When the Bills Come Due

There are a multitude of bills waiting to be signed including allowing DMV to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants and the nation's first ban on "conversion" therapy for gay minors.

Usually when one talks about the bills being due, you check your bank balance on the 2nd and 16th of the month to see who gets paid and who can wait. However, I’m talking about state legislation as in Senate and Assembly bills. (Obscure etymological reference: The origin of the word ‘bill’ to describe a proposed law is Latin from the term “bulla” in its medieval usage as "a seal" which became a "document furnished with a seal" and therefore an official decree or statute.)

There are five days left in the current Legislative session. If a bill does not make it to the Governor’s desk by midnight August 31… es muerte... and there are thousands of bills left to decide… most of which will wither and expire in committee. Plus there are the 800-pound gorillas: overhauling California's overloaded public pension system; renovating the state’s expensive workers' compensation program; and, changing the way corporate taxes are assessed, the latter with the power to drive away businesses in absolute droves.

But of those still in play, it’s a real legislative smorgasbord. Still registering anywhere from a weak pulse to a full on bacchanalia are bills to:

  • Authorize the DMV to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants who are granted work permits under a new Obama administration program. (El Presidente has halted deportation for almost all people brought to this country illegally when they were minors. That ought to quell the immigration debate – NOT.)
  • Add agricultural workers to the list of employees to whom overtime wages must be paid if the employee works in excess of a workday or workweek, as defined by state law.
  • Disallow the use of net operating loss carrybacks by individual and corporate taxpayers. Seems the personal income tax -and- the corporation tax laws allow individual and corporate taxpayers to utilize net operating losses and carryovers and carrybacks of those losses for purposes of offsetting their individual and corporate tax liabilities. No more.
  • Enact the nation's first ban on "conversion" therapy for gay minors.
  • Legislate a statewide ban on using polystyrene foam food containers as of January 1, 2016, though the bill, for some reason, exempts school districts.
  • And finally, an interesting and much needed correction dealing with handicapped access. I know this is going to sound un-PC, but the truth is there’s a growing epidemic of what can only be termed frivolous lawsuits against businesses and multi-family housing complexes claiming failure to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

And that’s the shame of it. These money mills file anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 complaints a month under cover of the ADA. Standard settlement per complaint (rather than go to trial) is $4,000 to $8,000 and right now under the law, the lawyer and the plaintiff get to keep the money.

This bill would, instead, make some much needed changes to protect the integrity of the ADA. (As an aside, after reading the issue background, I’m baffled why there isn’t a requirement that any settlement must go into a state fund to help remediate any legitimate ADA violations. Then if the lawyer and plaintiff file a claim and win, the settlement will be to actually help the handicapped and not to make money… just sayin’)

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