Tag Archives: bills

Three Bills for One Tragedy – Penn State & California-style Solutions

By now the tragic, shocking events that transpired at Penn State are common public knowledge.  Ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was re-arrested last week on new charges of child molestation.  That brings the charges against him up to more than 50 counts.  Longtime coach Joe Paterno lost his job as the investigation continues.  The entire scandal from top to bottom is enough to make this mother two young children weep.  It is heartbreaking, infuriating and disturbing.

Naturally, when a story like this comes to light many people begin to ask the question, “How did this happen? What can be done to make sure it never happens again?”  A worthy question and one that not only the entire Penn State community will have to address, but also educational institutions across the country.  Here in California the question has been posed quite publicly.  The answer?  Why, more bills of course!  CA Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) will introduce a bill that would require all athletic organizations to provide employees with training on how to identify and report child abuse.  That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?  Not necessarily, but consider this: last month two separate California representatives, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and state Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) put forward two separate bills that would also require employees of universities and colleges to report suspected cases of child abuse to law enforcement.  That’s not all…Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has introduced similar legislation in D.C.   Why on earth would three different state politicians propose three different bills that cover the same issue?  Is it because they think 3 times the bills = 1.9 times the caring (I used government math for that one)?

Politics is big business in the state of California.  Besides a salary that averages $113, 000/year and a $162/day per diem (year round, don’t forget), politicians also earn big money with book deals and on the speaking circuit.  How do you become someone others will want to pay to speak at their fundraiser dinners and company retreats?  You pass a bill that has your name on it.  The more sensational, the better.  The Smith-Jones Human Waste bill or Jones-Smith Cat Leash bill simply aren’t exciting enough.  No one is moved (forgive the pun) by bills that deal with human waste and taking cats for walks, as an example ( by the way, these are not real bills…yet.  In Califorina-stan anything is possible when you have a full-time legislature run solely and completely by Democrats).  What you want as a politician is a bill that catches the eye, that speaks to emotions and very real public fears.  You want a bill that proports to solve a problem publicly and definitively, something you can speak about around the country.  You want a bill that identifies you as a public crusader.  It has little to do with content and public safety and everything to do with pride and money.

I understand people want to know that nothing like what happened at Penn State will ever happen again.  I don’t suggest that it is a poor idea to ask educational institutions to train their employees and talk about how to handle (God forbid) such situations, should they ever arise.  I am just like you, dear reader – disgusted and heartbroken at the selfish employees at Penn State who allowed young boys, children to be raped and molested right under their noses for years.  We have laws to deal with such heinous crimes.  But what is needed here is not more laws.  Our nation is drowning in legislation, much of it redundant.  With each new public tragedy there come more and more cries for better laws, stricter laws, updated laws, more specific laws.  There are so many laws on the books to be broken that our jails and prisons are overflowing with petty criminals, causing more violent offenders to be released early to create more room (that’s happening here in California thanks to…another law!)  Its natural to want to prevent more tragedy, but at what cost? In California Governor Jerry Brown has more than 600 bills on his desk awaiting approval before the end of the year.  They range from tighter helmet laws to school athletic awards.  The gridlock in Sacramento makes Washington look like amateurs. We don’t need to legislate common sense.  The national out-cry in response to the Penn State scandal proves that most Americans get that not reporting child abuse is wrong.  Do we really need more laws – THREE separate laws – to confirm that sentiment?

Every tragedy does not require a new law.  Our society would grind to a halt if every terrible accident or event resulted in a new law being passed.  What happened in Pennsylvania was outrageous.  The prepatrator is going to jail, hopefully forever.  Writing new, vague laws that most likely will end up creating even more fraud and trapping individuals in compliance loopholes will not make our kids safer. Just imagine the things that would be reported to the authorities under these new laws.  Every pat on the back, warm squeeze or lingering look could be reported by school employees terrified of prosecution if real allegations are ever proven; not to mention child molesting is a very serious charge and the simple suggestion of it can ruin an innocent person’s life forever.  Its too risky. Look at what’s become of sexual harassment laws in the workplace or the zero-tolerance policies in public schools.  We now have children being suspended for kissing or calling their teachers “cute”.  Why wouldn’t a new law governing issues of sexuality and molestation in higher education turn into the same fiasco?

