MONDAY MORNING MEMORANDUM

EL CAZADOR

Kiss The Ring
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By Assemblyman Ray Haynes
July 26, 2004

The Governor showed up at the Ontario Mills Mall in Ontario, California, and referred to John Burton and Fabian Nunez as "girlie-men." He said that they did not have the "guts" to stand up in front of the people of the state of California and be honest about their intentions in the budget discussions. For those of us who were worried that the Governor might be making too many concessions to the tax-and-spend crowd, this sudden turn of events was heartening.

First, the Governor can actually make fun of himself, stealing the "girlie-man" line from the old Saturday Night Live routine of Hans and Franz who always wanted to "pump you up" and if you didn't like it, they would "hurt you with their little pinkie." The Governor actually got the whole state to sit up and listen to the nuances of the budget.

Second, it got the Democrats attention. People involved in politics always know when a point has been scored in a political debate. The Governor's "girlie-men" comment got the Democrats howling like that famous soccer announcer. It was a real score.

Finally, the success of the Democrats in any budget negotiations is directly reflected in how well they protect their contributors. The Governor and the Republicans wanted to repeal two of the most egregious of the Davis laws-AB 1419, which prohibited school districts from hiring private contractors to perform certain non-teaching functions, like transportation and food service at schools, and SB 796, which allows lawyers to sue employers for any technical violation of the Labor Code.

AB 1419 was long a dream of the public employee unions. Bus service, food service, janitorial services, and the like, which do not involve actual teaching of students can, in many cases, be provided by private companies for a lot less than it costs for the school district to hire the employees and pay the benefits. If the school district hires the employees, however, the public employee union gets the dues from that employee, which it then uses to contribute to Democrat politicians. The fact that it costs a lot more is irrelevant to them. Who cares if the district could hire 40 more teachers or buy 10,000 more textbooks with the savings from the private janitorial company? That company won't make the union more powerful. That is the most important thing to the union. If AB 1419 was repealed, each school district could decide whether they wanted to hire a private company or not, instead of Sacramento politicians. The unions would have none of that.

SB 796 granted to trial lawyers the right to sue employers for any little violation of the Labor Code, even if no employee complained or suffered any injury. So-if your company posted all those stupid notices in the employee lunchroom in the wrong place, posted the elevator permit wrong, or left a door open too long, some plaintiff lawyer could sue your boss, and keep all the money. Interestingly enough someone could sue the Legislature for about $28 million for all the violations that currently exist under this Labor Code in the Capitol right now, even though no one has died or been hurt working in this building in years. The law doesn't even protect the employer if he or she fixes the problem when it is discovered. Why? Because the lawyers couldn't make money if employers were let off the hook by correcting the problems, according to the author of the bill, Senator Joe Dunn.

The Governor and the Republicans wanted to repeal these laws. The Democrats wanted to protect their trial lawyer and union masters. The Governor got angry. I say it's about time. These "girlie-men" may have finally found someone who will stand up to them and their special interest masters.
 
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