Back when I was a working journalist at an MSM outlet one of the year-end rituals was posting a piece on all the “little” laws the legislature sneaks in each year that take effect January 1st.
There were 725 this year. The number itself is enormous and it shows the increasing legal creep of control over all aspects of our lives.
Here is an article on the list:
Of course, some will be inocuous and some will be popular. Let’s look at AB 1844:
AB 1844—informally known as Chelsea’s Law and authored by local Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher—will increase penalties, parole provisions and oversight of sex offenders, including a “one-strike, life-without-parole penalty” for some.
I find this a very tricky area of law. No one likes sex offenders, and with good reason. Recently, they have become such persona non grata that they have been virtually unable to find housing and jobs upon release. Not releasing them is becoming the solution. The problem is that in doing that you create a class of people you are officially deciding are beyond rehabilitation. I believe it is true that there are people who are habitual criminals and must be permanently incarcerated, that is the point of three strikes. But when you go to one strike and out I believe we need to be absolutely sure of guilt. We also have to accept, if not encourage, reasonable efforts to overturn such convictions when good evidence can be brought forward to absolve someone wrongly convicted. Currently, prosecutors fight tooth and nail against almost any suggestion they were wrong. I am hopeful that the increased use of quality forensic evidence will dramatically lower the risk of wrongful convictions. I hope it also increases prosecutor confidence so they are able to say “go for it, prove us wrong, I dare you.” We also need to be leery about the number of categories of crimes we decide should be “one-strike.” I hope this isn’t a slippery slope. I am also concerned because we are behaving irresponsibly. We won’t build new prisons but we pass more laws so more are arrested. Then we periodically throw a bunch out of jail because we are out of space…while mandating that others be locked up forever. Prison over crowding breeds worse criminals, who go out and then commit worse crimes. If we are going to pass more laws and arrest more people we need to build more prisons and get over it. No more BANANA people (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) and that goes for their CAVE friends, too (Citizens Against Virtually Everything)….
I think this is intrusive and bad law. What is going to happen here is that landlords will be prevented from evicting disruptive tenants. It is already hard to evict bad tenants. Strength of will and a lawyer can keep a bad apple in a building for quite some time. Now you will have a situation in which landlords will have to be even more under the watchful eye of lawyers as they try and evict noisy tenants who are bad neighbors. “I am being stalked” ,”I am the victim of domestic abuse” will become mantras. This new law will “work” because social agencies will set guidelines and owners and managers will have to follow them. In turn, the people with disordered lives will follow them too. And find loopholes. The victim here will be the quiet neighbor living next to the tenant with the disordered life who claims “stalking” and forces the landlord, the manager, the social service agencies and the police and fire department into a dance to determine who can be evicted for what action. But since it will be funded with tax dollars there is a chance the whole system will collapse.
The Nanny and the Green Nanny. We can’t fire bad teachers, and our schools are performing poorly but you will be fined if your child doesn’t want to be warehoused without a “valid excuse.” Theoretically, an Albert Einstein’s parents will be fined because they can’t afford to put their little theoretician in a better school and he/she doesn’t want to sit next to the bully stealing his lunch money while a teacher who can’t be fired does crossword puzzles in the front of the room.
Energy efficiency is “good” and most people support it. It is, in fact, a truly “conservative” position. But it should be accomplished voluntarily through markets not coercively via guidelines no one but the Sacramento Gang has actually read. If you wonder why business leaves the state. This is one reason. Soon, businesses all over the state will receive letters informing them of the changes they will have to make to be “green.” The good news is that some won’t leave because they will be able to conform and the rest won’t leave all at once.
I know, there are still 721 others to look at. I don’t have the heart right now.