It’s a legislative tradition for last-minute policy proposals to crop up in the final weeks of session through the gut-and-amend process, but so far the bills that have emerged are more curious than scintillating.
Take SB 792 from state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, which would shift the power of establishing naming rights for California’s state highways from the Legislature to Caltrans. Instead of introducing naming resolutions, lawmakers would make their pitches directly to the transportation agency, which would determine whether the individual to be honored meets certain requirements – having made an exemplary contribution to the public good, for example, and most importantly, that they’re deceased.
DeSaulnier told Capitol Alert that the bill is an effort to make the process less political. The Legislature often faces requests to make exceptions for living politicians.
“We get a lot of pressure to change the rules,” he said. “There are a lot of unique requests, but hopefully it will make it more objective if Caltrans and the administration are doing it."
Does the bill stem from last year’s debate over naming the Bay Bridge’s western span after former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who is still very much alive?
"Nah, it's a combination,” DeSaulnier said. “There are just a lot of them."