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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is an Assemblyman representing the 70th District in Orange County. Mr. Campbell is the Vice-Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. He is the only CPA in the California State legislature and recently received a national award as Freshman Republican Legislator of the Year. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Tustin, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest. He can be reached through his Assembly website and through the website for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]

A Thousand Bills
A flurry of bad laws...
[John Campbell] 8/23/04

What are some of those hundreds of bills? This is a question I am asked frequently. Between August 9th and the end of this year's session on August 31st, I will likely cast a vote on nearly 1000 bills. You have read about a dozen or so of them in past issues of this laptop missive. You have no doubt read or heard of a few more "big" bills in the newspaper or on radio. But what of the other 900 or so bills? What are all those things?

Well, here is a sampling of miscellaneous bills taken from a couple of days this week. I voted "aye" on some and "no" on others. This is a just a random cross-section of the sort of laws that get discussed and passed. None of these are "big bills." But they are all part of the fabric that makes up your state government:

AB 2106 (Ridley-Thomas-D): This bill requires that the Governor's Department of Finance give an annual report to the legislature on the details of so-called "tax expenditures." A "tax expenditure" is what liberals call a tax credit or tax deduction that "allows" you to keep some of your own money. This bill is a precursor to later bills which they will propose to eliminate those credits and deductions. I voted No. The bill passed the Assembly 47-31 and is now on the Governor's desk.

AB 1836 (Harman-R): This bill revises and recasts alternative dispute resolution (arbitration) procedures that are allowed in disputes with homeowner's associations. These were recommended by the California Law Revision Commission (they conduct an ongoing review of California statutory law) and they made sense to me so I voted Aye. The bill is on the Governor's desk having passed the Assembly 80-0.

SB 1386 (Vasconcellos-D): A bill that sets a new policy basically prohibiting a school from doing random drug testing on students without either "reasonable suspicion" or consent of the student and his or her parents. I do not like the idea that schools can do this sort of test on my kids without my knowledge or permission and I do not like the government invading into anything personal without due cause or reasonable suspicion. Therefore, I voted Aye. The bill passed the Assembly 51-25 and is now back in the Senate for concurrence.

SB 1731 (Romero-D): Under the current agreement with the prison guards union, a prison cannot investigate a prison guard for an alleged wrongdoing without disclosing everything to the guard while the investigation is being carried out. No other employee group in the state has this protection. This bill would change that and allow the investigation to proceed without informing the guard until such time as the authorities determine that charges should be filed. Investigations can be hampered in any workplace environment if the accused has the opportunity to change or hide behavior or intimidate the accuser. Given all the prison guard scandals of late, I voted for the bill. But, it was one of the few bills to fail passage on the floor this year. It failed by a vote of 31-34 with 41 votes needed for passage. The prison guards union opposed the bill

AB 2849 (Lowenthal-D): This bill adds a member to the California State University Board of Trustees. The added member would be appointed by the Governor but would have to be a member of the non-faculty union. I voted No. The bill passed 49-28 and is on the Governor's desk.

AB 2591 (Leno-D): This bill allows limousines to be impounded and the drivers fined by local authorities if they operate without a taxicab permit. This is just a union (United Taxicab Workers) wanting to increase the power of their government granted monopoly and to restrict nonunion competition which is often cheaper and better. I voted No. The bill passed 74-3 and is on the Governor's desk.

This is just a sampling. We also had half a dozen bills naming various stretches of state highways for fallen police officers. I voted Aye on those. We also had various bills extending charitable check-offs on your tax return. I voted no on those because I don't believe the state should choose which charities it thinks you should support to the exclusion of all others.

By the way, the ratio of Democrat to Republican bills shown here is about right since most Republican-authored bills are killed in committee. CRO



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