Gov. Brown shows true colors with end-of-session signatures

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

When legislation to mandate ski helmets for minors was introduced, many were up in arms at the thought of yet another piece of nanny-state legislation. And Gov. Jerry Brown agreed. In his veto message, he rightly stated, “Not every human problem deserves a law.”

I was hopeful that this phrase would be the foundation for his approach in deciding whether to sign or veto legislation.

Unfortunately, this was not always the case.

While Brown rebuked many of his Democratic allies with several surprising vetoes, too often, he sided with those that want to erode the rights of individual Californians.

In contrast to his veto of the ski helmet bill, Brown signed legislation that prohibited the use of tanning beds by minors, regardless of parental consent. With the passage of SB 764, all persons under the age of 18 are banned from using tanning beds in California (nevermind the fact that minors can still work at tanning salons).

Revoking parental choice became a theme, as Brown signed legislation to make it legal for minors, who are 12 or older, to obtain the HPV vaccination without the consent of a parent.

In both decisions, Brown removes parents from the equation, approving or denying what a minor may do without concern for parents’ rights.

With inconsistent logic, the signing of unnecessary legislation pervaded the end of the session.

Brown signed AB 183, union-supported legislation to ban the sale of alcohol at self-checkout stands.

While the bill was promoted as a means to prevent minors from allegedly purchasing alcohol at unmonitored self-checkout stands, the bill was primarily a union effort to target markets, such as Fresh & Easy, a nonunion grocery store that solely uses a self-checkout system.

Alcohol sales at self-checkout stands are already monitored, just as they are in standard checkout operations.

In both instances, a cashier or market employee is required to review identification when selling alcohol, demonstrating that a minor’s access to alcohol is no different in either purchasing scenario.

AB 183 was deceptively presented as a method to reduce a minor’s access to alcohol. However, its passage was a calculated effort to target a nonunionized business — a business that, by using the self-checkout system, can meet a vital demand for low-cost, healthful groceries.

Brown also signed AB 438, another misguided union effort.

The mandates that companies contracted to provide library services must provide the same services without increasing costs and must absorb the personnel of the dissolved municipal library.

This makes it extremely difficult for local governments to contract out services.

As a result, it is more likely that communities will eliminate library services altogether because of the reduced financial benefit from any restructuring.

In a narrow effort to protect union jobs, the signing of AB 438 will harm local community libraries when faced with tough budget decisions.

At the height of an era of tough budget decisions both in California governments and households, Brown signed a bill without regard for California’s citizens: The Dream Act. AB 131 will allow undocumented students to apply for tax-payer funded financial aid.

This bill significantly increases demand for limited grants and scholarships and allows undocumented students to compete with citizens of California.

It’s hard to justify the Dream Act as creating a more educated workforce when it is designed to help people who cannot legally be employed in the United States. When California families can barely make it through the recession, government aid should be dedicated to citizens in need.

Already an effort is under way to repeal this bill, and I encourage all those interested in participating in that effort to visit

While many signatures will be detrimental to the future of California, and while inconsistency may have been the only consistent theme of Brown’s signature decisions, there was one pattern worthy of commending.

Brown maintained an effort to sustain jobs in California. He vetoed 80 percent of the bills labeled a job-killers and signed AB 1069, which extends the Film Tax Credit until 2015.

This is particularly important here in our community, where so many of our friends and neighbors rely on the film industry for employment.

As we head into 2012, we need to continue sending the message that jobs are needed and that the government must provide a stable economic environment so that business may sustain and generate new jobs.

The end of session sent a variety of bills to the governor, the good, the bad and the ugly. While the consequences of many of his signatures will further burden California, some of his vetoes were crucial to the business climate in California.
It is Brown’s vetoes that show some glimpse of the hope built up by his initial claim that “not every human problem deserves a law.”

Originally Posted here