Is repealing this law really a problem?

While Gov. J.B. Pritzker and legislators wrestle with spending proposals as they shape next year’s budget, they also are occupying themselves with a less-serious issue.

How many people know it’s illegal to have objects hanging from your vehicle’s rear-view mirror? A new law would change that.

“If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, Illinois drivers will no longer have to worry about what’s hanging from their mirror,” one news account states.

Law enforcement opposes the change because its leaders claim that objects hanging from the mirrors obstruct a motorist’s view.

That could be, but that argument seems like a stretch. Further, if it’s really a problem, the average motorist knows how to solve it.

Frankly, the rule comes across more as a reason to allow suspicious police officers to stop a motorist and either allay or confirm their suspicions.

But if that’s all the probable cause they have to conduct a traffic stop, it’s not much. That, of course, raises the question of how much latitude police should have to pull over motorists and place them, even briefly, in custody.

Black lawmakers are pushing the change because they contend that it’s another method police have to unjustifiably harass people.

“We need to do everything we can to reduce the need for police interactions with people for nonviolent and nonthreatening violations,” said State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago.

Law officials have thousands of interactions every day that don’t amount to a hill of beans. Most of the ones the public hears about have nothing to do with parking placards or air fresheners hanging from a rear-view mirror.

That, of course, does not mean it’s good public policy to allow stops of that nature or that the law shouldn’t be repealed.

Law enforcement needs to operate within limits that allow officers to establish proper priorities while at the same time permitting them to carry out their multiple duties in a manner that generates public respect.

In that context, objecting to repealing this paltry law makes little sense. If doing away with it generates problems, the restriction can always be restored.