January 5, 2012 | Back to: News

Jim Porter: California Legislature not dealing with state's problems

TAHOE/TRUCKEE — In 2011 our esteemed Legislature was at it again, adding more laws to the books — whether we need them or not. My knee-jerk reaction is that we need most of these laws like we need more statewide initiatives. Here is a sampling. See if you can find any new bills addressing our budget deficit, the economy, jobs or any of the real issues the State is facing.

Hand guns

Assembly Bill (AB) 144 makes it illegal to carry an unloaded hand gun in public; however, there are exceptions for police, parade participants, target shooters and others. I understand concealed weapons proponents are now threatening to carry around unloaded shotguns and rifles to make their point.

Shark Fin Soup

AB 137 bans possession, sale or distribution of shark fins.

Elections

Senate Bill (SB) 202 restricts ballot initiatives and referendums to the November ballot when turn out tends to be higher and more advantageous to Democrats. This new law and a whole bunch more sponsored by Democrats makes me want to become an Independent.

Male Circumcision

Thank goodness we have a new law so cities and counties may no longer ban infant male circumcision.

LGBT

SB 48 requires social science instruction in public schools to include the contributions of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender Americans. There are a half dozen or more laws favoring transgender Californians. Also, now along with gender identity, “gender expression” is protected in California.

Apartment Law

Landlords may now ban smoking inside and outside of rental units, and under a separate bill, apartment landlords must provide recycling services for their tenants, apparently totaling more than 7 million in California. Additionally, under SB 337, residential landlords may no longer prohibit tenants from posting small political signs.

Human Trafficking

SB 657 makes it mandatory for large, worldwide manufacturers and retailers doing business in California to let their consumers and suppliers know what they are doing to fight human trafficking and slavery.

Homeless Youth

Here’s an important law. AB 1111 bars a court from garnishing the wages of a homeless person fined for truancy, loitering, curfew violations, or illegal lodging until he or she reaches age 25. I bet there’s a lot of those.

Food Stamp Fingerprints

AB 6 eliminates the requirement that food stamp recipients be fingerprinted.

Tanning Beds

SB 746 bars children under 18 from using tanning beds.

“Use By” Date

AB 688 prohibits stores from selling baby food, infant formula or over-the-counter drugs after their “use by” date.

Credit Checks

Employers may no longer request credit reports for Californians seeking employment unless they are working or seeking work in a financial institution, law enforcement or State Justice Department.

Car Booster Seats

SB 929 states that children are to remain in car booster seats until age 8 (formerly age 6) unless they reach a height of 4’9” before then.

Supermarket Lanes

AB 183 bars stores from selling beer, wine or liquor through self-checkout lanes. Another burning issue.

Genetic Tests

Tracking a similar federal law, SB 559 prohibits discrimination in employment, housing or emergency services based on information gleaned from genetic testing.

Infused Alcohol

SB 32 lets bars and restaurants color, flavor or blend spirits or wine for consumption on their premises. What a novel idea.

Organ Donors

The State of California now requires all drivers’ licenses and I.D. applicants to answer YES or NO to whether they want their organs donated.

All in all, a stellar year dealing with California’s tough issues.

Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Fair Political Practices Commission and McPherson Commission, both involving election law and the Political Reform Act. He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or at the firm’s website www.portersimon.com.

Jim Porter
Special to the Sun


Explore Related Articles

Trending in: News

Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 5, 2012 02:11PM Published Jan 5, 2012 02:10PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.