2:47 pm

  Local News
  State / National / World
  Opinion / Letters
  Arts / Entertainment
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  DJ Designers
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
OP-ED: Good grief, 800 new laws?
January 13, 2014, 05:00 AM The Riverside Press-Enterprise

Real legislative accomplishment requires more than enacting a bunch of new laws. The 2013 legislative session resulted in Gov. Jerry Brown signing more than 800 of the bills that reached his desk. But many of those new laws are politically driven trivia, not serious policy. Legislators need to set aside the narrow pandering, and focus on crucial public business.
Many of the laws that took effect on the first of the year, and some that will roll out over the next few months, do little to address state needs. Yet Brown last year warned against needless legislating, saying the state’s future required more than “producing hundreds of new laws each year” and adding more minutia to the state’s “already detailed and turgid legal system.”
Legislators, however, once again found the lure of minor bills irresistible. The Legislature assumed, for example, that most gun owners lack common sense, and passed a host of new laws aimed at greater scrutiny for them, including AB 231. While undoubtedly well-intentioned — making it a misdemeanor to store a loaded firearm where it is accessible to children — we find it hard to believe that many gun owners store their firearms loaded, much less within the reach of children.
SB 135 earmarked $80 million to build and maintain for five years an earthquake early-warning system that will give Californians 60 seconds to find cover. The effectiveness of such a short warning seems questionable and could give many residents a false sense of security.
The legislative session was also a big one for immigration bills, with AB 60, which lets residents who have entered the country illegally obtain driver’s licenses by Jan. 1, 2015, and AB 1024, which allows the undocumented to practice law. Brown did, however, veto a bill to allow illegal immigrants to sit on juries because that is a pleasure of citizenship, the governor reasoned, that only citizens and legal residents should have to undertake.
To be sure, not all 800 laws taking effect this year are of dubious value. AB 1412 and SB 209 reversed a ruling by the Franchise Tax Board that would have collected $120 million in retroactive taxes from about 2,000 state residents for taking advantage of a state tax break that was legal at the time, but that an appellate court ruled unconstitutional in 2012.
At the same time, the Legislature has no shortage of pressing business to address. Another dry winter, for example, has highlighted the need for California to shore up an endangered system of water exports and improve storage capacity. The state still needs to make reforms that can avoid another prison crowding crisis, and ensure the success of the 2011 realignment that shifted some felons and parolees to county control. And the state still has the massive long-term cost of retirement payouts to address, along with a new school financing approach that will need careful oversight.
Those are hardly the only big issues facing California, of course. But progress on the state’s priority needs requires serious thought and sustained effort, not just another flurry of trivial, irrelevant or needless laws.



Tags: state, residents, address, legislative, another, system,

Other stories from today:


Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
Return To Archives

Daily Journal Quick Poll
Do you think Joe Biden should run for president?

Yes, I like him
Yes, it will give Hillary Clinton some competition
Only if Clinton's campaign starts failing
No, it will distract from Clinton's campaign
No, I don't like him
Doesn't matter, I'm voting Republican


Broadway overpass reopens early
The Highway 101 Broadway overpass, which was closed over the weekend after a construction crane cras..
Thai police seek 2 new suspects in Bangkok bombing probe
BANGKOK — Thai police issued arrest warrants Monday for two more suspects, a Thai woman and a fore..
Syrian official: Amount of damage at Palmyra temple unclear
DAMASCUS, Syria — A Syrian official in charge of antiquities said Monday his government has not be..
More >>  
©2015 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo County blogs