More dumb bills

John Seiler:

Once again, tomorrow the Legislature will miss its June 15 deadline for passing a  balanced budget — or any kind of budget. Instead, our Masters are messing again with the initiative process with dumb new bills.

Sen. Mark Leno has proposed a bill that “would ban gas and electric providers with more than 3 million customers (that’s only PG&E, in case you are wondering) from using ratepayer funds for political campaigns.” It’s a reaction to Prop. 16, on which PG&E blew $46 million. It would have limited the ability of local governments to grab electricity utilities’ assets.

I didn’t like PG&E’s splurging on the initiative, either. But unlike Leno, I actually read the election returns: It lost. And Mark, in case you need proof, here’s the tally on the Secretary of State’s site: 52% ¡no!, 48% .

It’s true that wasting $46 million of the shareholders’ money was pretty stupid. But that’s between the shareholders and the management.

Leno also was worried about the cost being shifted to ratepayers. But there’s a better solution: de-coupling the utility from the government — that is, stop it being a monopoly. Totally deregulate the system so competition can ensue.

I’m not talking about that 1996 “deregulation” that really was a hyper-re-regulation that led to the blackouts a decade ago. I’m talking about ending all regulation of electricity.

There’s another bill, this one by Assemblyman Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, which “would require corporations to notify their California shareholders of any spending on political campaigns and allow those shareholders to opt-out of being involved in the activity.” Not just utilities, but any corporation.

Can he really be that unknowledgeable? There’s already a way shareholders can opt-out of campaign spending by a company: by selling all their shares.

Nava’s bill would just give corporations another reason to leave the Pyrite State, taking their jobs with them.

Meanwhile, California teeters toward a well-deserved insolvency.

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  1. StevefromSacto
    StevefromSacto 16 June, 2010, 10:19

    The prohibition proposed by Senator Leno would merely level the playing field so that huge corporations like PG&E would have the same requirements as SMUD and other public energy providers who opposed Prop. 16. There’s nothing dumb about that.

    As to Senator Nava’s “shareholder protection” act, how come this is “dumb” when the Rabid Right has been trying to do the very same thing to unions for years?

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