California State Senator Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel), Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine), and FlashReport publisher Jon Fleischman have compiled a list of the top 20 bills that are most deserving of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto. While the state is grappling with yet another staggering deficit of $19 billion, and most lawmakers appear to be in no hurry to plug the gap and produce a budget that is already two and a half months late, many in the legislature have nonetheless found the time to pass a number of harmful, ill-advised, and just plain frivolous bills. As Walters, DeVore, and Fleischman note,
When we go through hundreds and hundreds of bills to find the ones that we consider to be the most egregious, harmful or inappropriate, is our hope and expectation that a Republican Governor would veto all of them, frankly. Remember, we're talking about the worst bills. If the Governor signs any of the bills listed below, it is bad news for the people of California... This is the fifth and final time we will be publishing this column during Governor Schwarzenegger's tenure... He's hoping that the last go around we see him use his veto pen twenty times!
Below are a few highlights from the list.
SB 900 (Alquist) and AB 1602 (John Perez) – (nearly identical to SB 900) – Prematurely enacts Obamacare provisions with overly broad and expansive governance and guidelines without oversight for the state health benefit exchange, which could lead to unnecessary cost increases and limited choice for employers.
AB 1825 (De La Torre) – Requires all individual health insurance plans to include maternity care – even those for men. A Republican analysis estimates that this will cause nearly 10,000 Californians to lose coverage due to increased cost.
SB 880 (Yee) – Requires skiers/snowboarders under the age of 18 to wear an approved helmet and imposes a $25 fine for failure to do so. Who will write the tickets? For instance, do we really want or expect the Mammoth Lakes Police Department to assign officers to the slopes to enforce this law?
Taxes & Fees
AB 2032 (Davis) – From the Department of Redundancy Department—Requires underage actors, artists and other entertainers to pay a new fee, which the agency collecting the fee states is required to defray the costs of collecting the fee.
AB 2398 (John Perez), aka the “Carpet Product Stewardship Act,” imposes a $0.05 per square yard tax on carpets sold in California through 2013 (after which, the cost will likely climb) to fund a carpet recycling program. Interestingly, California’s biggest carpet recycling company, Los Angeles Fiber Co., is in the district of the bill’s sponsor, Assembly Speaker Perez.
AB 1405 (De Leon) – Directs 10% of the fees generated by AB 32, estimated at nearly $1.3 billion, to an unaccountable bureaucracy with the intention being that the spending be directed at areas impacted by climate change. Given that there is no adverse health impact to CO2 emissions, this bill is simply yet another attempt to take money from one group and give it to another under the guise of government power.
Anti-Business and Jobs
SB 933 (Oropeza) – Will eliminate thousands of Californian jobs by vastly increasing costs to small businesses for debit card transactions. The bill prohibits retailers from collecting fees for debit transactions, despite the fact that these cost businesses much higher transaction fees than credit cards.
SB 1272 (Wolk) – Creates a seven-year sunset for all future tax incentives for employers in California, as well as various other onerous requirements, leading to more uncertainty in the tax code which discourages investment in California.
Frivolous Spending and Lawsuits
AB 424 (Torres) – This bill spends nearly $4 million over the next three years to educate the public on the uses of the 911 system.
See the full list here.