I too want to ensure this never happens again but adding 3 more bills to the Governor’s desk is not going to change anything for the boys whose lives were destroyed by Sandusky.  We don’t need better laws.  We just need better people…and that subject is a longer post for a different day.

 

Gov.Jerry Brown Vetoes Babysitter Bill, Signs Gardasil Mandate

I recently wrote an article exposing the 600 bills waiting on California Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.  The sheer number of bills combined with their stifling and oppressive content caught the attention of a lot of readers.  Many people were shocked by some of the proposed bills that included a bill to establish a Fitness Award in schools, one banning minors from using tanning beds, and a California “Dream Act” that would allow illegal alien students to receive state aid for college.  Even Governor Brown has mentioned that the number of bills California lawmakers have sent him is a bit out of control.

One bill in particular caused quite a stir here in the state of California: The Babysitter Bill.  This bill would allow (require) babysitters and in-home caretakers to unionize.  It would have effectively ended the childcare industry in California by requiring parents to follow union employment standards.  That would mean date night would require two babysitters, one to relieve the main sitter every two hours for a mandated fifteen minute break and lunch breaks.  Also, parents would be asked to provide health insurance and workman’s comp insurance.  Maybe its just me, but dinner and a movie with my husband once a month is not worth the cost of a dental plan for my college-student sitter.  We’ll just do pay-per-view, thank you very much.

As it turns out, Governor Brown has decided to veto the Babysitter Bill, along with several others, including one that would have criminalized child skiing and snowboarding without proper head gear.  Oh, did you need to read that again?  Yes, there was actually a bill on Brown’s desk to monitor every kid on every slope in California-stan to make sure they have the proper head gear.  In reference to that bill  Brown said:

“While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state.  Not every human problem deserves a law. 

I believe parents have the ability and responsibility to make good choices for their children.

I never thought I’d say this, but Brown makes sense! Of course, he lost any “common sense” points by signing other job-killing, questionable bills such as:


SB 651- eliminates the requirement that homosexual “domestic partners” live together; allows minors to become “domestic partners”.

SB 397 – permits online voter registration (opening up for more fraud).

SB 126 – forces farmers to allow agricultural workers on their private farms to unionize without witnesses or elections.  If one worker decides to unionize, the rest will be forced to do so as well.  Californians can expect food prices to raise significantly in the coming months.

But the most disturbing bill Governor Brown signed into law has to be AB 499, which allows school staff, nurses, and others to push the HPV vaccine upon girls as young as 12 years old, without parental consent. With all the attention paid to Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Gardasil mandate, it seems strange that this isn’t a bigger deal in the news.  Schools will be allowed to give girls a vaccination for a sexually transmitted disease without parental consent or even notification.  As the mother of a 4 year old daughter I find that absolutely chilling.

Jerry Brown seems to be walking a strange tightrope in the state of California.  As a Democrat he is still beholden to the unions that basically run the state, but as Governor he is privy to the dearth of inside information regarding California’s fiscal state.  Brown is no idiot.  He knows that California is dying, and every new bill regulating the day to day lives of average earners is another nail in the coffin.  But Brown is also a typical, self-interested liberal.  In the end, its his own job and legacy that matters to him.  He’ll continue to alienate and destroy the actual producers in this state for as he can, until one day California will simply collapse under the weight of its own regulation.

600 bills.  725 new laws.  “Prosperity” sure comes with a lot of red tape these days.

