Not all of Sacramento’s laws are complicated, flawed, and understandable only to special interests. Some are simple and sensible. Other bills are simple and nutty.
Gov. Gavin Newsom acted on all three types after the Democratic-dominated legislature sent him 836 measures – most of them complicated and wobbly – before adjourning for the year last month.
Newsom finished signing 770 invoices and vetoing 66 last Saturday. Forget about complicated measurements for now. Here are five simple bills that are both sane and crazy. None is a high priority in the grand scheme of life. But they will directly affect people – or would have done so if they hadn’t vetoed them.
It was a very low key bill. You’ve probably never heard of it. The only people directly affected will be the more than one million Californians who buy fishing licenses each year. But they will appreciate it.
It increases the length of a fishing license from one calendar year to 365 days. Currently, if you don’t purchase a license for $ 52.66 before your family vacation begins in July, it’s only good for the remaining six months of the calendar year. Under the new law, it will not expire for 12 months.
“You get what you pay for: a year’s fishing license,” says bill’s author, MP Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), whose North Coast District is heavily fished by sport fishermen .
After all, car registrations are valid for 365 days. The same goes for Triple-A memberships. It is time for fishing licenses to be too.
Fourteen other states have year-round fishing licenses. California would have done this several years ago except for two reasons:
The state’s fisheries and wildlife department feared losing revenue. But now the ministry realizes that it could sell even more licenses because they are worth more.
The previous legislation was carried by the Republicans. Democrats were not going to let them own a popular bill.
No legislator voted against this measure in committee or in the room.
It was a gun control bill that made so much sense that the National Rifle Assn. did not even oppose it. No gun lobby either. No lawmaker – not even a Republican – has voted against it.
The measure adds so-called phantom weapons to weapons that can be seized by the police on a person “reported” by a judge. In many cases, this is a gun owner under a restraining order due to domestic violence. Or maybe he’s threatening people and talking about wanting to kill.
Ghost guns are typically made from parts ordered online. They are usually unregistered and not found. And until this bill, they were not among the firearms that could be seized by the police.
“If it looks like a gun and shoots like a gun, it should be treated like a gun,” says the bill’s mover, MP Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “We need to fill this gap. When I found out that it hadn’t already been done, I was shocked and horrified.
“Ghost guns are showing up at crime scenes across the country. “
A bill to decriminalize jaywalking was fortunately opposed by Newsom.
The governor said that the measure by Assembly member Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) risked “degrading pedestrian safety in California.”
Look, I don’t feel like walking all the way to the end of a long block to cross the street at a stop sign. But the answer is more stop signs and crosswalks – not harassing motorists.
A commuter returning home at night has enough dangers to fear without a barely visible jaywalker in dark clothing suddenly appearing in the headlights. By then, it may be too late to stop. And if the car is stopped, it could be hit from behind.
Of course, under the bill, the jaywalker couldn’t legally cross the street in traffic. But humans make mistakes. A car or truck may not be seen by a pedestrian, especially if the vehicle is accelerating.
It was one of the craziest bills.
It was another crazy bill that Newsom vetoed.
The measure by Congresswoman Tasha Boerner Horvath (D-Encinitas) would have allowed cyclists to treat stop signs as “performance” markers. They decelerated but did not come to a complete stop before crossing if there was no traffic.
But that doesn’t make any more sense than Bill Jaywalker. People are wrong. Sometimes they don’t see what they don’t want to see. Or they recklessly try to beat the odds.
Newsom said the measure “may be of particular concern to children, who may not know how to assess vehicle speed or exercise the caution necessary to yield to traffic.”
Looks like a father with four children riding a bicycle.
It is a relatively simple bill and – once you think about it – sensible. Yet no Republican voted for it.
Starting in 2024, you will no longer be able to purchase a new leaf blower, lawn mower, small chainsaw, or hand-held generator in California.
This makes sense in part because by 2035 we will no longer be allowed to buy new gasoline-powered cars in California. So why not start with leaf blowers and lawn mowers and go all-battery?
Bill’s author, MP Mark Berman (D-Menlo Park), says using one of these small engines – under 25 horsepower – creates more air pollution in an hour than driving a car from Los Angeles to Denver.
A gardener pushing a gasoline mower or blowing leaves is twice as likely to get cancer as the average homeowner who hires him, says a Berman aide.
California is the first state to phase out these smog generators and health hazards.
Newsom relishes being the first. And it’s a good thing to be the first.