Saturday, March 5, 2011

From Greg Lucas' California Capitol Blog: Tons of New Legislation

Greg Lucas, a former Capitol correspondent for The San Francisco Chronicle has a great blog, California's Capitol. Yesterdayhe wrote about the new legislation recently introduced and the bill list follows this post.

From Greg's blog:

Published March 4th, 2011 by Greg Lucas, California’s Capitol Blog

Shattering its January output of 248 bill introductions, the Assembly and the Senate produced nearly 10 times as many measures in February – 2,023, to be exact.

In the Senate and the Assembly, the deadline to introduce bills was February 18 although committee bills rather than those introduced by an individual members could be logged later. The Assembly Daily File shows AB 1400, AB 1401 and AB 1402 introduced on the first two days of March.

The 80-member Assembly introduced 1,183 new bills during the 28 days of February – an average of 42.25 per day.

For the 40-member Senate, its 792 new pieces of legislation represent a rate of 28.28 per day.
Rounding out its total, the Assembly also introduced four bills in the special session called to cope with the state’s budget woes.

Three Assembly constitutional amendments were also part of the mix as were 19 Assembly Concurrent Resolutions, four Assembly Joint Resolutions and three House Resolutions.

The Senate increased its number of proposed constitutional amendments by two, added 14 Senate Concurrent Resolutions and two Senate Resolutions.

Hundreds of issues are addressed in the stack of new bills.

Creators of “body art,” would be required to register with law enforcement agencies under AB 300, the Safe Body Art Act. Ear piercing is exempt from regulation under the bill.

“Body art” is defined as “body piercing, tattooing, branding or application of permanent cosmetics.”

The Senate’s SB 300 would create a 21-member Academic Content Standards Commission for Science and History-Social Science.

Skipping ahead several hundred, AB 550 by Alison Huber, a Lodi Democrat, would require a peripheral canal that diverts water from the Sacramento River and delivers somewhere south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to be approved by the Legislature.

The Legislative Analyst would be required to examine the feasibility of the project prior to passing a bill creating the canal.
(A task the analyst would no doubt perform without Huber’s edict.)

And, finally, if passed the bill would prohibit the “construction and operation of a peripheral canal from diminishing or negatively affecting the water supplies, water rights, or quality of water for water users within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed or imposing any new burdens on infrastructure within, or financial burdens on persons residing in, the Delta or the Delta watershed.”

Narrower in scope is Los Angeles Democrat Alex Padilla’s SB 550, which relates to the makers of commercial optical disks.

No manufacturing equipment or disk molds could be used unless each bears a proper identification mark or code, should Padilla’s bill become law.

As with every legislative session, a number of bills seem either unnecessary or a solution in search of a problem.

For example, Jose Solorio’s AB 275 would “authorize landowners to install, maintain and operate rain barrel systems, as defined, and rainwater capture systems, as defined, for specified purposes, provided that the systems comply with specified requirements.”
If they want to, can’t landowners already collect rainwater without state authorization?

Not to single out the Santa Ana Democrat but does the “Displaced Janitor Opportunity Act” really need to be renamed the “Displaced Property Service Employee Opportunity Act” so it includes “security, as defined, landscape, window cleaning, and food cafeteria services,” as contemplated by his AB 350?

A cursory review of the rest of the lists shows measures on apiaries, rabies, “urban heat island effect,” nurse-to-patient ratios, tax conformity, energy efficiency, restraining orders, the Mendocino Woodlands Outdoor Center, bleeding disorders, ”implements of husbandry,” automated traffic enforcement systems, cemetery districts, sex offenders and expungement.

Needless to say, given the volume of introductions there are hundreds of other subjects.
While the amount of bills vying for legislative attention – the better part of 2,500 – seems excessive, some bills – particularly those of Republicans in a Democratic majority Legislature — won’t pass.

One of those is AB 333 which says the State Air Resources Board can’t impose emission reduction requirements mandated by AB 32, California’s landmark greenhouse gas reduction law, in counties with unemployment of 7 percent or higher until unemployment falls below 7 percent for six months.

This is, both on a policy and political basis, little more than a gussied-up press release that costs taxpayers at least $30,000 – just as every bill introduced does, according to the Legislative Analyst.

Multiplying 2,023 by $30,000 equals nearly $60.7 million.

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