Hold the Twitter: Brown signs a good law!

Commentary

Sept. 27, 2012

By Steven Greenhut

Gov. Jerry Brown just signed something good into law. This is so rare that we ought to hold the presses. Brown today signed legislation that bans public and private universities and employers from demanding social media passwords from potential employees and students. This is an absurdly totalitarian practice, as employers and “educators” try to troll through others’ private Facebook and Twitter accounts looking for bad things that might give them pause from hiring or accepting someone as student.

What’s next? Should we hand the government or nosy private employers our email passwords so that they can search through them to make sure we haven’t said or done anything wrong?

Doesn’t anyone believe in any level of privacy any more? Brown, who has been notoriously hostile to open meetings laws and has been an advocate for police secrecy and basically whatever the cop unions want, is something of an anti-civil-libertarian, a seamless garment of big government despite his occasional rhetorical flourish from his old lefty days. But maybe there’s hope. He (or at least some flunkie in his office) even tweeted the signing of the laws.

California’s legislators don’t ever fix the real problems facing the state (pension liabilities, budgets, police secrecy and abuse, a hostile regulatory climate, crumbling infrastructure, terrible schools, etc.), but they do spend lots of time proposing silly laws targeted mainly against private individuals — at least when they are not looking for tax increases. For instance, the governor just signed Sen. Ted Lieu’s bill that would, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, make “it illegal in most cases to use packs of dogs to chase bears and bobcats into trees, where hunters shoot them.” This is silliness run amok.

I have never used packs of dogs to hunt anything, but it’s hard to believe that this is a pressing problem in California. The key to understanding such bills is to understand the mindset of legislators. Most, such as Lieu, are looking for higher statewide office. Big issues such as those I mentioned above require collaboration and taking on vested interests. So legislators hide behind their caucus on those weighty matters, and the caucus — especially the Democratic caucus in this state — are wholly owned subsidiaries of the unions or other interest groups. So the big stuff doesn’t get done and legislators have ready excuses why it doesn’t happen.

But legislators need to make a name for themselves as they climb the ranks of government, so they scope the state for tiny problems they can fix and then use in campaign ads  in grandiose ways. Hence, bills such as this one that protect bears and bobcats from hunters with packs of dogs. Come on, this isn’t exactly a big issue. Some other ambitious pol will no doubt follow the senator’s lead and sponsor an ASPCA-backed bill that bans people from, say, chasing coyotes in Jeeps and then killing them by dousing them with gasoline. Such a hunting practice would indeed be barbaric, but does it really happen?

But think of the great campaign ads as so-and-so legislator protects the animals!

Then on to some other picayune matter. But, hey, we’re not supposed to be cynical.

6 comments

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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 27 September, 2012, 11:55

    I would never give anyone my password, ever.

    Reply this comment
  2. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 27 September, 2012, 12:45

    Here’s something rare indeed— CWD blogs a balanced piece.

    Reply this comment
  3. Bill - San Jose
    Bill - San Jose 27 September, 2012, 13:44

    This is an obvious choice that should have never been an issue.

    But leave it to Edward to blog this blog. GGs.

    Reply this comment
  4. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 27 September, 2012, 14:42

    Blog this blog? I was damning by faint praise ™.

    Reply this comment
  5. BobA
    BobA 28 September, 2012, 07:29

    Brown signs a good law? I’m not impressed. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Reply this comment
  6. Edward Steele, Chief Investigator
    Edward Steele, Chief Investigator 28 September, 2012, 11:08

    BobA– What do you have against the Gov? He rocks!

    Reply this comment

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Jerry BrownSteven Greenhut

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