California lawmakers had until Friday to introduce bills that will be considered by the Legislature this year — and they came up with 2,323 of them. That’s a huge number, and there’s been some concern that legislators should concentrate more on the budget, and less on nonessential legislation.
We agree that the state budget must be the No. 1 priority in Sacramento. Also, we don’t doubt that some of these 2,323 bills are frivolous and deserve to fall by the wayside.
However, the list also contains some worthy proposals that deserve a fair hearing — even if they benefit only a small number of constituents.
Case in point: State Sen. Sam Blakeslee’s bill that would allow Grizzly Youth Academy graduates to earn a GED certificate — the equivalent of a high school diploma — when they are 17.
Younger students used to be allowed to take the GED exam, but for some inexplicable reason, the age limit was raised to 18 in 2008. As a result, the number of Grizzly Academy cadets taking the GED exam took a sharp dive. Only 14 took the test in 2008, compared to 115 in 2007.
While it would affect a relatively small number of students, Blakeslee’s bill has the potential to make a life-changing difference for these young people and their families. These are students who might not otherwise graduate from high school, and a GED diploma will enable them to go on to college or enter the work force.
Putting an arbitrary age barrier in their way serves absolutely no purpose.
This bill shouldn’t require much debate — the merits are obvious — and we see no reason to put it off until another legislative session.
Between them, our two local legislators introduced approximately 30 bills. Here are some:
Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian
AB 1030: Would authorize the Board of Equalization to seize tobacco-related assets when a licensed distributor has either failed to apply the appropriate tax stamps on cigarettes or has failed to remit taxes.
AB 1106: Would allow local governments to apply for a rebate of Cal/OSHA civil fines if specific conditions are met. Schools and public safety agencies are already eligible for rebates under existing law.
AB 1333: Would give local jurisdictions the right of first refusal to operate a state park in the event of the closure of state parks due to the Budget Act.
AB 1242: (Pending) May be used as a vehicle to raise funds for community colleges through the issuance of a specialty license plate.
State Sen. Sam Blakeslee
SB 18: Would close the loophole that allows employers of lobbyists to give gifts of influence to legislators.
SB 19: Would create a “Do-Not-Call” list for voters who do not wish to receive prerecorded campaign calls.
SB 106: Would require the state to reimburse counties for the costs of conducting special elections held during the past two years.
SB 356: Would protect state parks from the threat of closure due to budget cuts and provide for enhanced local control through partnerships with local governments and cooperating associations.
SB 794, 795 and 796: Atascadero State Hospital safety measures (specific provisions to be announced shortly).