As 2016 ends, here is some news to watch for in 2017.
Michigan may move to the Western conference. A bill awaiting the governor’s signature requires speed limit increases, and should result in 75 mph speed limits on freeways and 65 mph speed limits on two lane roads. It will also require local governments to keep proper records of speed zones.
The speed limit in Nevada might be argued in court. The state speed limit was raised from 75 to 80 a while back. Nevada DOT refused to change signs or justify keeping lower speed limits. Most if not all of the posted 75 mph zones are legally 80.
Imagine a pretext stop for “78 in a 75″… which is now a civil rights violation because 78 is below the speed limit. Police might claim qualified immunity, but DOT officials should be guilty of conspiracy to violate civil rights under color of state law.
Similarly, most state highway speed limits in Oklahoma were invalidated in November when a law went into effect requiring them to be justified by engineering studies. Unlike Nevada, Oklahoma now has no unposted speed limit.
In Massachusetts, a badly written law allowing cities to lower speed limits without cause and without signs may face legal tests. It’s not just bad policy to lower the speed limit. The law allowing cities to do so is badly written.
Around the country, the Trump administration may crack down on urban liberals like the Clinton administration cracked down on rural dissidents.
The so-called “Bridgegate” case determined that it was a felony to, among other things, deprive residents of the “right to localized travel on public roadways free from restrictions unrelated to legitimate government objectives.” And more generally it is a felony to misuse property belonging to an entitity receiving federal aid, and to use recorded text messages instead of unrecorded voices to plan conspiracies. (That last one is what gets you convicted, elevating unprovably illegal to federal prison illegal.)
Governor Christie annoyed President Obama, so his team got smacked.
Now city leaders are picking fights with Trump.
There is no shortage of nuisance signs and violations of federal-aid rules which the government could go after. I dream of a city hall in ruins and conspiracy theorists debating whether the Mayor’s men set the fire or the FBI launched incendiary devices. But I expect even if the Trump administration acts, professional courtesy will keep the SWAT teams out of it.
Which is a shame, because it’s the season for sign nuts roasting on an open fire.
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