As I mentioned earlier this week, I was up for a minor local election yesterday — and lost. Not a huge surprise since I was running against some popular incumbents and I belong to a party that had not won a Town Council seat in over 37 years. But the Town finally elected another one yesterday — a huge CHANGE for the town.
It takes a lot for a town to change. After all, if things seem good for so long, why change? The same holds true for state laws. Once they get on the books, its very hard to change and get them off.
Recently, I was reviewing some of the state employment laws and wondered why we haven’t changed some of our laws. Many seem antiquated and useless. Indeed, they have outlasted their intended purpose. Over the next few months, I’ll highlight a few.
The first example today is Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 31-25. Not familiar with it? Well, it happen to prohibit minors from working as Elevator Operators. Specifically, it states:
No person under sixteen years of age shall be employed or permitted to have the care, custody, operation or management of an elevator; any person, partnership or corporation violating this provision shall be fined not more than fifty dollars for each offense. No person under eighteen years of age shall be employed or permitted to have the care, custody, management or operation of an elevator, either for freight or passengers, running at a speed of over two hundred feet per minute; any person, whether acting for himself or as agent for another, who authorizes or permits the employment of any person in violation of this provision shall be fined not more than two hundred dollars.
Strangely enough, it appears that the legislature reviewed this statute in 1997. However, the legislature didn’t eliminate it; it merely doubled the applicable fines for violating the statute.
Nearly 90 years ago, perhaps there was a place for it. After all, there was a union of 4000 elevator operators in New York who went on strike back in 1920, and they were big business. While laws such as this may have had an intended purpose back then, is there really a need for it now? Indeed, ask yourself when the last time you saw even an elevator operator in Connecticut (New York city perhaps has a handful, but Connecticut?)
Perhaps the continued place for the books is to prevent minors from operating freight elevators, but even then, given the automation of our elevators, is that still necessary? More important, why even have a law on the books that does not apply to our modern times?
There are other laws like this that date back to a different technological age. But they’ll probably live on. After all, it’s much easier to add a law, then to eliminate it.