Jack Ohman

June 18, 2013

In the California budget, I'm just an unintelligible bill...

Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

Reading through some budget items - known as "trailer bills" - as we come in for a landing in the 2013 legislative session, I was struck by one very consistent theme.

They're unreadable.

I mean, really unreadable. One of my colleagues suggests they're deliberately written so.

I have a college degree from a state school. I did well enough there. But I am not a lawyer. I did not attend Berkeley or Harvard or Pepperdine. I'm just a schmoe who went to two different public state universities. 

Now, I understand that legislative language is different than, say, English, but I was absolutely aghast. It made me wonder what would happen if these bill writers got their hands on some classic stories.

GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS-- Pursuant to SB 89, Three (3) Ursine Americans jointly offered in camera regulatory opinions determining the relative temperature of liquid, non-fracked, vegetable broths. Appropriates $5,650,000 of general fund monies to study of possible harmful outcomes, remedies.

MOBY DICK--Pursuant to SB 76, piscatorial pursuit of mammalian, littoral-region dwelling, ocean-based organism by uniped predators shall be subject to external review to special Joint Legislative Investigative Committee, mandating consultation to California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS --Pursuant to SB 99, commencing at 12:01 AM on December 25 of any given calendar year henceforth, no residential dwelling with "any stirring creature" (including mice or other rodents) shall be denied a scheduled visit by an agent bearing no less than $500 in bonus items augmenting regular income. Said bonus items must be distributed in a manner that shall be subject to state sales tax.

THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN--Pursuant to SB 86, a joint, multicultural trip shall be undertaken on a flowing, navigable waterway. Dedicates $32,000,000,000 towards tunnel diversion project to assist.

THE GREAT GATSBY --Pursuant to SB 85, an additional tax shall be levied on any individual displaying flagrant and/or excessive consumption up to and including: A) drinking any grape-based carbonated  alcoholic beverage from a slipper, B) the excessive movement of any body parts to music, or C) false or misleading statements regarding past activities (excludes any registered lobbyist representing business or social special interest advocacy entities).

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