It is gross negligence of me not to report on my first Republican Assemblyman representative's wins and setbacks during his first legislative session in Sacramento.
Sometimes, I still have to sit back and take it in: There is a Republican representing Torrance, CA in the state legislature for the first time in over twenty years,
By many estimates, it looks as if he will stay there for the next term, too, since he has accomplished more as a freshman in the minority than his predecessor, who had major financial backing from labor unions and business interests, yet provided absolutely nothing for the South Bay.
The California Legislature has adjourned until January. Barring a special session, the 2015 legislative season is over. As your assemblyman representing the South Bay, I’ll channel my best Vin Scully and recap some of the year’s wins and losses.
Biggest win: no tax increases. The California general fund enjoyed record revenues this year, state revenues are up $12 billion (11 percent) vs. two years ago. Despite this, the perennial advocates for higher taxes proposed plenty of ways to take more of your hard-earned dollars.
Republicans in Sacramento stuck to their principles and refused to budge on tax and spending increases. Thank God! The last time a major budget crunch hit the state of California, two Republicans caved in the Assembly, and all hell broke loose among the state electorate afterwards.
To name just some: 11 more cents per gallon on gasoline; $65 more in annual car registration fees; extending the Proposition 30 (temporary) income tax increases; a $75 tax on real estate documents; a tax on private health insurance plans; higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol; stripping commercial properties of their Proposition 13 protections (“splitting the roll”); and a new sales tax on services. However, taxpayer advocates like me played good defense and none of these taxes crossed home plate.
My former state senator, Ted Lieu, actually wanted to triple the car tax. I tore up him in front of everyone at a fundraising event in Encino two years ago over that ploy.
Line-up change: Gov. Jerry Brown and leaders of the Senate proposed two aggressive bills to reduce California’s carbon emissions. Senate Bill 32 would have required California to reduce its emissions 80 percent by 2050. SB 350 would have required the state to reduce petroleum use in cars 50% by 2030.
In the last week of the season, the situation changed significantly. SB 32 was voted down, and SB 350 passed only after the requirement to reduce gasoline use 50 percent was removed and the bill focused on more renewable electricity and more energy-efficient buildings. I voted for the amended SB 350, after having voted against the original SB 350. I will continue to work to improve our environment on the basis of broadly shared economic prosperity.
Conservatives have green hearts, too. Just let me keep the green in my wallet. I recognize that Assemblyman Hadley is not going to pick a winning fight at this time trying to push against every environmental measure and maneuver. It's time for conservatives to take away the Big Green's smarmy sympathy for the birds and the trees and prove that the Sierra Club and violent eco-terrorists do not care about the environment as much as they hope to control everyone. "Help the green, but leave my green alone" should be the new mantra.
Wins: The legislature made progress on some important issues. We protected the innovation economy, defeating legislation that was designed to hamstring new services like Uber. We also provided Californians the same constitutional privacy protections for your digital assets (emails, texts, etc.) that you have always enjoyed for your paper documents.
Wow! Privacy: what a concept. A sharing economy which truly expands and shares the wealth. I like that.
I am particularly pleased about a bill I authored that passed with no opposition. AB 306 provides our active-duty military personnel with more flexibility as they choose the right public schools for their children. I am proud to advocate for our military families, at Los Angeles Air Force Base and around the state.
|David Hadley (R-Torrance)|
Yes! School choice is winning in the state of California. It will only get better when the California Teachers Association loses their power to coerce dues from teachers to spend on treacherous political purposes.
Losses: On too many issues, the Legislature did not get the job done in 2015:
The majority failed the developmental disability community and the non-profits that support these vulnerable kids and young adults.
We need to make it easier for non-profits to do what is best for the disabled. The government enables dependence, but Republicans want all Americans to live their lives to the fullest.
The majority made no progress on maintaining our potholed roads. The extraordinary session on transportation appears to have been meant to distract voters from the fact that the majority would not appropriate budget funds for this essential government job. Instead, they continued to fund high speed rail and they also moved to weaken legislative oversight of the rail project.
Ugh! This Crazy train has turned into an officious vanity project for Governor Brown. When will Moonbeam leave and never come back?!
The majority failed to restore to locally elected school boards the ability to save money for a rainy day.
A glance over Assemblyman Hadley's Twitter feed will show how Democrats fled the Assembly floor to avoid a vote on this necessary reform. Public schools are required to spend down their reserves to next to nothing every year. This waste of taxpayer dollars, plus the uneasy insecurity of near bankruptcy in the face of economic downturns, must stop. School districts need more control and autonomy over their spending.
Disappointingly, the majority took almost no action on water.
This is outrageous. The water issue is hurting even suburban communities in the South Bay. Homes in the Torrance soils district risked getting red-tagged if the owners could not water their lawns. Housing prices are already skyrocketing and people are having a harder time finding affordable homes. This water issue is serious, even here in Los Angeles County.
The water crisis is killing off entire cities in Central California. There are families which have to buy bottled water just to flush their toilets! Other families have to shower in public facilities, because the wells have all dried up.
The California Democrats should be absolutely ashamed of themselves, pandering to labor unions and La Raza instead of facing the water crisis in this state head on. Just awful.
The Legislature did not reform civil asset forfeiture, the process by which law enforcement can seize and keep Californians’ cash and assets without ever indicting or convicting them of anything. The majority also took no response to crime rates that are rising again.
This was good policy and good politics all rolled into one. Where were the Republicans on this issue More Democrats voted for these reforms! Assemblyman Hadley took great risks to advance this legislation, hurting his connections with local and statewide law enforcement. Once again, I am so glad to have an assemblyman who did not get elected on union money,
The majority lacked the will to address long-term challenges, including public pension & benefit burdens and a business climate that drives too many jobs, employers and families out of California.
So much for Dan Walters' argument that moderate Democrats have taken over their party.
We have a lot more to do next year. I look forward to working with my colleagues from both parties for the benefit of the South Bay and all Californians.
I hope that Assemblyman Hadley advances the following legislation next term:
1. AB 803 -- He is already gaining momentum for this legislation, to allow communities of interest to establish their own school districts. Gardena and Lomita really need this.
2. Welfare reform. The state of California is overrun with welfare fraud and abuse. This is crazy. Everyone hates welfare fraud! There has to be some way to screen out the abusers from those who are truly needy.
3. Civil Asset Forfeiture reform. I hope that David can reintroduce the legislation and get support for it. Republicans need to make up their minds in Sacramento. Do they want the support of police officers, or unions? The two are not the same.
4.We need immigration enforcement of some kind. The California Trust Act needs to be amended so that police officers and the sheriffs throughout the state can better cooperate with ICE. The rising number of illegal aliens committing crimes, including the murder of legal residents, should send a clear message to Sacramento: if you promote the interests of illegals ahead of citizens, we will throw you out of office!
5. A resolution recognizing Kathryn Steinle and Marilyn Pharis two California residents killed by illegal aliens.
6. Union transparency legislation -- how are unions spending their members' dues?