Got a clogged drain? Before you can buy that liquid drain cleaner, I need to see some ID.
Does that sound like a joke?
It's not a joke. It's the reality in President Obama's home state.
Illinois has a new law that took effect on January 1 requiring all people who purchase drain cleaners or any caustic substances to provide a government issued photo ID. And retailers now must ask for identification from those buying drain cleaners and maintain extensive records of which caustic products have been purchased, in what amounts, and by whom.
The law came about after two Illinois women were burned by acid attacks back in 2008. One of the women later admitted to burning herself with acid, but the law was still pushed through the system. (Updated information has been added below.)
And so, because of one random crime where acid was used to burn a victim, thousands of people will be forced to show identification when they purchase drain cleaners, and countless hours of business time will be spent filling out, maintaining and monitoring the government mandated forms associated with each purchase. Additionally, any person carrying caustic chemicals can be charged with a Class 4 felony in Illinois. (Class 4 felonies can carry fines up to $25,000 and 1-3 years in jail.)
The Illinois drain cleaner law is just one of the 40,000 new laws that took effect in the new year. For the record, the 40,000 new laws are a 29% increase over the previous year.
Among the mass of new laws are a few that are intended to strengthen election security and protect the integrity of each vote in the upcoming elections by demanding that all voters show a photo ID before entering the voting booth. The Wall Street Journal covered this story as 2011 came to a close...
Kansas, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Texas will require voters to prove their identities at the ballot box, bringing the total number of states that require some form of voter identification to 30...
MSNBC has covered the topic of the new laws and specifically the voter ID laws, starting in July of 2011.
The voter suppression issue was also part of MSNBC's review of the 40,000 new laws of 2012.
If it is considered "racist" or "discrimination" to ask a voter for a photo ID before they are allowed to cast a ballot, why is it not racist to ask for a government issued ID card when you want to buy drain cleaner or pay for your gasoline with cash?
Feel free to take our poll on this subject and submit your own question on the topic.
For the record, here is the full segment of Pete Williams talking about the 40,000 new laws taking effect in 2012.
Update - The Illinois legislation was specifically inspired by two local women who were victims of acid attacks. Esperanza Mendoza and Karli Butler were seriously burned in separate and unrelated attacks using caustic chemicals. The earlier mention of a woman who was burned by acid and then admitted to faking the attack was a reference to Bethany Storro's story. Ms. Storro is a Washington state resident who became national news after burning her face with acid and claiming she was attacked.