Jack Ohman

Editorial cartoonist, writer and Joe King’s alter ego

What?! Only two Maseratis per legislator per session

08/24/2014 12:00 AM

08/22/2014 2:42 PM

As we bring the California Legislature in for a landing, the frenzy to pass, kill or turn legislation into creative special interest taxidermy is at a fever pitch. Let’s look at some pending bills and their prospects.

•  “The Cover Porn Stars Completely with Duct Tape Act” (AB 3X) was killed in committee by Assemblyman Johnny “All Man” Tango (D-Somebody’s Garage in Van Nuys). Might be reintroduced next session with a different, more seductive title.
•  “The Board of Equalization Building Destruction Act” (SB 6010.9) provides $45 million for a California Air National Guard drone strike and mop-up mission. The hole would be converted into five-story Sacramento condos renting at $3,600 per unit. BOE employees would be placed in the new ...
•  “Board of Equalization Tower/Bat Habitat Restoration/Downtown Arena Act” (AB 2118.b). Creates a $4.5 billion structure with clean running water. No word on where they’ll get the water. Passage seems assured, except for the water part.
•  “The Omnibus Animal Restaurant Rights Act” (AB 114254) allows all “non-predatory pets” excluding “boa constrictors, hyenas, raptors and/or sky-based avians” to not only be present in restaurants, but to Yelp about them. Backed by the California Humane Society, the bill seems likely to pass and be signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown and co-signed by Sutter.
•  “The Senator District Residency Act” (SB 35-20) mandates that California state senators “must have, at one time, passed through California on a trip of at least three (3) nights’ duration” in order to legally serve in office, and, once having been elected, “kind of hang around a place that is sort of near their district.” Passed unanimously in committee.
•  “The Local Law Enforcement Demilitarization Act” (AB 30500) strictly limits police and sheriff’s departments to “six medium-range ballistic missiles (in silos or mobile launchers), and strategic bombers with NO stealth technology” and “severely restricts uniform design so as not to resemble anything in Star Wars.” Opposed by major California defense contractors. Outlook uncertain, but organized airstrikes by police unions could affect the outcome.
•  “The Yet Another Passing Attempt at CalPERS Reform Act” (SB 1-888-5653) creates a $987 billion fund to pay out unfunded obligations that someone forgot about “a few years ago.” Signature likely, with a stern lecture citing Ovid, Descartes, Spinoza, Petrarch and Hobbes, from Gov. Brown to follow.
•  “The Cool Legislator Gift Act” (AB 133500) severely limits lawmakers to “no more than two” Maseratis per session, restricts lobbyist-paid vacation travel to “destinations within 12,000 statute miles” of California, and calls for an independent commission to “determine the fair market value of diamonds, emeralds and rubies secretly placed in martini glasses.” Passage prospects seem positive.
•  “The Confederate Flag Display and Sale Ban Act” (AB 35700) prohibits Mississippians and Georgians from entering California, outlaws country music radio station promotional bumper stickers “of any kind,” and “severely limits the showing of ‘Gone With the Wind’ on AMC for the 567th time.” Passed out of committee.
•  “The Pet Insurance Purchasing Act” (AB 6502) would allow pets to form an insurance pool if “they were able to speak and possessed opposable thumbs.” Not favored by insurance lobby in its current form, unless it was able to really make some money on it.

About This Blog

Jack Ohman joined The Sacramento Bee in 2013. He previously worked at the Oregonian, the Detroit Free Press and the Columbus Dispatch. His work is syndicated to more than 200 newspapers by Tribune Media Services. Jack has won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Scripps Foundation Award and the national SPJ Award, and he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012 and the Herblock Prize in 2013. Contact Jack at johman@sacbee.com. Twitter: @JACKOHMAN.


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