MOORLACH UPDATE — There Ought Not Be A Law — April 23, 2017

It is bill presentation season. The bills that my office has authored need to be heard in Senate Committees and then go to the Senate Floor for approval. From there they go to the Assembly for a similar vetting. And if successful on the Assembly Floor, then off to the Governor’s desk. So, how are we doing?

Senate Bill 665 was heard in Senate Elections and Constitutional Committee on April 4th, where it was approved without opposition, pending amendments. At the end of this week we submitted the requested amendments and I hope to obtain a majority vote on the Senate Floor next week. Also see

Last year, one of my school districts had a bond measure on the November ballot. When two or more independent parties show up to file an opposition argument, the Registrar of Voters (ROV) literally tosses a coin to determine which recommendation will be printed. This generated a very awkward result during the last election, favoring a purported group over a legitimate one. SB 665 provides for legitimate, long-time organizations to have a better shot at the ballot lottery by giving ROVs around the state another tool in the selection process.

Senate Bill 742 was on the Consent Calendar for the Tuesday, April 19, Senate Governance and Finance Committee, on which I serve, and passed without opposition. This bill is rather simple. It requires cities that issue debt to follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in their financial reports. Also see It is on the Consent Calendar for the Senate Floor and should be approved this coming week.

Senate Bill 764 was the only item on Wednesday’s Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee meeting and passed unanimously, with amendments. It now goes to the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee. This bill originated from a conversation with a fellow flight passenger on the way back to Orange County. For real estate trust accounts, the state requires a fidelity bond. Why not fidelity insurance? In many cases, fidelity insurance is a superior risk management tool.

Senate Bill 247 will be presented Monday morning to the Senate Business Professions and Economic Development Committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 247 — April 20, 2017 april 20, 2017 john moorlach).

I teamed up with Larry Salzman with the Pacific Legal Foundation to prepare the OC Register editorial below. The Pacific Legal Foundation was the winner of our "There Ought Not Be a Law" contest and are sponsors of the bill. See my website on the subject at Also see
"Jobs for Californians: Strategies to Ease Occupational Licensing Barriers"
prepared by the Little Hoover Commission last October, which can be found at

Senate Bill 32 will be presented Monday afternoon to the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee, along with Senate Bill 454 and Senate Bill 681 (see MOORLACH UPDATE — PEPRA 2 With SB 32 — January 15, 2017 january 15, 2017 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Cronyism — April 21, 2017 april 21, 2017 john moorlach).

Senate Bill 677 will be heard Tuesday afternoon to the Senate Judiciary Committee (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Senate Bill 677 — April 6, 2017 april 6, 2017 john moorlach and MOORLACH UPDATE — Student Whistleblower Protection Bill — April 14, 2017 april 14, 2017 john moorlach).

Senate Bill 722 will also be heard Tuesday at the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I serve as Vice Chair. This bill concerns disallowing rent control restrictions in impacted jurisdictions when the mobile home owner is using the residence as a second home.

Senate Bill 590 will be heard in the Senate Education Committee Wednesday morning. School reserves have been capped, which is fiscally irresponsible. This bill will attempt to remove this cap.

Senate Bill 653 will be heard in the Governance and Finance Committee Wednesday morning. We’re in the internet age and this bill requires County Treasurer-Tax Collectors to post public notices on their websites when they are providing them in newspapers. Believe it or not, the Treasurer-Tax Collectors are opposing this simple requirement.

To show you how difficult some of these reforms can be, I was the co-author and a presenter of Assemblyman Matt Harper’s Right to Work bill. Assembly Bill 1174 did not garner one Democrat vote. It is covered by the Orange County Breeze in the second piece below.

A similar bill was introduced six years ago. It also failed. In the meantime, six more states have approved this strategy and this nation now has 28 Right to Work states. Studies have shown that they are doing better than those states that require union members to pay dues and fees. The bill was killed in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee. Also see


Sometimes there ought not be

a law

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
State Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, listens as lawmakers debate a bill Thursday, June 2, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

By John Moorlach and Larry Salzman

Government regulation often begins when someone spots a social problem, or just something they don’t like, and pronounces, “There ought to be a law!” to end it. Over time, laws can accumulate, outlasting any rational purpose, requiring repeal. Sometimes there ought not be a law. That’s the spirit of Senate Bill 247, a bill that aims to eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing laws that stop qualified people from working at the job of their choosing.

