Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Legislation, Press Releases Introduced

The LAT sketches the Sacto rush to introduce bills before the deadline.

Many of the 11th hour introductions seek to resurrect old favorites - like driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. And of couse, as with Congress, most introduced bills will die quietly, providing not so much advancement to public policy as fodder for 199 letters and Fellow bragging.

The article correctly describes many of the bills as placeholders - simple, super short statements of intent with no indication of policy or law that allow legislators to get snag their bill numbers and do the heavy lifting later. But that sounds a bit more cynical than it should - this is just how things work. That's always the problem with this insider snapshots - even if they get the facts right, the nuance is lost. Of course, I used to work there, so perhaps what I see as nuance, the normal Californian would see as a big honking waste of time.

So - what favorites are back for another round? What's new? The LAT picked out some good ones:
  • ACA 6 - Wyland (R-Escondido) A ban on driver's licenses, in-state tuition, health or social benefits to illegal immigrants.
  • AB 5 - Canciamilla (D-Contra Costa) Makes the SoS nonpartisan.
  • A Phoblog Fav: AB 107 - Benoit (R-Palm Desert) Reduces minimum traffic school requirement from 400 to 240 minutes. (You laugh, but you have no idea what it's like dealing with traffic school lobbyists. Things get ugly when the folks from "Happy Yuk-Yuk Comedy Hour Pizza Traffic School" feel threatened.)
  • The Phoblog Prize for Best Sounding, Least Likely to Fix Anything Good Government Reform: AB 16 - Huff (R-Diamond Bar) Bans gov and legislators from accepting campaign contributions during budget negotiations. Sure, this May to August embargo would make things better. We only have a four month memory, after all.
  • Gay marriage - we got bills to legalize it (Leno) and ban it (Morrow) - pick your side and lobby accordingly.
  • Bill most likely to induced 8th Amendment jokes: AB 212 - DeVore (R-Irvine) Ends conjugal visits for violent felons.
  • Because Parents Have to Parent Too Much Already: AB 450 (Yee-San Francisco) Another attempt to "restrict sale or rental to children of video games that depict 'especially heinous, atrocious or cruel' violence." Nah, that's not vague and subjective at all. Why not a bill to restrict parents' paying for these rentals or sales?
  • You Know There's A Story Behind This: AB 282 - Benoit (R) - Imposing fines for displaying porn in a vehicle in public (man! I wish I were going to be at those Trans hearings again).
  • Phoblog's Favorite Bill Ever: AB 13 - Goldberg (D-L.A.) Bans "Redskins" as a school mascot or team name. Still no word on when the peaceful Greek people will be relieved of the violent, hard-tackling image caused by "Trojans."
  • Phoblog's Friends of Ferrets Award: AB 657 - Koretz (D-West Hollywood) Legalizes vaccinated, fixed ferrets as pets. Isn't it time, California? They're so cute and weasely.

Remember - we mock because we care. On the surface, a lot of these bills don't pass the laugh test - but many of them actually do have compelling reasons for being. So give peace, and ferrets, a chance. Better yet, do some research: they're all public documents.

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