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Thumbs down: Sacramento’s plan for the local toy store

Do state legislators have too much time on their hands? Before saying no, consider this headline from Thursday's Press Democrat: “Bill would abolish toy aisles separated by gender.” It seems Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, is troubled that shoppers may not be able to find Barbie and GI Joe on the same shelf at Kmart or Target. Under Assembly Bill 2826, the same rules would apply for clothing and child care items, with retailers facing fines of $1,000 for failing to comply. Imagine trying to apply those rules to internet searches. Then again, don't.

Low's bill includes this justification: “Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed for girls or boys separated makes it more difficult for consumers to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.” Yes, children should be encouraged to dress and play as they like. And retailers ought to be allowed to merchandise their shelves without oversight from the state Assembly. Thumbs down.

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