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03 Sep

Thanks to the folks over at The Orange County Register.

Year in year out California state legislature passes hundreds of bills. Here's a few that need a veto.

The California Legislature’s session finally ended. Here are a few of the hundreds of bills passed the past year, most of them bad. 

Start with a good one. Assembly Bill 1598 is by Assembly member Laurie Davies, R-Laguna Niguel, and already has been signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. The bill legalizes “any testing” equipment “to analyze a substance for the presence of fentanyl,” a synthetic opiate, or the date-rape drugs like gamma hydroxybutyric acid (best known as GHB). Previously, such tests could be characterized as drug paraphernalia. This should have been done long ago. 

The following bills ought to be vetoed by the governor.

Senate Bill 70 is by state Sen. Susan Rubio, D-Baldwin Park. It would mandate a child must attend kindergarten “before that child may be admitted to the first grade at a public elementary school.” Most kids already attend kindergarten. 

The Senate analysis found, “Unknown Proposition 98 General Fund costs, beginning in the 2024-25 school year, for increased per student funding to attend kindergarten.” The real problem in schools is the need for more parental choice, not gimmicks like this. 

Assembly Bill 257 is from Assembly member Chris Holden, D-Pasadena. Your local Ronald McDonald soon could be a robot. This bill creates a new state bureaucracy, the Fast Food Sector Council, to set fast-food labor policies, including wages. Even though the current state minimum wage in California is $15 per hour, rising to $15.50 in January, and is higher in some cities.

 A June analysis by Newsom’s Finance Department opposed AB 257 because, among other things, “it raises long-term costs across industries.” It would encourage automation, discourage opening new restaurants and kill jobs. 

Senate Bill 1137 is by state Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach. It would ban drilling new oil or gas wells within 3,200 feet of a “sensitive receptors,” meaning homes, schools, community centers, hospitals and prisons. But the state already mandates health safeguards for wells. Despite a recent drop in gas prices, drivers still pay nearly double at the pump than two years ago. Shrinking supply during an energy shortage makes no sense.

Senate Bill 1020 is by state Sen. John Laird of Santa Cruz. Current state policy mandates 100% renewable and zero-carbon electricity by 2045. This bill revises that to mandate interim goals of 90% by 2035 and 95% by 2040.

 Lawmakers should have looked over to Europe. The Sep. 1 Financial Times headlined, “German factories halt output after Russia’s ‘alarming’ squeeze on gas.” Electricity prices have quintupled. The continent soon will suffer a long, cold winter with blackouts. Its renewables push wasn’t any better than California’s will be. 

The past week’s heat wave across California also has shown how the state’s electric grid can’t handle current loads even without the renewables mandates. The mandates inevitably will increase costs to consumers at a time when inflation remains high.                                  

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