Occupational licensing laws are regulations requiring individuals to get government approval before they can work. The historical justification for licensing laws has been the protection of public health and safety. We license doctors and dentists, for example, to mandate proper training and education. Sometimes professionals have a special relationship of trust with clients, which has justified licensing: think lawyers, psychologists and financial brokers.

But since the 1950s there’s been an explosion of new licensing laws, stifling the aspirations of individuals who are merely seeking to work in ordinary occupations. California requires a license to be a tree trimmer, a landscaper or to be a make-up artist, for example. Other states require licenses to do harmless work as an interior designer, a florist or to braid hair.

In 1950, about one in 20 workers needed a license to do their job; today it’s closer to one in three. These laws typically impose expensive (and very often irrelevant) education and training requirements, license fees, tests or require individuals to work as apprentices for long periods of time rather than start their own independent businesses.

These burdens are often just enough to frustrate or deny opportunities in occupations seized on by people with lower skills and little capital, but willing to work hard to grasp the first rung on America’s economic ladder to the middle class. Government barriers to work in these fields is a tremendous injustice.

Shockingly, many current licensing laws bear no reasonable relationship to health or safety. Instead, burdensome licensing requirements are lobbied for by existing businesses and professionals in order to insulate themselves from new competition. The laws eliminate opportunities for workers otherwise qualified to do the jobs, but also tend to raise prices and reduce consumer choices. Some license requirements have been struck down in recent years by courts as violations of economic liberty, but the trend is for an increasing number of occupations to be licensed.

Both Republicans and Democrats — at both the state and national level — have called for a reconsideration of occupational licensing, to eliminate regulations that are effectively mere cronyism. President Obama’s White House, for instance, issued a report naming unnecessary occupational licensing a serious civil rights issue. In California, the Little Hoover Commission, a government agency tasked with reviewing regulations and making recommendations to the Legislature, has called for a review of the state’s occupational licensing laws.

SB 247 aims to eliminate or reduce unduly burdensome licensing requirements for ordinary occupations, including hearing aid dispensers, locksmiths, upholsterers and tree trimmers. It would also prohibit local governments from adding new occupational licensing requirements. The bill is focused on jobs that do not pose a significant risk to public health or safety.

About a half-dozen states have recently enacted similar legislation — and there is a growing roster of legislation pending in yet more states. For instance, Arizona enacted legislation just this month requiring licensing boards to do a thorough review of its licensing requirements and eliminate those aimed more at protecting the profits of existing firms than protecting public safety. Wisconsin last year prohibited municipalities from creating new license requirements or fees. In Tennessee, a new law was signed limiting new license requirements and requiring an annual “comprehensive review of all” occupational licensing requirements to ensure that they continue to an important “health, safety or welfare” objective.

California’s vibrancy depends on economic liberty. We should be leading the charge to reform occupational licensing that stifles opportunities for our citizens. SB 247 is a good first step and an important signal that our state is a good place to do business and start a career.

Sen. John Moorlach, R-37th District, is the author of SB 247. Larry Salzman is a Senior Attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm that litigates economic liberty matters nationwide, and is a sponsor of the bill.

Right-To-Work Bill fails in committee

A bill by Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) and Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) to make California a Right-To-Work state was killed yesterday in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on a partisan vote. AB 1174 would have given workers the freedom to decide whether or not to join a union, and eliminated any requirement to pay union dues.

“Forcing employees to pay union dues and fees against their wishes is wrong,” said Harper. “The committee once again put powerful special interests ahead of workers.”

True freedom dictates that the employees should join a union because they want to, not because they have to,” Moorlach stated during his testimony to the committee. “We’re losing jobs to neighboring right-to-work states, including Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and Texas

Assemblyman Matthew Harper represents the 74th Assembly District; he is the former Mayor of the City of Huntington Beach. The 74th Assembly District includes the cities of Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine, Laguna Woods & Laguna Beach

State Senator John Moorlach represents the 37th district of California, is a trained Certified Financial Planner and is the only trained CPA in the California State Senate. He gained national attention 20 years ago when he was appointed Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector and helped the County recover from its bankruptcy filing – at the time the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. History.

This article was released by the Office of Senator John Moorlach.


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