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Regulations or Business Restrictions?

Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, established the Regulatory Review Task Force by Executive Order on February 12, 2013.  She did so to evaluate current regulatons that “are a burden on South Carolina businesses”.

The appointed Chairman of the task force, Mark Lutz, is vice president of a multi-media company that is based in Belmont, Massachusetts. As a former candidate for Congress, he personally lives in South Carolina.  After the first public meeting, Chairman Lutz summarized the intent of the Task Force by indicating that the task force’s biggest challenge is to figure out which regulations hurt business and which help business. (

There is a balancing act between necessary regulations, and some restrictive rules that make it virtually impossible for a new business to even enter the workplace. Regulations can protect citizens and workers or they can serve as a restraint for trade and the creation of jobs.

That is South Carolina’s current thought on regulations effecting business which leads me to the story of Samuel Plimsoll in the 1800’s. It was a time when there was no regulation on the loading of ships.

In 1867, Plimsoll was elected as the Liberal Member of Parliament from Derby. As a British politician, he made it his mission to pass law dealing with the safe loading of ships. At the time, ships were often carelessly overloaded with cargo, causing the ships and crew to ultimately be lost at sea.

On it’s face, it seems sensible that there would be some law or regulation regarding the loading of a ship. It was no secret that lives were being lost. However, there were a number of Parliament members who were also ship owners. They all stood in oppositiion to any law or regulation.

In 1873, Plimsoll was successful in getting a Royal Commission appointed and in 1875, a government bill was introduced. However, Plimsoll felt as though the bill was inadequate as it did not fully address a loading limitation. On July 22, 1875, Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli announced that the bill would be dropped. Plimsoll lost control and called members of Parliament “villians”. Then, he shook his fist in the face of the Speaker.

Disraeli moved to have Plimsoll reprimanded. Instead, Lord Hartington was able to get the body of Parliament to adjourn for a week to allow tempers to cool. Eventually, Plimsoll apologized. Many believed that the shipowners had successfully killed the bill despite the public feeling like something needed to be done. The following year a bill was included as an amendment in the existing Merchant Shipping Act.

Through Plimsoll’s efforts and some backdoor dealing, a limitation on loading was passed. It was a line that indicated how far cargo could be filled. It became known as the Plimsoll Line. It continues to exist as a mark on the hulls of ships today. A time when the business of shipping needed to be told how much they could load, because they could not govern themselves for safety.

DID YOU KNOW that left-handed people have been proven at being better at multi-tasking than right-handed.

And for pic o’ day, this is a version of being told that “in the old days, we had to walk up hill in the snow, to go to school”.

old pup

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