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John Campbell

John Campbell (R-Irvine) is a California State Senator representing the 35th District in Orange County. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Cypress. He can be reached through his Senate website and through the website for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]

On The Sacramento Horizon
More of the same?...
[John Campbell] 2/28/05

New Bills: Three days ago was the final and formal deadline for legislators to introduce bills to be considered this year. Through the process called "gut and amend" whereby a bill can have its language completely deleted and rewritten as a totally different topic, new bill ideas will still crop up all the way into September. But most of the bills are now on the table. In fact, there are 2,800 of them that have been introduced. I am responsible for 29 of those 2,800.

What’s on the horizon? Well, most of the major issues that the controlling Democrats passed last year and the Governor vetoed are back. Drivers' licenses for illegal aliens, gay marriage, raising the minimum wage, allowing drug importation from Canada, a lot of new business regulations and more trial lawyer lawsuit opportunities are all back; often in nearly identical form to the vetoed version from last year.

But there is also a lot of activity in the Governor's major reform areas including the budget, health insurance, education, pensions and energy. Some of these are Governor-sponsored proposals and others are Democratic alternatives.

So what are my 29? Last week I told you about the solar energy bill and the Tsunami relief tax deduction bill. A number of my 29 are very technical and specific to a particular area of the law. For example, one of those technical bills has to do with no-contest clauses in wills and trusts and how it might be updated to resolve differences in its interpretation by different courts in order to reduce needless litigation. Since you probably have other means of going to sleep at night, I will not tell you about those.

But here are a few of my other proposals in which you may have an interest:

  • The Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act would protect the privacy of taxpayers by, amongst other things, prohibiting disclosure of their personal or financial information to the public by the Franchise Tax Board. You didn't know they could do that, now did you? Well, they have trampled on individual privacy rights before and they continue to do it.
  • You may remember that last year I proposed reducing the number of holidays taken by state workers each year (including the legislature) from the current 14 days to 12 days. Last year this bill died in the first committee. But this year the Governor has made the idea a part of his budget proposal. So, I will again carry this Governor-sponsored means to save more than $21 million per year.
  • I am introducing a number of tax-related issues including allowing Californians to get the tax benefits of health savings accounts, which is a way to insure more people in a very cost effective manner that is also being promoted by the Bush administration. Under current California law, you may actually not only pay tax but incur a penalty if you establish one of these. I am also looking to clarify the law on which professionals can set up an LLC, and to relieve teachers and others of unintended tax penalties created by legislation last year. In addition, I have proposed enabling seniors to sell their houses but retain the right to live in the house for the balance of their lives without incurring a property tax reassessment. As those who remember my days as a tax accountant might say, "once a tax geek, always a tax geek."
  • I am also authoring Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposal to facilitate the construction of the “hydrogen highway.” This bill would develop the regulatory framework necessary to support the deployment of hydrogen as a fuel source. This initiative, as with my solar energy bill, represents California’s need to diversify its overall energy portfolio and ultimately to drive down total energy costs.
  • Stopped along the highway at a rest stop lately? If you have, it was probably run-down and perhaps even closed. The state owns these but is spending no money on them. I have introduced a bill to allow CalTrans to enter into public/private partnerships whereby private entities would adopt and maintain these rest stops.

I will also continue to be heavily involved in the state budget, in a spending control measure, and in the Governor's education proposals, amongst other things. Boredom is not close at hand.CRO



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