3,000 carats or slices of bologna?

John Taylor: March 17, 20080 Comments

Wanna go nuts? Try to keep track of more than a smidgen of the 2,000 to 3,000 bills introduced EACH YEAR by legislators in Sacramento. So, over a two-year session -- when they are in session -- there are may be more than 5,000 bills to dispose of (that's way too many to act on).

Wanna create some sanity? I agree with Fresno Bee editorial page editor Jim Boren who wrote in the March 16 Vision section that each lawmaker ought to be limited in numbers of good ideas, tinkerings, bowing/scraping to donors and efforts to put his name in history books. (Boren has a bunch of other ideas like pay-for-performance, salary but no expenses and adjusting the number of votes required to approve a budget.)

I hopped on the Web sites of seven Valley lawmakers. Guess the total number of bills they introduced. (Answer at the end.)

Longtime newspaper columnist Dan Walters has repeatedly voiced his belief that California may be ungovernable, and that the screed and lunacy that passes for legislative action is proof positive. He and others have suggested California is actually three states -- with Central California more like conservative areas in the Midwest than it is cousin to LA or the Bay Area.

Heck, even parts of Fresno County wanted to break way to get better voice and services -- remember attempts in the early 1980s to create "Ponderosa County"?

Certainly, some legislation shows both good intentions and attempts to address need.  But how the heck can any kind of serious deliberations occur when legislative lawyers are growing round-shouldered with thousands of bills to formulate and redraft each year?

As to the total number of bills over two years introduced by state Sens. Mike Villines, Dave Cogdill, Jeff Denham and Dean Florez, and Assembly Members Juan Arambula, Bill Maze and Nicole Parra --- nearly 330.