It appears there has been some back room deal-making between the United Food and Commercial Workers labor union and the California Grocers Association, over Senator Alex Padilla’s legislation, SB 270, that would put in place a ban on plastic grocery bags, and require a tax of at least ten cents on paper backs, the proceeds of the tax going into the pockets of the grocers. The legislature and people of California deserve to know what the “agreement” is between the Grocers Association and United Food and Commercial Workers labor union. First, the UFCW was in support of the plastic bag ban along with the ten cent paper bag tax. Then they were against it. Today, the UFCW is back in support of SB 270, but there aren’t any new amendments in the bill to precipitate a change of heart, making many wonder if a “side” agreement … Read More
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I said it before, and I’ll say it again: “From the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” file, a bill currently in the California Legislature would require BB guns and Airsoft Pellet guns painted bright toy colors so they won’t be mistaken for real guns.” And they did.
The legislation has had difficulty passing, but finally made it out of the Assembly 41-34. The bill will go back to the Senate for a vote.
SB 199, by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles,will require BB and airsoft guns to be painted bright colors to make them “readily identifiable” so law enforcement officers can distinguish them from real firearms.
BB guns are used for a variety of purposes, including competitive use. During shooting competitions, many prefer using BB guns as they are inexpensive and easy to learn and equip. Even soldiers use BB guns for target practice and skill improvement.
De Leónjustified this ridiculous bill because of incidents in which police officers shot people wielding realistic-looking BB or Airsoft rifles. DeLeónhas insisted… Read More
Whenever discussing politically viable policy proposals to improve the quality of life in California, the imperative is to come up with ideas that strongly appeal to moderate centrists, since that is how most Californians would describe themselves. And there are two compelling issues that offer that appeal: making California’s system of K-12 education the best in the world, and restoring financial sustainability to California’s state and local governments.
While these two objectives have broad conceptual appeal, there is a clear choice between two very different sets of policies that claim to accomplish them. The first choice, promoted by public sector unions, is to spend more money. And to do that, their solution is to raise taxes, especially on corporations and wealthy individuals. The problem with that option, of course, is that California already has the highest taxes and most inhospitable business climate in the U.S.
The alternative to throwing more money at California’s troubled system of K-12 education and financially precarious cities and counties is to enact fundamental reforms. And these reforms, despite the fact that each of them arouses… Read More
OnAugust 26, Gov. Brown hosts a luncheon for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in the historic Governor’s Mansion as part of reciprocal trade visits. The governor has invited members of the Legislature to join him at this luncheon. I have received such an invitation and intend to go. The visit and lunch, though, are not without controversy.
My colleague, Assembly Member Tim Donnelly, recently announced that he intends to protest President Nieto outside the Governor’s Mansion rather than attend the lunch. The reason for the protest is the continued incarceration in Mexico of Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi on charges related to guns he brought across the border. The issue is an important one that has appropriately already engaged the attention of the Legislature. For example, I have already joined in an effort to engage the federal government on the Tahmooressi case. But I do not believe a sidewalk protest by members of the legislature is an appropriate or particularly effective way to continue advancing the cause of justice in this case.
Sidewalk protests and demonstrations have a long and honorable tradition in America. Our First… Read More
A devastating labor union-friendly bill authored by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, which did not pass the Legislature last year, is back, with amendments.SB 25would force a farming employer into “collective bargaining,” which actually is an order written by an arbitrator who forces it on the employer and employees against their will.
It is apparent labor unions are trying to gain what they can no longer win through the secret ballot process and sincere labor negotiations, with agriculture employers. The UFW reported only 3,329… Read More
I really have not been paying much attention to Obamacare in California. They were pitching how they signed up zillions of people. We have yet to find out whether those enrollees have paid their premiums, are income qualified or are in America legally. But they were proud as peacocks about their results. Then they made an announcement which knocked my socks off.
To quote their website, “The vast majority of Covered California consumers will see low increases in their health insurance premiums for 2015, and many consumers will see no increase or even a decrease. The statewide weighted average came in at 4.2 percent, with some plans offering weighted average rates that are 8.5 percent lower than current pricing.” Wow, that is impressive. How are they getting that done?
Soon after that Florida announced their planned increases for 2015. The Office of Insurance Regulation announced Floridians who buy health insurance on the individual market for 2015 will face an average increase of 13.2 percent in their monthly premiums.
That is a staggering difference. A lot of people like to refer to it as Flor-i-DAH, but that could not explain this difference. And… Read More
I am pleased to announce SB 1113 (Knight), my sponsored proposal to protect disabled veterans, cleared the Assembly last week with unanimous, bipartisan support, and now awaits action by Governor Jerry Brown.
Under California law, veterans who receive a 100% disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be eligible for a property tax exemption on the value of their home up to $124,932 or $187,399 in 2014 and equivalent amounts adjusted for inflation in future years. The exemption starts on the date of disability and disabled veterans may claim a refund for up to four years of back taxes paid.
Unfortunately, due to VA backlogs, some veterans have had to wait more than four years to receive their disability rating certifications. As a result, they’ve missed out on thousands of dollars in property tax refunds to which they were entitled and anticipated receiving.
SB 1113 would increase the availability of refunds on taxes previously paid from four years to eight years, allowing veterans to receive the full benefit of their exemption,… Read More
Just last month, this column noted that the professional political class harbors great hostility toward the tools of direct democracy — the powers of initiative, referendum and recall. These are effective tools to control an indolent or corrupt legislature.
From the perspective of politicians, direct democracy allows the great unwashed and unsophisticated to deal with matters such as taxation, victims’ rights, insurance and, most importantly, political reform. These are issues over which politicians strongly desire to exercise a legislative monopoly.
The column was written in the context of Assembly Constitutional Amendment 6, a particularly pernicious proposal that would make it much harder for grassroots groups to use direct democracy by requiring a higher vote threshold at… Read More