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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][go to Haynes index]

A Part Time Legislature?
It couldn't happen soon enough...
[Ray Haynes] 4/13/04

Governor Schwarzenegger announced this week that he thought a part time legislature might be a good idea. He (in my opinion appropriately) thought the members of the Legislature had too much time on their hands, and, as a result, introduced too many “strange bills.”

The wailing and gnashing of teeth of the pros in Sacramento was deafening, but I think the Governor is on to something.

First—strange bills. Where else, but in California, would we see bills to study mold, regulate the size of children’s backpacks, the amount of water a dishwasher can use, control childhood obesity by banning soda at school, dictate to farmers how to raise pigs, cows, and other assorted livestock, and a myriad of bills trying to tell you how to live your life at your house? The comments from the political pros wondered what the Governor meant by “strange bills.” How about this year, where the Legislature will soon debate whether the state should adopt the principles of feng shui in its building code. The only good news about this proposal is, if it is adopted, it will probably result in the Capitol being closed down, since the chi at the State Capitol building is way out of whack. (File that under the “every black cloud has a silver lining” department).

Second—this Legislature has way too much time on its hands, and the left wing majority currently in charge of its operation spends a lot of time trying to do two things—(a) keep their majority, and (b) intrude on your liberty.

Politics is all about getting and keeping power, and in politics, the professionals in the business soon learn that the only way to get and keep power is to force people to talk to them. Most people don’t like government, don’t want to deal with their government, and spend most of their lives figuring out how to avoid contact with any government official, whether that official is a police officer, politician, or bureaucrat. Most people know that contact with a government official is a losing proposition for the person who is not in government. For the government official, however, it is all win. The official gets power, money, or fame from the contact, and so, the official spends most of his or her life trying to manufacture ways of intruding into other people’s lives.

A business owner makes money one way—by convincing someone to buy his or her product or service. The purchaser, before parting with the purchase money, must be convinced that the product or service is worth more than the money they have to spend on it.

Politicians have no such limitations. If you don’t like what they are offering—tough, and the more they “offer” you, the more power and influence they get.

So—a full time legislature starts to think of more and more things to offer you, and if you don’t like it, take it up with someone else, they don’t care. As a result, the “strange bills” the Governor describes keep popping up, and taking up the time of those of us who think that people would be better served if the government just left them alone.

Of course, if government did that, then the people who run government would just be another guy on the street. They wouldn’t get invited to really nice parties, have people giving them expensive vacations, or campaign contributions, to influence the politician’s decisions. Since most politicians would not really be all that useful in any other profession, their self-esteem would suffer badly from this public neglect.

So they intrude on your liberty. Was the Governor right when he said he wanted a part time legislature? Absolutely. I’ve introduced legislation to return us to a part-time legislature in the past, and if the Governor is serious about this, I’d be happy to carry it again in the future. Will these politicians willingly give up their power and prestige in order to promote your liberty? Not until you force them. You would, however, be much better off without them—a fact that scares them to death. CRO


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