Bowling shoes can be hazardous to your health, at least in the minds of some state legislators.

Senate Bill 281 would mandate that bowling alleys post a notice of the danger of wearing bowling shoes outside. According to the bill, there have been problems with bowlers taking smoking breaks outside the alley and then coming back inside and tracking in water and debris. That could lead to an injury with people slipping inside the bowling alley and attempting to sue the owners.

The bill states that bowling alleys that post the notices would not be civilly liable for injuries resulting from a slip, trip, stumble or fall inside the bowling alley caused by debris tracked inside by bowlers who went outside while wearing their bowling shoes.

“Unintended consequences — that’s the magic phrase,” said Jack McHugh, senior legislative analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “Good intentions, unintended consequences — that is the story of the nanny state in matters large and small.”

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Michigan's smoking ban prevents smoking in places of business, including bowling alleys.

“It is not the legislators’ bowling alley or the governor’s bowling alley,” McHugh said. “They have no right to tell the owner he can’t have smoking on his own property. Nobody is forced to go to a bowling alley.”

Troy Tuggle, a spokesman for Sen. Joe Hune, R-Hamburg Township, who sponsored the bill, didn’t return an e-mail seeking comment.


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Ted Nelson is a retired Michigan State Police officer who trained police departments throughout the state on civil asset forfeiture. He believes the practice has been misused and needs to change.

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