a Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill passed 96-1.
The younger Mr. Paul said he thought it was a bad idea to point lasers at pilots, but “there are a lot of states that already have laws, and I think the states ought to take care of it.”
Aviation safety is a states rights issue among libertarians? Who knew?
On Wednesday, the senator said during his maiden floor speech that he did not wish to be known as the “great compromiser,” a description reserved for legendary Kentucky lawmaker Sen. Henry Clay. He compared his fight against government overreach to the campaign by antebellum abolitionists.
Laser pointers, often used to guide office staff through corporate slideshows, can cause blindness and even plane crashes if pointed at a pilot’s windshield, said the measure’s sponsor, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Under the amendment, pointers of laser pointers could face up to five years in prison. The FAA bill needs House approval before becoming law.