Calif. Collapsing as Lawmakers Debate Blueberries, Pomegranates
Thursday, June 11, 2009 11:50 AM
SACRAMENTO — What budget crisis?
As California faces what one official this week called a complete meltdown of state government, some lawmakers have their minds on other matters.
Such as creating a blueberry commission. Or standing up for pomegranate juice. And, in what passes for health reform in the nation's most populous state, ensuring that the name tags of medical workers are in an 18-point font.
Those are among the hundreds of bills being debated in the Legislature as the state faces a $24.3 billion deficit and the prospect of running out of cash by late July.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has urged lawmakers to act swiftly so the state can pass a budget before the fiscal crisis deepens.
The lawmakers' attention on less pressing issues — some of them much less pressing — earned a rebuke from the Republican governor. He even endorsed the idea of converting the Legislature to part-time status to focus lawmakers' attention on only the most important topics.
If lawmakers worked part-time, he said, "they would probably concentrate more on the serious work and not some of the bills that come down . . . for creating a blueberry commission and so on. There would not be time for that," he recently told the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee.
Among the more eyebrow-raising bills pending in the state Legislature are ones that would:
Ensure that juice sold as "pomegranate" is 100 percent pomegranate.
Teach ninth- and 10th-graders about the value of organ donation.
Ban toy cigarette lighters.
Require day cares to serve only healthy food to children.
Mandate 18-point font on health workers' name tags.
Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, a Democrat from San Francisco, is the author of the name-tag bill and another that would establish a commission to promote California's growing blueberry industry. The commission's $1.2 million annual budget would come from a surcharge on blueberries.
A spokeswoman for Ma declined to comment on her bills. In a written statement, she said the Legislature is working on measures to improve education, increase access to healthcare and keep jobs in the state. She did not mention blueberries or directly refer to the name-tag requirement.
** Merijoe's note:
WTF? I dont know all the nuances of politics too well, but the manager of my company usually decides if we need to change the font size of our paperwork-I dont think a report is generated, I dont remember being asked to send a special fee to the company and Im pretty sure a vote company wide isnt taken for this.
But, Im a dumb buck tooth nanny goat, who lives in a cave and washes my clothes on a rock.