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The NOSEY Awards

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Commentary


By Senator Ray Haynes

I grow more amazed each year at how my Sacramento Legislative colleagues view their jobs.

We all know people who believe that they are smarter than we are, which apparently entitles them to tell the rest of us how to live. Most of those people are just annoying neighbors. When they get elected to a legislative office, however, their advice becomes more than an annoyance. Many times it becomes law.
We’ve survived mandatory seat belts, bicycle helmets, and laws mandating free air and water at gas stations. In the past, these stupid laws were fewer and farther between. This year, the leftists in the Legislature raised annoying and intrusive lawmaking to an art form. To commemorate this landmark year in the growth power, I am introducing the NOSEY awards, given to the legislation that would stick the nose of the government in the places where it least belongs:
10) SB 1619 – A $10 tax on every TV and Computer Monitor sold in California, intended to encourage recycling. Does this mean we will soon see homeless people wandering the streets with their shopping carts full of Sonys and Zeniths? How does increasing the cost of computers breach the “digital divide” between rich and poor that my Democrat colleagues claim to be so concerned about?
9) AB 2532 – Overloaded Backpacks. After solving the problem of incompetent public schools and the safety of our school children, the legislature naturally turned to the next educational crisis: heavy textbooks. Purchasing textbooks by the pound is a novel idea, but will it really make our children any smarter? I’d suggest giving all the students laptops and CD-Rom textbooks, but the new computer tax might make that too expensive…
8) AB 1561 – Low Flow Washing Machines. Signed by the Governor, this bill promises all the efficiencies of low flow toilets at twice the price!
7) SB 1373 – Micro-chipping your pets. This year legislators tried to implant micro-chips in your pets. Next year we’ll shoot for bar codes on your foreheads. No more pesky club cards at the supermarket – think of the efficiency! Paging George Orwell….
6) SB 1670 – Gun Safety Locks. Though you aren’t required to put a gun lock on your firearm at all, this new law would make it illegal for someone to sell you or even give you a gun lock that doesn’t have the Attorney General’s Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on it. I’m glad the state Department of Justice has the time and resources to test gun locks with sledgehammers and still protect us from gangs, drugs, terrorists, polluters and crooked CEO’s.
5) SB 1520 – Drink Tax. Had it not been killed after a rare but welcome uprising from the people of this state, this bill would have taxed all drinks with sugar unless they were more than 50% fruit juice. This covers basically everything on the market except for diet soda and 100% orange juice. The revenues would have funded childhood obesity programs, but the money would have been better spent on liposuction for the state budget, or at least for the fat heads that come up with these ideas.
4) SB 1790 – Remote Control Air Conditioners. This would have required all residential air conditioners to have a shut-off device so that the government could turn off your air conditioning when they are unable to provide enough power. I guess it is easier for them to make you sweat out a heat wave than it is for them to actually build enough electrical capacity to run our state.
3) SB 1471, SB 1661, AB 25 – Sick Leave. With these new laws, not only can you use paid sick leave to care for children, parents, spouses or domestic partners, but your employer can’t even keep track of how frequently you use it. Now you don’t have to cough and wheeze to fake an illness to stay home from work – you can just fake your child’s illness!
2) SB 1924 – Mandatory Helmets for Skaters. Skaters, skateboarders and scooter riders will be forced to wear helmets under this new law. Certainly nobody protects us from ourselves better than the nannies running our government, but they could do a lot more by replacing all the steel and concrete in our state with foam rubber and nerf material. After all, if it saved just one life, wouldn’t it be worth it?
1) AB 1493 – The Winner of the 2002 Jimmy Durante Award for nosiest bill of the legislative session seeks to get you, your children, your soccer equipment, and your textbook-laden backpacks out of your SUVs, mini-vans and pick-up trucks and into more environmentally responsible mini-cars. Cal-EPA and the Air Resources Board will get to regulate the kinds of vehicles you like, thus increasing costs and decreasing availability, in order to get you into the kinds of vehicles they like. All of this in the name of Carbon Dioxide reduction so they can strike a symbolic blow against the warming of the globe and the falling of the sky.
That’s it. These are the awards. Thank goodness we live in a free country. Who knows what these laws would look like if our legislature didn’t have to worry about individual liberty?

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