Gas-Powered Lawnmower Ban, Mandatory Gender-Neutral Toy Aisles Among California’s Weirdest New Laws
No California legislative year is complete without the passage of some asinine bills that promote progressive hobbyhorses, and this latest one was no exception. By the deadline last weekend, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed 770 bills (and vetoed 66 bills)—including a few measures that no doubt spurred a few more Texas relocations.
Perhaps the worst one was a ban on the sale of new gas-powered lawn equipment beginning 2024, or whenever regulators determine it to be “feasible.” This epitomized Democratic lawmakers’ approach to global warming. They pass symbolic laws that won’t improve the Earth’s climate given that the nastiest emissions come from India and China, but mainly annoy Californians and drive up our cost of living.
Heck, the 2020 wildfires pumped more metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than leaf blowers and lawn mowers do over decades, but we have to “do something.” My mower is on its last legs, so the something I’ll do is come up with extra cash to replace it while I can—rather than wait to sneak one across the border from South Lake Tahoe.
Aside from the small-engine ban (and that weird law forcing large retailers to create gender-neutral toy sections), this wasn’t that horrific of a legislative season. Actually, it was surprisingly good. The governor signed laws that improve governmental oversight and—try not to faint—roll back onerous land-use regulations. Sadly, “limited-government” Republicans mostly were on the wrong side of those reforms.
Regarding accountability, lawmakers finally put law-enforcement unions in their place by reminding them they work for us—and it does nothing to improve the safety of the public or officers to allow miscreants to have a badge. Policing obviously is a critical public service, but that makes it more imperative that the state remove from power those officers who lie, cheat and abuse the public.
Toward that end, Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 2, which creates a deliberative system for decertifying misbehaving officers. Until now, California was one of four states that lacked the same kind of process that’s routine for doctors, attorneys, real-estate agents and contractors. As the old saying goes, bad apples spoil the entire bunch—and overly aggressive cops distort the entire culture within their departments.
Without a decertification process, abusive officers—and check out the news reporting on officers who were involved in disturbing misconduct, but continued to patrol our streets—would simply get jobs at other departments after they were fired. We don’t want incompetent teachers in the classroom, and we shouldn’t want numbskulls at police agencies, either.
The governor also signed several other police-reform and criminal-justice-related bills, including limits on sentencing enhancements that prosecutors use to scare defendants into copping pleas. Who knew that the California Legislature could do such useful and nuanced work?
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