Saturday, April 25, 2009

Time to Start Demanding Change

Here's the one thing that would solve most of our government's problems: We must stop hoping for change and start demanding it. We must police ourselves. We must act honorably and honestly, because the government certainly isn't going to do it for us.

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Let's start here: When you have a baby, depending on where you live, the state health department takes some of the newborn's blood from their foot and sends it off to a state and private lab where they screen it.

Even though it's the largest genetic testing effort in the country, with about 4 million babies tested each year, a lot of parents don't even realize it's happening and it's difficult to impossible to opt out.

Most think it's OK, because they're just trying to make sure there are no diseases, but besides the silent agreement, there are supposed to be sunsets built in. For example, they're supposed to destroy the blood samples after they're done. In most states, they can keep it from anywhere from 6 weeks to around 3 years.

But in Minnesota, they've decided they're not destroying the blood at all — ever.

In doing so, they've been arbitrarily violating a privacy bill, which apparently has become painfully outdated since it passed way back in 2006 (remember those crazy days?).

When some moms went to court and judges sided with them, the government decided to play keep away. They kicked it around the system for a while, hoping a court would allow them to go around the law.

After that didn't work, the government realized that you don't have to fit a square peg in a round hole when you make the holes: They just created a new bill that lets them do what they want.

Angry parents say they had no chance to even debate it, since they were given all of 16 minutes of notice by e-mail before the hearing. Now Governor Tim Pawlenty may be about to sign it.

I knew that the state was becoming a nanny, but I didn't know it was trying to be the mom and dad as well.