 

Regulated to Death in California-stan

 

There are currently 600 bills on the desk of California governor Jerry Brown waiting to be signed.  Yes, you read that right- 600 bills.  In a state gridlocked with overregulation and arbitrary laws, the legislature has decided what is needed the most is more regulation!  This should hardly be a surprise to anyone who is at all familair with life in California-stan.  Legislators in California are the highest paid in the nation, receiveing over $113,000 in taxpayer money per year.  Add to that a per diem of $162/day for every day the legislature is in session and it doesn’t offer much incentive for lawmakers to get vital state business finished quickly and go home.  A Senator in California-stan can earn up to an extra $40,000/year (on top of their salary) simply for showing up to a job they already get paid to do and signing in, as long as the legislature is officially in session.  That works out to over $19,000/day taxpayers are giving away to lawmakers just to sit and make laws (which, again they already get paid to do).  Many representatives also keep a second residence in the capital of Sacramento, apart from their families in other parts of the state.  They are not engaged in the day to day responsiblities of running their own households, and thus have nothing better to do than collect money to devise new ways to meddle in the day to day activities of the taxpayers.  With an abundance of time and money on their hands, and the opportunity to attach their name to a bill or law, California legislators piled 600 new bills onto the backs of their constituents.  Here are just a few examples of the "necessary" bills waiting to be signed by Governor Brown.

AB 1319-Ban the chemical BPA ­ bisphenol A ­ from baby bottles, sippy cups and other food and beverage containers intended for children ages 3 and younger.

AB 746-Prohibit children under 18 years old from using tanning beds.

AB 353- restricts local police from impounding cars at sobriety checkpoints solely because a driver is unlicensed.

AB 101-Allow unions to organize child-care providers who work out of the home and handle subsidized clients. (dubbed the Babysitter Bill)

SB 292 and AB 900-would provide for an expedited judicial review of environmental challenges to a proposed NFL football stadium in downtown Los Angeles. AB 900 extends the same break to large projects involving clean energy generation or downtown stadiums that get environmental certification. (update: Brown signed this bill into law last week)

AB 6 – Among other things, remove the requirement that food stamp recipients be fingerprinted.

AB 131 – Allow undocumented California State University and community college students who are eligible for in-state tuition to receive publicly funded student aid. (CA Dream Act)

AB 200 – would require the state board to establish the Health and Fitness Award Program to recognize schools that conduct their physical education courses pursuant to the model content standards

AB 564- would allow a taxpayer to designate on a tax return that a specified amount in excess of his or her tax liability be transferred to the Municipal Shelter Spay-Neuter Fund

SB 702-This bill would prohibit any public animal control agency or shelter, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals shelter, humane society shelter, or rescue group from releasing to an owner seeking to reclaim his or her dog or cat, or selling or giving away to a new owner, a dog or cat that has not been microchipped, except under a specified circumstance.
 
These are only 10 of the bills waiting for a signature.  There are 590 more. 590.  Even Governor Brown himself has commented on the ridiculaous and unnecessary number of bills coming across his desk.  The California legislature is has passed so many bills they now find themselves having to pass bills to waive off the results of previous bills.  For example, Governor Brown recently signed AB 155, which postpones by a year the online sales tax earlier enacted against Amazon.  The previous bill drove Amazon to move its business out of California, much to the disappointment and detriment of small business owners who rely on Amazon for retail sales.  The governor was also forced to sign AB 900 in order to waive off some of the stifiling environmental regulations previoulsly encacted that would stand in the way of a very lucrative football stadium being built in Los Angeles.  When a government must pass bills to fix other bills, it can be officially stated the government is the problem and not the actions of its citizens. 
 
In 2011, 725 new laws will be enacted in the state of California.  The amount of regulation imposed on the taxpayers in California is staggering.  It is no wonder the state is ranked dead last in business creation and business-friendly climate in the nation.  For all their rhetoric about job creation, law-makers have been working overtime to stifle creation of any kind.  It is sickening to think that taxpayers will pay over $15,000,000 in salaries this year alone simply for the priviege of being regulated into poverty and/or relocation. 
 
Congratulations California-stan!  In a battle of the government versus the people, the government wins! Your prize?  The fastest declining population and the highest unemployment rate in the union at 12.1% (seasonally adjusted, of course!). 
 

 

 
 
 
 

 

Congressional Update

Last updated: 11/7/09

I tend to read through a lot of proposed legislation and often find nuggets that don’t necessarily merit their own articles, but would more-than-likely interest my readers. I’ll be updating this post on a regular basis as I catch legislation that might be of interest.


