Liz Writes Life 1-6-15

Jan. 6, 2015
Liz Writes Life

Published in Siskiyou Daily News, Yreka, Siskiyou Co., CA.
It is the New Year and time to change a habit – instead of writing 2014, we must now remember to write 2015. Some years I grasp this quickly and other years, I’ll find it is June and I am still struggling.
I took a few weeks off from the political beat, but with the New Year I’ve got to express my aghast at the 930 laws that the state legislature passed and then our sometimes very confused Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law. He did veto 143 bills passed by the State legislature. Come on folks, it is hard to believe that 80 state assembly members and 40 state senators could even think up this many things to fix. With so many new laws, I will likely break one and not even know it.
For those who were upset over the single-use plastic bag law that will stop stores gathering up all of our purchases and sending us out-the-door with – well that one is up-in-the-air. Guv. Brown signed the new law that prohibits stores using the single-use plastic bags. It was set to go into effect on July 1, 2015. But, a network of pro-single-use plastic bag users began a campaign to overturn this law using the “we the people” process to put it on an up-coming election ballot measure. Signatures are being gathered from registered voters.
It actually looks like the proponents may have gathered sufficient signatures (likely about a million was needed and I did sign it), so this law will be on hold until the Nov. 2016 general election. So if you see our local stores continuing to use the plastic bags — that’s the reason why.
Personally, I re-purpose (and I don’t normally use that description) plastic bags so much that I can’t imagine not having a drawer full.
So that you don’t think I am overly negative about all the new laws, I do agree with the one that allows state and local officials to create a new veterans’ cemetery at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine. Of course, that is a So. Cal thing, but this is good for veterans and their families. As for Nor-Cal, I am still really impressed by those that were able to get the Veterans Cemetery at Igo out Gas Point Road from Cottonwood.
Another law that I actually agree with is the one regarding drones and privacy. Prosecution for invasion of privacy will be permitted when aerial drones are used to photograph or record another person in a private setting. Good.
Although I also agree that victims of “revenge porn” should be able to seek court orders to have their posted sexually explicit photos (posted by others) removed from the internet, my first thought is that maybe the victim shouldn’t allow naked photos to be taken! How you express yourself has become a curious business in the 21st century.
Well on to a few incredibly ridiculous new 2015 laws. Let’s see, how about the one regarding the ability to obtain professional licenses. This one offers professional licenses to people that are in our country illegally. They will no longer need a USA Social Security number to obtain state licenses to work as doctors, dentists, nurses, barbers, security guards or lawyers. I am not against illegals working in these professions I just think they should become legal citizens to do it in the U.S. If they have put that much effort into these professions, taking the test to become a U.S. citizen should be a cinch and they are certainly welcome.
Another interesting one is regarding voter registration. Eligible Californians cannot be disqualified from registering to vote on the grounds that they sign the required affidavit with a mark, cross or signature stamp. I thought we had stamped out illiteracy. For someone who is truly disabled, I can understand, but this law is open enough to allow illegals to vote.
More on voting: Formerly, those who voted by absentee ballot had to make sure their ballot arrived by Election Day. Now, if the ballot is mailed on Election Day and arrives within three days, it can be counted. Yep, that’s a little late.
Manufacturers of toy weapons must now color them brightly, so that law enforcement officers don’t confuse children that are using toy guns with real firearms. Hum, what I see happening already are pink real guns being purchased by adults. I do hope the law prevents any child from being suspected of wrong-doing, but eventually brightly-colored weapons will likely become the norm for adults. Men may enjoy a nice sky blue.
I do hope that we all are able to obtain a list of these 930 new laws so that we can be law-abiding citizens. The last thing I want to be is an outlaw!
Liz Bowen is a native of Siskiyou County and lives near Callahan. Call her at 530-467-3515.
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