Have you ever uttered the words "there should be a law"? Every year, thousands of laws are proposed by 120 legislators working on behalf of their constituents in Sacramento. Some bills propose small tweaks to existing government codes or address specific needs to a member's district, while others can make wholesale changes that impact every person in California.
The legislative process can be complex, with opinions from a wide variety of individuals and special interests urging passage, opposition or amendments to the ideas as they meander through committees and between houses. However, it is important to recognize that in our representative government, everyday Californians can and do influence legislation. In fact, the system works best when good citizens stay informed and get involved in the issues of greatest importance to their communities.
Every year, the majority of the legislation I propose comes from my sistrict. Concerned residents or community/business groups like Chambers, charities, Rotaries, labor and veterans groups, are all great resources for my staff and me to gather wise new policy changes.
Nearly all of the dozen plus bills I introduced this year are specific to a need in one of the communities I represent. For example, because the state of California requires water purveyors to create an agency to monitor their groundwater usage to ensure its sustainability, legislation is necessary to set-up the new organization. Although these are simple tweaks to California law, I have authored the necessary bills over the last several years that have created four Groundwater Sustainability Agencies in my District.
Where do you begin? While you can find quite a bit of information about the progress of bills online at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/, know that you can always call my office with any question about bills making their way through the Legislature. I greatly value the feedback I receive from constituents on pending legislation.
So, if you have an idea that you think would make for good policy either on the state-level or in your community, I want to hear about it.
Republican Anthony Cannella is the 12th District State Senator. He started out his political career on the Ceres City Council.