Editorials

Bills that should never become law

Not to defame the noble bird, but Jerry Brown needs to sharpen his veto pen and kill numerous turkey bills.
Not to defame the noble bird, but Jerry Brown needs to sharpen his veto pen and kill numerous turkey bills. (Pleasant Hill, Ky.) Advocate Messenger file

Gov. Jerry Brown calls himself the Capitol’s brooding omnipresence. We suggest another moniker: turkey bill killer, not to defame the noble bird.

He probably should veto many bills sent to him at the end of the legislative sessions. We don’t need hundreds of new laws. Although this is by no means a comprehensive list, we offer four that he should relegate to the dustbin:

▪ Senate Bill 376 by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, is a sop to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents many University of California employees.

This dreadful bill would ban the University of California from outsourcing full-time jobs to companies whose benefits don’t match the university’s wage and sweet benefit plans for comparable employment.

UC estimates that the bill would cost $36 million a year, plus another $12 million to $24 million to boost the wages of new employees. That would be significant for a system that turns away the qualified children of taxpaying Californians because there aren’t enough slots.

The Legislature approved Lara’s bill overwhelmingly, 24-15 in the Senate and 51-27 in the Assembly; we count only three Democrats who joined Republicans in voting against it. This bill requires an intervention by Brown, the self-styled adult in the room.

▪ SB 331 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, is an especially cynical bill that goes by the disingenuous title “Civic Reporting Openness in Negotiations Efficiency Act.” It’s an Orwellian name for a bill that would limit sunshine.

Mendoza pushed this turkey because in recent years, a handful of municipalities had the temerity to adopt ordinances requiring additional public disclosure of labor contracts with public employee unions.

A gift to AFSCME and the Orange County Employees Association, this mendacious bill would require those municipalities – and only them – to adopt ordinances requiring greater disclosure of any contract worth $50,000 or more.

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board supports transparency. But SB 331 requires information that already is generally public. And if it’s such a great idea, Mendoza should have attempted to apply it to all local governments. He didn’t; that’s not his goal, nor that of his benefactors. Once again, Democrats approved it overwhelmingly. Brown needs to kill this turkey.

▪ Assembly Bill 1293 by Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, and SB 682 by Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, seek to restrict the ability of state agencies and the court system from entering into contracts for services that are or could be performed by court or state employees.

Holden’s bill, which restricts the state’s ability to retain contractors, is a sop to the Service Employees International Union. Leno’s court bill is a valentine to AFSCME, Orange County employees and the SEIU.

Common themes run through these bills. Republicans oppose them, and Democrats voted almost in lockstep for the turkeys. Indeed, we counted only one Democrat who voted against each of the four, Sen. Steve Glazer, of Orinda.

We understand that public employee unions are Democrats’ biggest benefactors. But when legislators go out of their way to intervene on their behalf, taxpayers end up paying.

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