Get ready, fellow Bay Staters, the nanny state is about to declare a ban on several things that dictate to you how to live your lives because they know what is best for you.

After putting off the debate on climate change legislation until after the first of the year, the men and women of the Massachusetts Legislature are now squarely focused on protecting you from yourself. Lawmakers are expected to proclaim a ban this week on flavored vaping materials and flavored tobacco to include menthol cigarettes. And if you just try to quit those nasty menthol smokes, well, they're gonna hit you with a 75 percent excise tax on vaping materials.

Why only menthol cigarettes and not all types? Are Camels not as dangerous as a pack of Kool?

Next up, the single-use plastic bag. Our state reps and senators are about to do their bit for mankind by banning the use of most single-use plastic bags. Most, but not all. This forces shoppers to either furnish their own cloth bags, pillow sacks, pockets or whatever they can come up with to carry the groceries home in. Or, they can purchase a paper bag from the market for a dime, half of which goes to the state.

The stores can also invest in re-usable bags, which means the cost of your purchase will reflect the cost of their investment. It will also result in a few more automated checkout stations at your favorite store. Have you met Marty the Robot at your local Stop & Shop store? He could be the manager by next week.

Finally, the Legislature will ban the use of handheld devices while driving. This ban makes sense, as unlike the other bans it pertains to general public safety. Hands-free technology exists so drivers are not actually barred from using their devices while driving as long as they are using that hands-free technology.

The nanny state strikes again. Take heart though, our fearless do-gooders are about to begin their annual two-month holiday vacation, so feel free to breathe. But they will be back before you know it and when they return, they will be aiming for your wallet. After all, they have a responsibility to save the world from climate change, and that change begins with you – and your paycheck.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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