The Public Policy Institute of California recently released a poll citing that 83% of Californians are not satisfied with the performance of state lawmakers, and rightfully so. All Californians should be upset at our legislature and their passage of hundreds of special interest bills year after year while refusing to confront the real problems that hinder our state economy.
Just last year alone, Governor Brown signed 745 bills into law. These laws ranged from stronger regulations on tanning beds and booster seats, to granting college loans for illegal immigrants, to the mandatory teaching of homosexual history in our schools. This month, my colleagues and I returned to Sacramento to vote on even more bad bills, most of which do nothing to fix California's struggling economy. Among them are:
· AB 625 (Ammiano, D-San Francisco) - Changes California's lifetime sex offender registration law, allowing dangerous criminals to be reassigned to lower-level risk categories.
· AB 17 (Davis, D-Los Angeles) - Requires that the California State Teachers' Retirement System report annually on the ethnicity and gender of their hired investment managers. At best, this is a careless use of time and resources. At worst, it's offensive discrimination.
· AB 1172 (Mendoza, D-Norwalk & Bonilla, D-Concord) - Makes it easier for a school district to deny a charter school in their area by claiming that it would financially hurt the school district. This is an attack on competition and hurts kids in poor performing schools who might otherwise have a chance at a better education.
Meanwhile, any substantive legislation that is good for the economy is soundly defeated after its first committee hearing, including three of my bills that I presented this month:
· AB 598 - Addressed the misuse of state environmental laws by unions and other interests seeking to halt building projects for reasons unrelated to the environment.
· AB 987 & 988 - Attempted to change various provisions to California's prevailing wage requirements, which are mandated artificial wages that drive up the cost on public projects, giving taxpayers four new schools for the price of five.
Along with fighting for job creation in the legislature, I have set out this year to tackle California's problem at its core. I have submitted a request to the Attorney General to return our state legislature to a part-time, citizen body. If enough signatures are gathered this spring, Californians will have the chance to vote to take back their government from the hands of career politicians and their special interests and return it to our citizens, much the way it was until the mid-1960's and the way most states continue to operate today. Lower legislative pay and much less time spent in Sacramento results in more efficient and less self-serving government, where lawmakers have real jobs at home like their constituents and live under the laws that they create. This is truly public service, and will result in a government much more responsive to its citizens.
California has a $9.2 billion deficit, the second highest unemployment rate in the nation of over 11%, and a regulatory environment that is consistently ranked at or near the bottom in friendliness toward job creators. My mission when I was elected to office was to be a voice for the hardworking taxpayers of this state, who are all too often unheard in a Capitol full of lobbyists for special interests. That mission has not changed. I will do all that I can this year to enable private sector job growth and give the people of California a government that works for them.