With the Legislature adjourned for the year, we can now focus our attention to Gov. Jerry Brown and the roughly 1,000 bills sitting on his desk.
Like any year, many good bills should be signed, as was Santa Clarita Valley Assemblyman Scott Wilk’s Assembly Bill 951, requiring the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District to hold its board meetings within the boundaries of the district when policy decisions are being made relating to Total Maximum Daily Loads.
However, many more deserve a veto. Thanks to my friends in the Legislature and at the Chamber of Commerce, here are my “Top 10” — or should I say “Bottom 10” — bills needing to be vetoed:
AB 1288 – Expanding the California Air Resources Board
Assembly Bill 1288 allows the Senate and Assembly to add one member each to the all-powerful, unaccountable California Air Resources Board, which many businesses cite as the agency most responsible for their leaving California.
Adding more un-elected, unaccountable members does nothing to improve the economy of our state.
SB 350 – Renewable energy
This bill mandates that within 15 years, 50 percent of our energy will come from “renewable” sources.
Never mind that under this mandate energy costs are estimated to significantly increase for families and businesses. It also mandates that all commercial buildings become 50 percent more energy efficient within 15 years.
While possessing a laudable goal, the reality is this bill will do nothing but send more companies into the waiting arms of other states.
SB 331 –Local Government Negotiations
Local governments have been adopting “Civic Openness in Negotiations,” which allows public employee union contract negotiations to be held publicly.
In response, unions pushed Senate Bill 331, which enacts an onerous and virtually unattainable set of requirements and costly time delays on all local government contracts — and applies only for those governments who have implemented the so-called COIN policy. The goal is to de-incentivize the spread of COIN and eliminate where it has been adopted.
AB 775 – Family Planning
This law requires crisis pregnancy centers, and other services that assist with adoption and pro-life choices, to now post in their clinics a bold statement advising women of the availability of free abortions at Planned Parenthood.
Basically, organizations that counsel women on the options for keeping their baby, like the SCV Pregnancy Center, no longer have the right to advocate their position without also advocating for abortion services.
Of course, the reverse does not apply to Planned Parenthood.
AB 1293 – Saving Government Employees
from Economic Downturns
Among other stipulations, this bill prohibits the government from saving money by contracting out for services when “civil servants” (AKA government employees) might be displaced.
AB 1354 – Payroll Records
This bill requires that those businesses that contract with the state must provide state inspectors with complete access to their payroll data, i.e., what they pay each employee, who gets what vacation time, etc.
It is bills like this that drive businesses and jobs out of California and continually slow our economic recovery.
AB 465 – Employee litigation
Assembly Bill 465 prohibits employers and employees from entering into contracts stipulating that disputes will be resolved by arbitration.
Employers that are already besieged by frivolous lawsuits must now put themselves in harm’s way because they would be required to hire those prospective employees who refuse to agree, in advance, to an arbitration dispute resolution.
AB 622 – Employee interviews
This bill stops employers from using E-verify during the application process to determine an applicant’s eligibility for employment. In other words, employers are not allowed to know if an applicant is an illegal immigrant. Enough said.
SB 376 – Contracting
Bans the University of California from contracting out for needed services unless the private contractor has pay and benefits that match the UC system’s current levels.
This bill kills the incentive to contract out and save money, and UC officials estimate a cost of $36 million, or more, yearly to implement this bill.
And we wonder why tuition continues to rise?
Cameron Smyth is a former Republican assemblyman who represented the Santa Clarita Valley. He lives in Newhall with his wife, Lena, and their three children.