It isn't surprising that the power-hungry lawmakers in Sacramento continue to put forth bill after bill that is about control, more control and all control.
It's as if we're all stupid and can't manage our own lives.
Lawmakers feel they have all the solutions to everything. Their idea is pass a bill - wave a magic wand - to take care of everything. As the years roll on, everybody thinks there should be a law. We are drowning in laws and regulations that choke, not allow us to live.
Sometimes we just need to get government out of the way and let people - businesses and neighbors - to come up with a solution independent of government mandate.
Here's a thought: Allow others to be responsible. Quit turning to the nanny state where government must do everything for everybody.
Take the theft of cell phones for example. While cell phone theft is big business for thieves, the cell phone industry was already working on a solution - with the introduction next year of software that allows smartphone users to install a kill switch on their phones but doesn't include the technology as part of the phone's default setting.
Last week the state Senate approved a bill requiring all cell phones sold in California after July 1, 2015, to be equipped with a kill switch that the owner could trigger if stolen, rendering the device useless to the thief as a deterrent. Author Mark Leno, D-SF, said the goal "is to swiftly take the wind out of the sails of thieves who have made the theft of smartphones one of the most prevalent street crimes in California's biggest cities."
I understand the desire to curb the theft of cell phones since, according to Consumer Reports, more than 1.6 million Americans had smartphones, tablets or other devices stolen in 2012. But the market that created the cell phone was already in the process of taking care of the problem without government interference. We could have allowed the industry to develop a solution without a state law that now inflicts a civil penalty of not less than $500, nor more than $2,500 for each violation of selling a phone without their kill switch.
In case you're curious, the bill was approved by a 28 to 8 vote in the state Senate. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, voted as only one of four Republicans to support it. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, voted against it as did seven other Republicans.
Sacramento continues to press on in this micromanagement of life in California. Assembly Bill 1912, authored by a Pasadena Democrat, was signed by Gov. Brown that encourages all schools to teach about the significance of Barack Obama being our first black president.
AB 1912 asks the State Board of Education and the Instructional Quality Commission advisory panel to include the "significance of the United States electing its first African American President" in the 2008 election in California's history and social science standards for grades seven to 12.
Really? A bill is needed to ask teachers - who tend to be liberals - to point out that Obama was our first black president? Is a bill needed to ask them to teach that Lincoln freed the slaves? That FDR was president during World War II? That JFK was assassinated? Why then a bill on Obama's accomplishments as an African-American?
I'd prefer a balanced approach too, that teachers teach that Obama orchestrated the biggest intrusion of government authority into the lives of Americans vice-a-vis Obamacare. If the Legislature wants to craft school curriculum to promote their political agenda, perhaps a Republican might even the scales and author an Assembly bill mandating that California school children be taught about the historical significance of Bill Clinton's impeachment.
See my point? Where does this nonsense end?
Even political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson agrees it's unusual for the Legislature to pass a bill telling schools they should include a president in classroom curriculum.
"There really shouldn't be a need for this, a special bill," said Hutchinson. "Obviously, President Obama did make history, becoming the first African-American [President], but on the other hand, he is the president of the United States. It is a signature accomplishment in the sense that, as other presidents, they're routinely taught."
But what do you expect from a state that wanted a Harvey Milk Day - his only real claim to fame was being the first openly gay SF city official -- observed in schools as opposed to let's say a Ronald Reagan Day named for a two-term California governor who became a popular two-term American president? Let's not forget that our Legislature and governor passed (SB 48) that requires schools to educate students on the contributions of gays in history.
Enough about history. Let's talk about election rigging.
The outrage continues in SB 29, a bill that would change how vote-by-mail ballots are counted. Current law states that a mail ballot must arrive at the county elections office by election day in order to be counted. SB 29 would allow ballots to be counted that come in up to three days after the election.
The kicker is SB 29 would allow ballots without postmarks as long as they are signed and dated by the election date. Anyone who remembers how kids forged their parents' signature on school absence requests knows that this could open up voter fraud to change elections after the initial results are made known.
Senator Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, said he wrote SB 29 because budget cuts could delay the delivery of mail. I think SB 29 opens the door to voter fraud. Let's say a candidate finds out on Election Day that he is 11 votes shy of winning. That's an easy fix: Find more supporters who didn't vote to slip their ballots through the system with the hopes that they won't be postmarked. You could rig the outcome of the election.
Absentee ballots are particularly vulnerable to vote fraud. In one notorious case in Troy, N.Y., eight local Democrat politicians were indicted and four have pleaded guilty to falsifying absentee ballots. This was a local election and these politicians won their seats before getting caught. Anthony DeFiglio, a Democratic committeeman who pleaded guilty, said that absentee ballot fraud was a "normal political tactic."
Besides, doesn't SB 29 encourage voters to procrastinate to do what they should be doing weeks or days before an election? Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder Lee Lundrigan believes so. She said she could see her staff getting bogged down trying to decipher thousands of sometimes hard to read postmarks on late ballots "looking like they did at chads in Florida."
The bill passed the Senate floor on Aug. 26. Republicans voted against it. Cannella didn't vote.
If uncounted ballots leads to disenfranchisement like Democrats feel, the remedy is for the voter to be more responsible in getting it mailed ahead of time. After all, counties will penalize you 10 percent if your property tax installment payment isn't postmarked by the day it's due. No allowance is given for late bill payments, so why do Democrats give leniency to late voters?
A bigger issue, to me, over tardy voters is eliminating voter fraud by requiring a voter to show ID proving they are the voter they claim to be. It's funny Democrats pick and choose what they wish to control and have always opposed such a measure.
I'm tired of lawmakers of catering to people who fail to take responsibility, whether it be giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens, allowing people to keep their houses when they got behind on their mortgage payments, allowing college kids to delay repayment of college loans, or sticking a gun to the ribs of businesses and forcing them to pay out more and fund more of their mandates.
Anyone else feel it's time we had a part-time Legislature like they have in Texas? There would be less expense, less time for them to do their meddlesome damage and maybe make them work jobs in the real world where common sense prevails.
How do you feel? Let Jeff know at email@example.com.