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Story highlights

It appears to be the season for "outlandish ideas," history professor observes

Topics include abortions, protests and levies on the undocumented

CNN —  

Old ideas that never had a realistic chance of becoming law are being brought out for another try.

A slew of bills are being proposed, some restricting speech and another seeming to target immigrants.

“This is about outlandish ideas, ideas that are not in the normal realm of liberal or conservative,” said Julian E. Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University.

Many legislatures convene in January. Here are a few of the bills that may be discussed.

Indiana: Bill would criminalize abortion

A legislator says he will file a bill that will outlaw all forms of abortion and allow criminal charges to be filed against people who participate in an abortion procedure.

“You would treat the death of an unborn child like you would any other human being,” state Rep. Curt Nisly told the Indianapolis Star.

Though such a law would conflict with Roe v. Wade, which allows abortion, and probably be declared unconstitutional, Nisly said he doesn’t care.

“My position is that the Supreme Court is wrong with Roe v. Wade,” he told the newspaper. “This is the state of Indiana asserting the powers that are given to them, specifically in the 9th and 10th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.”

Trump says he will appoint anti-abortion Supreme Court judges and hopes abortion rights will be regulated by states.

Iowa: ‘Suck it up, buttercup’ bill

Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann is upset that college students reacted to Donald Trump’s election by retreating to “cry rooms” and blocking Interstate 80 with their protests.

Kaufmann says he’ll file a bill that will penalize state colleges that fund election-related sit-ins and grief counseling beyond what is normally available, the Des Moines Register reports.

Schools would be subject to a budget cut twice what they spent on such an activity. His bill would set new criminal penalties for protesters who shut down highways.

“You’ve got a right to be a brat,” Kaufmann said, according to CNN affiliate WQAD. “You’ve got a right to protest, that’s constitutionally protected. But you do not have a right to throw a temper tantrum on I-80 and put my constituents’ lives in danger.”

Kaufmann said he’ll name the bill “Suck it up, buttercup,” after a catchphrase he’s heard farm hands use.

Georgia: Tax proposed on money wire transfers

Immigrant workers – including those in the United States illegally – often send money back home through wire transfers.

State Rep. Jeff Jones wants to tax those transfers and says he’ll introduce a bill to do this. A transfer under $500 would incur a $10 fee. A transfer over $500 would incur a $10 fee, plus 2% of the transaction amount.

The fee would be reimbursed when individuals file a Georgia income tax form or the proper paperwork. The state could make $30 million-$40 million in in revenue a year, Jones says.

Of course, illegal immigrants are often hesitant to provide personal information about themselves to the government.

Congress: Bill to eliminate Electoral College

US Senator Barbara Boxer at the 2016 Democratic Convention.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US Senator Barbara Boxer at the 2016 Democratic Convention.

Trump won the Electoral College but Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton took the popular vote. Same thing happened to Democratic nominee Al Gore in 2000, when he lost to George W. Bush.

Retiring U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California wants to change that, and has entered a bill to do so.

“The Electoral College is an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society, and it needs to change immediately. Every American should be guaranteed that their vote counts,” she said.

Trump praised the Electoral College, despite having criticized it in the past.

Georgia: Burqa bill withdrawn

 A burqa-clad Afghan woman.
AREF KARIMI/AFP/Getty Images
A burqa-clad Afghan woman.

A state House member filed legislation that would would effectively not allow women to have their driver’s license photos shot while wearing burqas, the full-body garment that many Muslim women wear, or drive while wearing a burqa.

But Rep. Jason Spencer said Thursday he’d withdraw the bill.

“While this bill does not contain language that specifically targets any group, I am mindful of the perception that it has created. My objective was to address radical elements that could pose a threat to public safety,” he wrote on his official Facebook page.

The bill would have amended Georgia’s anti-masking statute, which was intended to ban Ku Klux Klan hoods and robes.

Critics say the bill targeted Muslims.