I try to be as nonpolitical as possible in this blog, but as I am a person and live within a set of laws, I would like to take a moment and talk a little bit about the recent Supreme Court trend of pushing decisions regarding some laws back down to the states. I promise I will not be giving my opinion of those decisions, but rather discuss what this might look like as someone who travels through many states and must adhere to different state laws.
To be honest until recently we haven’t given it much thought although we know many people have. Full timers who are gun owners, for example, have had to struggle with multiple regulations regarding concealed and open carry in different states, and for those who love to fish they run against different state regulations as well. There are varying state laws about triple towing, and others real world issues.
For most full timers though, the major decisions around state laws happen when they choose their home residency (vehicles inspection requirements, cost of registration, establishing residency rules etc) but once that is done, for us at least, varying state regulations have made minimal impact.
Actually, as I write this I realize that really isn’t entirely true. What is more true is that I don’t pay much attention to it. Varying state taxes (especially for gasoline) certainly have an impact, as do the state of the highways in different states, and their corresponding speed limits. Leashed dog requirements have certainly had an impact and for those of us who work in multiple states unemployment ease and access can have issues as well. Insurance rates and rules (including health, vehicle, and RV insurance) certainly can be impactful depending on your situation. I am sure there are others.
I guess as I am thinking this through there are many variations between the states and those of us who travel try to stay on the right side of the laws wherever we are. But for some things that gets a little tricky. Let’s take marijuana for example. When it was legal in just a couple of states it was pretty easy for people to know where they could partake, but every time they crossed a state line with a THC product they were essentially breaking the law. As more and more states have approved recreational marijuana this has become less of a concern, but for the many people who use THC products regularly the varying state regulations can be an issue.
The problem with the example of marijuana (and others) above is how differently the laws are enforced in the varying states. Even in some states where its not legal its unlikely you would be prosecuted for personal use, but there are a few (Arkansas for example) where it is still a felony to possess it. So what should a person with a gun or marijuana do? Generally I think folks just take a breath and wing it when they are traveling through certain states and maybe they won’t linger.
Which brings me to other more important differences. Some cultural, some codified into law, as someone who has traveled this country over the last 8 years not every place is the same. There have been many places we have stayed where I was thankful I was white and many more where I was grateful I was straight. Although we have federal laws in place to protect people of color and the LGBTQ+ community I have also seen firsthand the many ways people in those categories can be made to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome.
Which brings me back to the recent Supreme Court rulings. As more laws are pushed back to the states what does that look like? Does the divide between the north and south, or more accurately the urban and the rural, become more drastic? Do we find ourselves, like black people during segregation, traveling only in places where people like us are welcome? Or do we, like marijuana users, just keep our head down and roll the dice, passing through as quickly as possible?
I have to tell you I have a big problem with this thought. I love this country, all of it, and the thought of having to stay away from certain parts of the country really pisses me off. I know I am not alone in this, and I also know that regardless of your political affiliation there are already places you don’t feel welcome. Will the division continue to worsen? What will this mean for those of us who travel fulltime? Only time will tell. But unlike many others we can’t just pick up and move to a place where people have like minded ideals. Well, that’s not exactly true, we could, but we would be giving up what we love most about this lifestyle…freedom.
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