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Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly]

Rule of Law – R.I.P.
The Legislature ignores the law and makes up its own rules...
[Ray Haynes] 10/7/03

Raising a tax without constitutional authority, without legislative action, and in violation of the two-thirds vote requirement in the state constitution.

Handing driver’s licenses to those who enter this country in violation of its law.

Deliberately violating federal law by giving those who enter this country illegally reduced college tuition without offering that same tuition to U.S. citizens.

Deliberately ignoring the will of the people by passing legislation granting the rights of marriage to homosexual couples, in violation of Proposition 22.

Ignoring federal law by enacting a “health care” mandate in violation of ERISA, the federal law which regulates employee benefit deductibility by employers.

Legislation addressing each of these matters passed the Legislature in this session, along with a budget that three years ago had a $12 billion surplus, and now has an $8 billion structural deficit (year over year spending in excess of revenue). What distinguishes this session from many others is the desire of the Legislature and the Governor to deliberately ignore the rules governing their conduct, things like the Constitution, in order to push their political agenda.

There is nothing magic about elections. People are people, and they don’t become smarter, better, or more moral simply because a bunch of other people want them to be rulers. In fact, as I look around the Legislature, I see people who are a lot like my neighbors, some smart, some not-so-smart, some lazy, some industrious, some honest, some less-than-honest. In fact, the only thing different between the people in the Legislature and my neighbors is that not to many of my neighbors are Democrats.

That being said, it is doubly important that those who make rules for others to live by also live by a strict set of rules themselves. Our founding fathers recognized that allowing any rulers, whether they became rulers by election or by birth, to act without a strict set of laws will degenerate into a tyranny. A tyranny of the majority is still a tyranny. Respect for the rule of law by the rulers themselves protects liberty, and stops that tyranny.

California’s Legislature has chosen to ignore that rule of law. It waived its own rules regularly to achieve the political goals of unions, trial lawyers, or the left in California. Those rules are to ensure public input and openness, to allow the minority an opportunity to participate in the process, so that, at a minimum, people feel the process was fair. The Constitution is there to make sure the majority doesn’t gang up on the minority, and use the power of government to take things from the minority. If the Legislature scrupulously follows the rules and the Constitution, people trust the system and the process. The Legislative majority, aided and abetted by a craven Governor, has turned into a gaggle of petty tyrants.

Drivers licenses, tax increases, health care mandates, government subsidies for illegals—all of these things are the evidence that California government is disintegrating into a tyranny of the majority. The Constitution and the law say our Legislature can’t do these things. The response of the Legislature is “You think the law won’t let us do this—Too bad, sue me.” More than any other, rulers need to protect the trust and affection people have for the government. If that trust breaks down, people begin to feel uneasy and unhappy.

People don’t trust our current system, because, as the Hall of Legislative Shame demonstrates, our Legislature has ignored the rule of law to pay off the friends of the majority. Our current system has turned into a process of pay-off and plunder. Revolutions result when trust in government disappears. So do recalls.


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