Government & Constitution

California’s Stupidest Exercises of Power

Protecting individual liberty is the most important thing a legislator can do. Exercising power is easy; restraining the exercise of power is hard. Legislators, therefore, have a tendency to exercise power in strange and intrusive ways. The “Noseys” were designed to call attention to the stupid exercise of power in the California Legislature.

The 2005 Nosey Award winner is:

1. AB 1677(Koretz) Correctional Condoms Act. This bill provides for the legalization of, and distribution of contraband in our states correctional facilities, by allowing any non-profit or health agency to freely distribute condoms and dental dams to inmates (Just what is a dental dam?). With the understanding that sex between inmates is a crime, this bill’s stated purpose is to prevent disease. What this strange bill DOES NOT DO, is provide for the disposal of the potentially hundreds of thousands of used condoms. Who gets stuck with that job? Would our Correctional Peace Officers be relegated to the duties of a peep show custodian?

To be fair, the bill does state that it isn’t intended to encourage illegal sex acts between inmates. This begs the question; for what purpose are these prison prophylactics to be used? Inmates often indulge in a practice known as “gassing”, which is the act of using their own bodily fluids as a weapon. An Officer may be exposed to inmates’ blood, urine, feces and semen as an inherent job hazard. Now, with a condom, the inmates have a “water balloon” delivery system.

This bill is the hands down winner for the bill that tries to do the work of the lesser good, while simultaneously avoiding the root cause of the problem.

Here are the runners up:

2. SB 607 (Bowen): Taxing Yard Sales. When the Socialists in Sacramento aren’t doing dangerous things like coddling pedophiles or trying to give drivers licenses to illegal aliens, they try to do really dumb things like taxing yard sales. Would you expect anything less from your legislators who have tried to pass a “Soda Tax” and force our building codes to include the principles of “Feng Shui?”

3. AB 17 (Koretz): Tobacco. The low hanging fruit of the politician; This bill seeks to create a crime for smoking in what is arguably the most outdoors one can get; the beach. Now we have no smoking indoors and no smoking outdoors. When smoking is outlawed, only outlaws will smoke. Now, if we could only outlaw all of those darned seagulls…

4. AB 163 (Bermudez) Splitting Hairs. This bill sought to clarify issues regarding the practice of hair threading; one form of trimming eye brows. The Legislature, after an abnormally long committee debate, tried to tell people just exactly what constitutes incidental eye brow hair cutting. Not willing to let well enough alone, the bill also sought to add another redundant step in the cosmetology licensing process. Strike another blow for the hair police. Vetoed by the Governor.

5. AB 418 (Koretz) “A little hair of the dog.” They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Why not let dogs engage in cosmetic surgery? Why pass AB 418, which would have outlawed dog ear cropping? Not only a job killer, “nosing” into the long established practices of the American Kennel Club, this bill reminds us that while politicians aren’t willing to tackle the real problems that affect the working people of California, they are perfectly willing to invent them.

6. AB 178 (Koretz) Up in Smoke, “fire safe cigarettes.” By adding more harmful chemicals to the ingredients in cigarettes, which are already rumored to be unhealthy, Mr. Koretz hopes to prevent smokers from setting themselves on fire. This bill will create yet another price hike and additional regulations impacting both the manufacturer and consumer. This bill will now be law. No word on how it affects “fire-safe medicinal marijuana”.

7. AB 616 (Vargas) “Cigar Envy.” This bill sought to prohibit smoking in an outdoor area that is enclosed on four sides by a public building. Mr. Vargas’s willingness to have the taxpayers print a bill whose only function is to interrupt the relaxed atmosphere in the Governor’s signature cigar smoking tent, is a perfect model of the playground antics of an insulated Capitol establishment.

8. AB 756 (Goldberg) Lilliputian Learning. Miniaturization is cool. Laptops are cooler than desktops. Tiny flip phones are cooler than the older, larger cell phones. Even personal miniaturization in the form of anorexia appears to be cool—at least if the covers of People and US magazine are a good barometer. But much like anorexia, the quest for miniaturization can sometimes be harmful and shortsighted. This bill would prohibit textbooks longer than 200 pages. But then again, maybe they are on to something – I might support an amendment to limit all legislation to 2 pages!

9. AB 1103 (Karnette) TOUR DE TAX. The legislature has long tried to figure out how to tax kids—and this year they did it. Tax cars, now tax bikes. Kids—welcome to a free society.

10. AB 651 (Berg, Levine) State Sponsored Suicide. This bill sought to provide a state sanctioned means of ending a life with the help of a health care provider. Rather than using the will of government to find solutions to things such as healthcare, eldercare and such, we have now fully surrendered to our legislative demons and have agreed to just give up. As a well known actor once proclaimed, “Soylent Green is people!” And you thought eugenics was passé!

The Legislature is no longer in session, so you are safe again for now. But I’m sure you can’t wait until next year to see just how nosey the Legislature can get.


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