Phony Conservative's Phony Bill

Steven Greenhut: Republican elected officials like to maintain their conservative credibility with base voters by offering tough bills that reduce regulations and keep taxes lower. Then they champion these items in campaign ads. The truth is most of these bills are phony — they have zero chance of passage or are basically meaningless. When push comes to shove, these same “conservative” officials behave in ways that expand government. A good case in points is Assemblyman Brian Nestande, the Palm Desert Republican, who is the Assembly Minority Leader’s top lieutenant. He just announced legislation, which is described in his press release as follows:

Assemblyman Brian Nestande, R-Palm Desert, today introduced Assembly Bill 425 – a measure that would require state agencies to identify regulations that inhibit economic growth, and review and simplify all regulations.

“President Obama issued an executive order last month ordering federal agencies to streamline regulations and eliminate rules that stifle economic growth, and California should do the same,” said Nestande. “We need to streamline regulations that are rational and eliminate those that harm job creation without providing a genuine public safety benefit. Assembly Bill 425 directs state agencies to do just that.”

Assembly Bill 425 requires all state entities that promulgate regulations to review those regulations, and repeal or report to the Legislature those identified as duplicative, archaic, or inconsistent with statutes or other regulations. More importantly, this measure requires state agencies to identify and report to the Legislature on regulations deemed to inhibit economic growth in the state.

This is meaningless symbolism. It won’t pass and the bill wouldn’t do anything even if it did pass. We can spend a few minutes picking apart this silliness. Let’s see — the same agencies that introduce bills will somehow unbiasedly determine that they harm economic growth and then do a report on such harm.

Meanwhile, Nestande is the same Republican who recently joined with Service Employees International Union officials at a “no more cuts” rally where he decried cuts to the In Home Supportive Services program. He just received a $7,800 donation from an SEIU local in apparent thanks for his efforts on behalf of big government. It’s time for Republican voters to stop buying these symbolic tips of the hat and hold accountable their officials who help unions and expand government power.

FEB. 14, 2011

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