I seem to be on a roll lately exploring the ups and downs of my state's legislative process. So, I thought it only fair to take one more parting shot at California. Actually it won't be the last.
For starters, California is easy for me to align in my crosshairs since I experience the wonderment that is my state's bureaucratic process daily. Some of the new laws enacted in California this year are really interesting, others are mind boggling, while others are actually very good. Here's a sample. See if your state can match mine.
AB 91 talks about ignition interlock devices. At first I thought this was IUD legislation-boy was I wrong! The pilot program is slated for four California counties over the next six years. Basically if you were stupid and irresponsible enough to get yourself a DUI (see where the confusion came in) you can get a restricted driver's license by having one of the IIDs installed in your car. Motorcycles don't need one; I guess it's because the state figures drunks don't ride motorcycles or they will probably only kill themselves! However, the best part of this legislation is the length of time the IID will be installed in the drunks' car: it's based on the number of DUI convictions and whether the offense was a misdemeanor or felony DUI. I'm not an ACLU card carrying member or particularly a politically correct individual but am I the only one who believes I had it right the first time-where was the IUD when it was needed?!
AB 62 is next up and is what I call a "tweener" law. This law possesses obvious merit but also has its shortfall. The law deals with television broadcast or video signal and said use by the driver of the car while navigating public roads. All of us should be able to see the shortfall of a driver watching American Idol while trying to negotiate the Southbound 5 freeway (substitute for your traffic crunch zone). The law says the driver cannot watch the video signal but the curtain climbing, ankle biting, big wheel jockey in the back seat can. So far so good but have you seen the picture quality available in these soccer mom mobiles? I wish I had that picture quality in my house. Since I don't, I find myself, and there are others, watching the show while driving my car-from the adjacent lane. Of course the best story to date was the pharmaceutical employed young man who was driving his bling-laden Escalade while watching a movie about a young woman named Debbie from Dallas. The ensuing traffic calamity behind and around him brought traffic to a standstill. Duh! Talk about making the evening news.
SB 527 falls into the category of, "I still don't get it." It's neither a bad law nor is it a particularly good law. It doesn't appear to have any residual woes the rest of us will have to endure but this piece of legislation, Senate Bill 527 took Senators to figure it out, allows a person to ride a bicycle without a seat if the bicycle was designed by the manufacturer to be ridden without a seat. You've got to be kidding. Being a cycling aficionado, of all things that revolve around riding a bike this law would normally be near and dear to me but I must admit this one leaves me in a quandary. I ride often and believe me when I say that having a seat on a bike is a good thing, but if you wish to ride your bike standing and not sit more power to you-'cause that's what it's going to take. I sure as hell do not need to tie up the entire state legislative process to tell me if I should ride my bike standing or sitting.
AB 83 is called a "Good Samaritan" law and provides anyone who renders medical or non-medical care at the scene of an emergency not be liable for any civil damages. Of course, if you screw up in a criminal sense I suppose you will get your butt in a sling. But all in all this seems like a law that is a longtime overdue.
My last parting comment will be on traffic ticket fines. As most of you are aware my state is coming up a few bucks short of balancing the budget. What better way to close the gap then to increase traffic fines. If you are faint of heart it's probably best you do not go any further, unless you live in another state, then make sure you are comfortable and enjoy the laugh.
Hot rods are known for not having front license plates, well think twice. Going forward it will cost you $178 for missing a plate. Let's face it. How many guys will actually install the front plate? Speaking of hot rod tickets, an inadequate muffler is a $178 fine.
Failure to stop at a red signal: $436. I get the importance of this but there should be a sliding scale because blowin' through a red light is a whole lot different than creeping through while making a right-hand turn at 3 mph. If you do this at a stop sign, it's $214. Doesn't pay to be a "roller."
Speaking of graduated fines, 1 to 15 mph over the speed limit is $214 while 16 to 25 mph over gets you a $328 ticket. The grand prize comes when you are stopped (presumably voluntary) for travelling at 100 mph or greater. You are given an all-expense ride to jail, car impounded, bail bonds fee, lawyer fees, court fees, and $500 fine, but the state can charge you over $700. You might want to steer clear of this one.
Turns out if you have headsets on (listening to the oldies but goodies), you will earn a $178 ticket, but if you expose one ear to the "world" you are good to go. Go figure.
The next two are good ones and I wish the local law enforcement would step up their vigilance. Violation of disabled parking provisions (first offense) is $976; are you ready, the second offense is $1,876. Failure to provide proof of insurance is $796 and passing a school bus with flashing red lights is $616. All of these, while severe, should be-you're messing with other people's lives.
Well, that about sums it up for now. I thoroughly enjoy living and working in my state but the enjoyment gap between states is getting oh so closer.