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    Sacramento legislators prefer grandstanding over serious governing
    • April 30, 2023

    We’re deep into the legislative session and it’s prime time to look at what lawmakers are hatching.

    Perhaps the biggest debate this session has centered on fentanyl — the synthetic painkiller that is many times more potent than heroin and has led to more than 5,700 overdose deaths in California last year. Lawmakers have proposed a package of measures that mostly are about grandstanding — and epitomize the “throw everything at the wall” legislating common during other Drug War panics.

    The fentanyl problem is real. Yet the state already has a “master plan” that ramps up funding. Police agencies and DAs already have plenty of powers to arrest and prosecute dealers. The proposals would create a task force, call for new warnings to drug dealers and enhance prison sentences. Fortunately, the Assembly Public Safety Committee has resisted these efforts.

    Meanwhile, California lawmakers continue to move forward noxious bills to expand rent control and to bring back eminent-domain-abusing redevelopment agencies. Those proposals present a direct threat to Californians’ property rights.

    What would a legislative session be without a major tax-increase proposal? Senate Democrats have introduced a plan to close the budget deficit by raising taxes on large corporations “to pay for tax cuts for small businesses, renters, low-income Californians and union members” and boosting social spending, as the Sacramento Bee reported.

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    Even when the state enjoyed a $97.5-billion budget surplus, Democrats pushed for tax and fee increases. Large numbers of businesses and wealthy Californians already are moving elsewhere. Gov. Gavin Newsom — as he considers a presidential run — already threw cold water on this tax proposal. At least the governor got one thing right.

    No legislative session would be complete without some lawmaker offering a silly bill that seems designed to become a late-night TV punchline. This session’s winner is the “Skittles bill” that would ban the use of red dye No. 3 used in some candies. Unbelievably, it passed out of committee.

    On a more serious note, Assembly member Phil Ting proposed a measure to limit police use of creepy — and inaccurate — facial-recognition systems. However, the ACLU argues that the bill will actually expand their use. Until this year, California had outlawed the government’s use of such technology. We agree that law enforcement can’t be trusted with it.

    Californians should wonder why the Legislature fails to address California’s most-pressing problems — as it focuses on expanding government power.

    ​ Orange County Register