Quantity, not quality, in Calif Assembly

Aug. 30, 2012

Katy Grimes: What do nannies, alcoholic beverages, green jobs, CalEPA, voter registration, absentee voters, manufacturers, online education, the Air Resources Board, and farm workers have in common?

There was legislation about each one of these issues this week in the Assembly.

There is quantity, not quality, coming out of the state Legislature as this session draws to a close.

Most of the bills being shoved through this week will impose more regulations and restrictions on California residents, taxpayers and businesses.

I’ve seen very few good bills this session, as this is a Legislature that measures its worth by the volume of its output, rather than by the quality or necessity of the bills.

Leadership challenges

This last week of the two-year session has been tense, and the majority party leadership has been prickly.

Floor debates have often been contentious, and resulted in stern outbursts from Assembly floor leaders over Republican challenges. Of note have been several reprimands from Speaker John Perez to Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks. Donnelly has been one of several Republicans willing to stand up and debate nearly every bad bill–this is very important because of the many gutted and amended bills now appearing this last week, after failing to be passed earlier in the session.

Majority Floor Leader, Assemblyman Charles Calderon, D-City of Industry, has frequently interrupted Donnelly on a point of order, claiming that Donnelly wandered off the bill topic. However, Calderon’s objections appear petty, and are mostly nothing more than opportunities to interrupt Donnelly when he is driving home important points.

Tuesday, Donnelly made a sarcastic crack about the Sacramento Bee, and called it a “Communist newspaper.” Shortly after, Assemblywoman Norma Torres, D-Chino, asked if Assembly leadership would discipline Donnelly for committing slander.

The request by Torres was so absurd, and so out of line, that many of her fellow Democrats rolled their eyes. Several Assembly members, who are also attorneys, shook their heads and said that Donnelly’s comment was not a case of slander.

Stupid, arrogant bills

Then there was the absurd Assembly resolution urging the President of the United States and Congress to enact legislation to restrict the export of American coal for electricity generation, to any nation that fails to adopt the same bad rules and regulations as California has on greenhouse gases emissions. Apparently every nation needs to adopt AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solution Act.

Republican Assemblywoman Shannon Grove noted that the Legislature had recently killed AB 1530, a bill which would have removed sexual predators from public school classrooms. But the bill was called an “overreach” by the California Teachers Association, and was summarily killed. Apparently, predator teachers take precedence over California children, when the CTA is spreading money around.

Grove said that if a bill aimed at protecting children from sexual predators was an overreach, a bill telling other nations that they must enact the same climate change legislation as California was a far greater overreach.

Nanny state

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, authored AB 889 requiring domestic workers  over the age of 18, and working in private households, be paid overtime after eight hours, receive meals and rest periods, and have uninterrupted sleep periods and compensation for interruptions… another a union bill.

Clean up

There have been numerous “clean up bills”–bills that make technical corrections to laws passed by the Legislature, but are not actually possible to implement by the state agencies charged with enacting the new regulations. The Legislature has to do this every session, and massive amounts of time are wasted cleaning up sloppy, unworkable bills which probably shouldn’t have been passed in the first place.

Bills gone with the wind

There is more where all of this came from… after all, tomorrow is another day.

 



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