Monday, July 18, 2005
On this day:

AG King: Make Price-Gouging a Felony

From the AP:

After receiving complaints that some grocery stores sold ice for $5 a bag in the days before and after Dennis hit, Attorney General Troy King urged lawmakers to pass a bill in the special session that would make price gouging a felony crime and "more specifically define what price gouging is."

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Yvonne Kennedy, D-Mobile, was one of several hurricane-related measures that died along with the General Fund budget when a filibuster stalled action in the Senate at the end of the regular session...

Kennedy said she feels it's important to pass the price-gouging bill during the special session.

She said she has heard complaints of exorbitant prices for gasoline, food, ice and other essential items before and after storms.

"It places an unnecessary burden on people who are already burdened by the natural disaster," Kennedy said. The bill passed the House on a 92-0 vote, but died without coming up for a final vote in the Senate.

This is a horrible idea. Anti-gouging laws interfere with the natural operation of markets and create shortages of goods and services at the very times they are most needed. You'd think that Attorney General King, who bills himself a conservative Republican, would know better.