SF Chronicle Cheerleads for California Tyranny

California tyranny is evident in 930 new laws going into effect, but the media praises the state for all of them.

Even if some laws could possibly be good and needed, you know that no one needs a gush of close to a thousand new laws in one year. No society should need that many laws in a decade, let alone in a year.

[See also, “California Gun Confiscation Program to be ‘National Model.’]

But the San Francisco Chronicle is eager to praise the California legislature for passing that many laws.

California’s knack for spotting problems and producing answers on topics both grand and puny is on display in 930 laws taking effect this month. The results affect this state’s 38.5 million residents but will lead other states plus Washington to take notice.

There are issues that the rest of the nation doesn’t want to touch. Undocumented residents can now sign up for driver’s licenses, a step that should make the roads safer and nudge an estimated 1.4 million people toward fuller participation in everyday life. It’s well short of reforming immigration laws, but it shows sensible steps can be taken.

Gun control is another example of a hyper-sensitive topic that is still amenable to small improvements. Families with troubled members now have a legal recourse in barring relatives from owning weapons, a change that followed a shooting rampage near a Santa Barbara university campus. As with driver’s licenses, this modest measure doesn’t get to the heart of hard public decision-making, yet it’s still an improvement.

There are other laws worth noting. Most single-use plastic bags will be banned beginning July 1, though bag makers are pushing a ballot measure to repeal the law. Their campaign is a replay of failed arguments when the Legislature enacted the measure. Dozens of California cities, including many in the Bay Area, have already phased out the sacks that jam drains, stick in tree branches and defy recycling.

Another midyear law will give uncovered workers sick pay for the first time. The measure has real meaning to employees in fast-food, retail and service-industry workplaces that don’t offer such coverage.

On and on it goes. There is no abridgment of human freedom that should ever be questioned. Every single law is an example of wisdom on display from the state legislature. The only thing questioned is the influence of teachers unions preventing laws to make it easier to fire teachers.

But that seems like a really small exception to what is otherwise a grand poem of praise for making new laws.