Have you heard the news?
Starting Aug. 1, 2023, one of the most common household items in Idaho will be illegal. From one day to the next, Idahoans will be prohibited from using something we rarely, if ever, give a second thought to. But this isn't the first time something like this has happened.
In case you don't remember, allow us to jog your memory.
Making the Switch from Analog to Digital TV
It was Jun. 12, 2009 when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) "mandated that all U.S.-based television signals must be transmitted digitally." At the time, Nielson reported roughly 98% of American households were ready to make the switch a week before it went into effect. Still, fact that we were unable to plug our tv into a wall to receive three basic channels blew our minds.
Why the swap? According to the History of Information (yes, that's a legitimate source) the government made the switch from analog to digital television for several reasons.
The top reason, the History of Information wrote, was to "free up parts of the valuable broadcast spectrum for public safety communications." This included communication with state and government agencies, law enforcement, fire departments, first responders, and rescue squads.
Yeah, yeah, yeah...never mind the clearer picture or the freed-up broadcast spectrum, a lot of folks were annoyed by the mandate especially after what went down the year prior.
Uncle Sam Goes Commando on Cell Phones
On Feb. 18, 2008, the FCC went commando and ousted analog cell phones in favor of the “Analog-to-Digital Transition” directive. From that day forward, our beloved Zack Morris Motorola DynaTAC cell phone was illegal (sigh).
A Light Bulb Moment
Here's the deal: stores will be banned from selling incandescent light bulbs and companies will be prohibited from manufacturing them. Idahoans who already own incandescent bulbs, there's no need to worry. Uncle Sam won't fault you for using yours until they run out. To that end, you might want to reconsider burning through your stash before making the switch to LED bulbs.
Advantages of Switching to LED Bulbs
In a recap of the Department of Energy's report, News Nations wrote "LED lights provide more light using 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs." Halogen lights will also be banned. Similar to the tv and cell phone switcheroo, some are calling the transition a gross government overreach and an unnecessary pain in-the-you-know-what.
How do you feel about the light bulb mandate? Email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.