Most Recent Update


  • S.2750 Bill that gives Secretary of HHS the authority to make grants to States to reduce the ratio of school nurses to students
  • S.2748 Bill that extends by one year employer wage credit for those that have employees that are active duty military

Contents:

  • Public polling on Congress
  • Legislation of interest
  • Congressional News

Public Opinion Polls


Rasmussen reports:

Gallup:

  • 64% say health care reform will affect their vote in 2010
  • Democrats hold 2 point lead in Gallup generic ballot 46-44%
  • Congressional Job Approval down to 21%
  • Roughly a third of Americans believe that either Republicans or Democrats have bothered to work in a bi-partisan manner
  • Only 45% of Americans trust Congress – a record low

Legislation of Interest


  • S.2750 Bill that gives Secretary of HHS the authority to make grants to States to reduce the ratio of school nurses to students
  • S.2748 Bill that extends by one year employer wage credit for those that have employees that are active duty military
  • H.R.3221 Eliminates federal subsidies to private student loan programs – significant limitation for middle-class families seeking higher-education
  • H.R.3922 Ensures that U.S. companies are not conducting business in Iran
  • H.Res.842 – Expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire should be recognized for its contribution to the arts around the world and heritage of the United States.
  • H.R.3548 – Unemployment Compensation Extension Act: Adds an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits on top of the last extension
  • S.1792 – Amends tax code to allow energy efficient windows/doors to qualify for tax credits.
  • H.R.1283 – Military Readiness Enhancement Act: Repeals “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and makes the act retro-active (anyone discharged on the basis of the policy can be re-instated)
  • H.R.1283 – Military Readiness Enhancement Act: Repeals “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and makes the act retro-active (anyone discharged on the basis of the policy can be re-instated)
  • S.J. Res.20: Joint resolution that would force Congress to spend no more than the “certain revenue” in the current year and no more than 20% of GDP of the previous year. That is spending, not deficit. During the years of 200-2008 the spending range was between 18.4% and 19.8% of G.D.P. This seems to be a realistic and beneficial target.
  • S.Res.309: Resolution recognizing and celebrating the 145th anniversary of Nevada’s entry into the United States. Sponsored by…. yeah Harry Reid. Doesn’t the Senate have better things to do with our tax-payer funded salaries than push garbage like this through while we are at war, in economic turmoil, without jobs… I could go on… and I will
  • S.Res.307: Requires that all matters before Congress be fully scored by the Congressional Business Office for at least 72 hours before consideration by subcomittee
  • S.J.Res.7: Joint resolution that proposes an amendment to the Constitution to make it a requirement that Senators be elected by the populations of their states, even for the purpose of replacing an unexpected vacancy. This is in response to Ted Kennedy’s death and the maneuvering in the Massachusetts legislature. Teddy changed the law in the Democrat’s favor years ago and now wants it back to allowing the Governor to appoint. Senator Feingold is sponsoring good legislation here.
  • S.1692: USA Patriot Act Extension. This seeks to extend the Patriot act…. wait.. weren’t the Democrats opposed to everything in the PA
  • H.R.187: National Right-to-Carry – fairly-muddy cross-state allowance for concealed carry. Still enforces state’s rights, which is the correct move – no matter how much of a 2nf amendment supporter you may be
  • H.R.3458 – Unemployment Compensation Extension – Extends compensation by 13 weeks in states that have jobless rates above 8.5%
  • H.R.264 – Doubles the number of visas to almost 1 Million, by offering legalization to aliens who have been in the U.S. for five years or are children. Haitians are given special consideration – immediate access to lawful permanent resident status. Some enhancements for border control.
  • S.729: DREAM act: Gives states the power to allow illegal aliens access to higher education benefits (in-state tuition, grants, loans, etc)
  • H.R.3200: House Democrat’s health care bill
  • H.R.3400: House Republican’s health care bill
  • H.R.2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009: Cap and Trade pollution controls. This bill is also known as the Waxman-Markey bill and seeks to limit CO2 emission by making it more expensive to generate electricity. A lot more expensive.

Congress in the News and on the Web