Babysitter Bill for the Nanny State

The powers that be in the government of Californiastan are addicts.  They are not addicted to drugs or alcohol or Dancing With the Stars (not all, anyway).  They are addicted to lawmaking.  They are addicted to laws.  The People’s Republic of California is a state with a full time legislature made up of a never-ending stream of “your money is our money” liberal Democrats.  With a $162/day per diem to exploit and no “real world” jobs to return to, our representatives have little else to do than sit around and make busywork for themselves.  That busywork nearly always translates into… you guessed it – more laws.  Want to be remembered in the annals of state history in perpetuity?  Get your name on a law and get it passed.  Want to have a tangible accomplishment to point to when as you half-heartedly campaign for a nearly surefire reelection against the latest fake Republican?  Get your name on a law and get it passed.  Want something to rub in your older brother’s face (you know, the one with the hot, semi-famous wife, 2 soccer star kids and 8 bedroom pad in Beverly Hills) at family gatherings?  Get your name….oh you get the idea.

San Fransisco has banned Happy Meals, Santa Monica has banned plastic bags, the legislature is already debating a bill to require hotels to use fitted sheets, and now the fine representatives of California introduce the “Babysitter Bill”.   AB889 is a bill supposedly designed to “extend basic, humane labor protections to thousands of nannies, caregivers, and house-cleaners.”, according to the bill’s co-sponsor (with Assemblyman V.Manuel Perez) Tom Ammiano.  The pending bill would require any domestic caregiver or worker over the age of 18 to be paid minimum wage, meal breaks and 15 minute rest breaks every two- four hours.  Yes, folks, you read that right.  When this bill passes, and it will because they all do here in Californiastan, you’re date nights will get a lot more expensive if you prefer to have adults watch your precious children.

Amy Wilson, communications director for Perez claims the scope of the bill has been greatly exaggerated. “AB 889 has nothing to do with babysitters,” says Wilson. “Unfortunately a press release from one of the bill’s critics was depicted as a news article on the Internet and it has been picked up and repeated by others who have not bothered to do the fact checking.”  She says the bill does not specifically include babysitters under the age of 18 and calling it the “Babysitter Bill”, as many have labeled it, is misleading.  But is it misleading?  Certainly this bill still leaves parents with the option of hiring a teenager to babysit, but what about during the day?  So far, school hasn’t been banned in California, so unless that changes, many parents are going to be left looking for adults to care for their children during normal working hours.  AB889 means they will need to look for TWO adults to care for their children: one main caretaker and another who will agree to come over only every two hours for 15 at a time plus one meal break, as to relieve the main caretaker.  TWO nannies!  Oh yes, and you’ll also need to keep paperwork for all this care-taking, because parents will be required to pay for workman’s comp insurance as well.  It’s the bill that keeps on giving!

Some of you parents may already be saying to yourselves, “That’s fine.  This is California and under-the-table (illegal) labor is not hard to find.  I’ll hire a Mexican “guest worker” and be done with it”.  Not so fast.  Yesterday Dept of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis signed an agreement with Latin American countries to protect the “rights” of illegal workers in the U.S.  That means that your “guest” nannies and housekeepers must be afforded typical workplace amenities and now have every right to walk off the job and report you to the authorities without any fear of repercussions like arrest or deportation.

The bill’s sponsors assert that it helps Californians, but its not hard to see that it actually is the opposite of helpful.  One needn’t be a genius to understand that a bill like this will result in families hiring LESS babysitting and domestic services, not more.  Who wants to fill out time cards and workman’s comp forms just to enjoy an afternoon alone at the mall?  Working families will be forced to give up jobs in order to stay home or will simply leave the state, which seems more likely.  As a matter of fact, with the California Dream Act passing today, it seems like legislators in this state are doing their level best to make sure as many productive, working people as possible leave, taking their tax dollars with them.  One would think that a state with a 25 billion dollar budget shortfall would be trying to woo back working taxpayers and make life easier for those that have chosen to stay and pay.  But this is Californiastan…the land that common sense forgot.

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