By Tim Hunt
Legislative priorities tell the storyUploaded: Sep 7, 2017
The priorities of the Democrat-dominated state Legislature are stunningly misplaced.
There’s widespread agreement that the state has a huge housing crisis with demand far outstripping the minimal supply. Yet, any action on a series of bills on housing has been delayed until the last couple of weeks of the session.
Given higher priority was raising the gas tax and passing the climate change legislation and extending the cap-and-trade bill. The latter two did a couple of things: guaranteed a funding source for the governor’s absurd high-speed rail (when will a judge call out the sham it is?) and gave the Legislature a gusher of additional revenue to spend with very flexible guidelines. It’s an open question whether the high-speed rail will have any positive effect on greenhouse gases and it will be a negative during construction.
That didn’t stop the Legislature and the governor from allocated 25 percent of the cap-and-trade funds to the choo-choo.
That leaves 75 percent for the Legislature to spend on climate-related actions that are defined as loosely as the railroad.
The gas tax increase could have been alleviated had the Legislature and the governor been willing to do common-sense steps such as allocating the truck weight fees to roads instead of the general fund. Who knows how many more backward policies are in effect in Sacramento.
This week, the Assembly rejected state Sen. Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) legislation that would have allowed cities to determine what time is “last call” in the bars. Currently, it’s 2 a.m. statewide and Wiener’s bill would have allowed local bodies to extend that to 4 a.m. The Senate had passed the bill.
I can buy Wiener’s core argument of local control, but I cannot imagine the need to extend last call further into the wee hours of the morning. Then again, I don’t do the San Francisco bar scene so I may be ill-informed.
The Assembly kicked the can do the road by instead calling for a study.
Another Wiener bill would establish a “bill of rights” for LGBT senior citizens in nursing or group care homes. It includes being addressed by the pronoun the senior considers appropriate that day. Wiener, an openly gay lawmaker, continues to push legislation that seeks to extend “rights” to LGBT people. Like many in the movement, he seeks to equate sexual identity to civil rights—a false comparison.
All senior citizens in care homes already are covered by state law—there’s no need for another special category—but that’s become a standard LGBT tactic. Opponents of the bill argue that this is the first step that will be followed by efforts to expand the special protections in other venues. This bill contains potential criminal penalties for employees who “willfully and repeatedly” refuse to use the preferred pronoun.
Dangerous precedent. The Assembly has demonstrated that it’s significantly more balanced and reasoned compared to the progressive zealots in the Democrat-dominated Senate.