By Steven Greenhut | It’s that time of year. The California Legislature has concluded its session and I can again publish one of my favorite quotations, from 19th century New York Judge Gideon Tucker: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
At press time, we’re still waiting to see how many liberty-destroying bills that Jerry Brown will actually sign into law, this being his (mercifully) last signings/vetoes after four total terms as governor.
Last year, Brown signed 859 measures into law. We’ll see this year’s final count in coming days. Not every bill is a bad one. But if you wonder why taxes keep going up, regulations keep piling up, and the tax code becomes more complex, you might think about the sheer volume of legislation that makes its way through both houses of the Legislature.
Rust never sleeps, but at least lawmakers are back in their districts. Unfortunately, the November general-election ballot is loaded with initiatives, which simply are proposed laws decided by voters. One of those would roll back the recent gas-tax hikes, but most float costly taxpayer-backed bonds and regulate our lives and property. Proposition 10, for instance, would remove state limits on local rent control. Hey, if we can’t fix the housing crisis, why not make it worse?
This idea reinforces that simple, easy button “fixes” that exacerbate serious problems are as much the fault of voters and direct democracy as lawmakers. But the Legislature has the market cornered on posturing. Interest groups aren’t going to spend millions of dollars to pass a ballot measure that doesn’t do anything. But legislators will spend their time debating highfalutin measures that are solely about virtue-signaling.
To read the entire column in the Orange County Register, click here.