MOORLACH UPDATE — Thirteen! — December 6, 2016

Yesterday was supposed to be a simple swearing-in ceremony. Thanks to those who were able to attend! I was even extended the honor of leading the Pledge of Allegiance (for the 31st state admitted into the Union). But, at the conclusion of the formalities, the Democratic super-majority voted to take up a Resolution (SR-7) to poke the incoming President in the eye with a short-stick.

But, let’s get to the super-majority first. After the provisional ballots were counted, Republican State Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang failed in her bid to replace termed out Republican State Senator Bob Huff. So the Republicans in the California Senate are now down to 13. For more, see MOORLACH UPDATE — Fourteen! — November 9, 2016 november 9, 2016 john moorlach.

And, as luck would have it, the Resolution passed with 27 votes. The Associated Press​ provides its perspective below in the version published by The New York Times. It printed in nearly 30 newspapers throughout the nation, including the OC Register and LA Times, and is the first piece below.

Several Senators on both sides of the aisle spoke to the Resolution before I decided to stand up and state that SR-7 "was good showmanship, but poor leadership."

My Floor Speech is available on my website at:

In my last UPDATE, I mentioned our new "There Ought NOT Be A Law" (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Tackling Debts — December 4, 2016 december 4, 2016 john moorlach). Jon Coupal, of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, was kind enough to promote our project in the second piece below. If you have a suggestion, please submit it through the website.

BONUS: You are invited!December 8th is the Proposition 47 Conference. And December 14th is our annual Open House. All the details are available at MOORLACH UPDATE — Sober Living Calendar — November 26, 2016 november 26, 2016 john moorlach.

P.S. For the trivia buffs, today is the twenty-second anniversary of Orange County’s filing for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy.


California Lawmakers Aim to Protect Immigrants From Trump


(Jonathan J. Cooper and Amy Taxin)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers on Monday urged President-elect Donald Trump to refrain from pursuing mass deportations and introduced urgent legislation to fund immigration lawyers and help public defenders protect the state’s immigrants.

Democratic lawmakers also passed resolutions in both chambers urging the incoming administration to uphold a program for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants in the country illegally, despite intense protests from some Republicans.

State Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, introduced a bill to fund lawyers for immigrants in deportation proceedings, while Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, proposed helping public defenders assess the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

Both measures were marked urgent and aim to protect immigrants in California — which has more than 10 million foreign-born residents — from Trump’s campaign promises of tougher immigration enforcement.

"This is a salvo, if you will, across the board to make it very clear that these are the values of California," Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, told reporters.

Democratic lawmakers, who hold supermajorities in both chambers, proposed the measures following a heated election year where Trump made border enforcement a central point of his campaign and had harsh rhetoric for Mexican immigrants and Muslims.

On the first day of the new legislative session — which is typically reserved for congratulatory handshakes and bipartisan photo-ops — debate was heated over Democrats’ resolutions urging Trump to continue to issue work permits to young immigrants brought to the country as children. More than 740,000 young people are covered by the program today.

Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa, said he thought it was the wrong approach for California to take such an antagonistic tone with a president who is not even inaugurated yet.

"I’m not comfortable with saying we will fight, although I understand it. I think we ought to try to work with this administration," he said. "We should be collaborative. I don’t think defiance is the right approach."

De Leon called the resolution necessary and urgent as children are afraid their parents will be deported.

Gov. Jerry Brown declined to take a position Monday on the immigration legislation being introduced. But he said he’ll "look very carefully at whatever they propose."

"I have signed some similar measures in the past, at least through the budget," he told reporters in his office. "I am very supportive of the people of California and those who have come here more recently, so I’ll take a good look at whatever they present."

About 2.4 million immigrants in California lack legal status, according to estimates by the Washington-based Pew Research Center.

The two immigration bills introduced Monday could cost the state between $10 million and $80 million, according to proponents.

Immigrant advocates said other bills are also being considered to further limit federal immigration enforcement in California and protect immigrants’ information in state databases.

In recent years, California has passed a series of measures to assist and protect immigrants in the country illegally, for example, limiting the cases when local law enforcement can turn over immigrant arrestees for deportation.

California offers state-subsidized health care to children from low-income families who are in the country illegally and issues driver’s licenses regardless of legal status.

There Ought NOT Be a Law

Sometimes, in frustration over a perceived injustice, it is easy to think, “there ought to be a law,” but Californians should be careful what they wish for.

The state is awash in laws. Every two-year session, lawmakers introduce thousands of bills, and in the most recent, the governor signed 1,708 into law.

This brings to mind an old German proverb, “The more laws, the less justice.” This is because many of these bills are intended to benefit narrow special interests, like government employee unions, rent seeking businesses and professional groups, and pet projects like high-speed rail.

Then there are the less damaging bills that still amount to a waste of time and taxpayer dollars, although many of these provide a good source of amusement. Although some of the silliest laws are at the local level – in Chico detonating a nuclear device will cost you $500, in Carmel women are prohibited from wearing high heels and in San Francisco it is illegal to store anything but a car in a garage – the state continues to attempt to be competitive. In California, it is illegal for a vehicle to exceed 60 mph if there is no driver.

In Sacramento, for many self-absorbed Legislators, getting a bill passed is an extension of their ego. Perhaps this helps explain why, some years ago, a bill was introduced to make the banana slug the state mollusk. That one did not pass, but still, California was the first state to adopt a state rock, serpentine. Ironically, after spending time on approving this selection in 1965, it came up again in 2010 when one state senator decided serpentine is politically incorrect because it contains asbestos and she promoted legislation to remove its state status.

For some, just introducing legislation, whether it passes or not, has become a source of income. Twenty years ago, one senator introduced 143 bills in one session. This turned out to be a pay for play scheme where bills were introduced for those willing to pay. This lawmaker ended up spending time in prison for accepting bribes, and the public scrutiny forced the politicians to limit the number of bills that can be introduced to 40. Still, with 120 legislators, this means that there is the potential to introduce a mind-boggling 4,800 bills, each with the potential to become law. And introducing bills remains an effective method for raising campaign cash.

Even the most innocuous seeming bills can be a problem for taxpayers. Several years ago, Gov. Schwarzenegger criticized the Legislature for dithering over finding a solution to the state’s then $26 billion deficit, while plenty of time was found to deal with the issue of cow tail docking.

While humane treatment of animals may deserve consideration, taking time to pass a law, like making Spanish moss the official state lichen, has a cost. Even if we consider lawmakers’ time worthless, and many do, there are still thousands of dollars spent on legal analyses by the Office of the Legislative Analyst and on printing costs.

This raises the question, do lawmakers still have too much latitude when determining how may bills they introduce? Some states, like Colorado, survive while limiting legislators to no more than five.

And what about the tens of thousands of laws already on the books? Certainly, there is justification to make an examination and to seek to simplify the legal code under which we all must live, by striking those found to be unnecessary.

Enter Senator John Moorlach who has kicked off the “There Ought Not Be a Law” project and is looking for submissions from the public on repealing laws that would help streamline government, and remove regulations that impose unreasonable burdens on taxpayers. The senator will be taking nominations for laws to be reduced or repealed until the first of the year. To learn more, go here.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.


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