Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Fox to Help Henhouse Run More Smoothly: Or, Steinberg to Fix Business Regulations

Today's piece of comedy gold comes to us via the Sacramento Bee, which reports that Senate President Darrell Steinberg plans to spend the coming weeks working on ways of easing the regulatory burdens on business in the state.

He cares about unemployment. Really.
That's right, the leader of the legislative body that's brought you proposals to ban alcopops, to stop people from smoking in their own homes, to allow police to conduct warrantless searches of companies that press CDs and DVDs, to prohibit CalFresh recipients from buying unhealthy food, to prevent minors from using tanning beds, to keep food vendors from using Styrofoam containers, to force employers to recognize medical marijuana users as a protected class, to allow third parties to become involved in appeals to CalOSHA, to raise fees and taxes via AB 32's cap and trade program, to require new data collection and record-keeping standards on the part of Internet businesses, and to expose tech-sector employers to unlimited civil liability now thinks regulations might be a problem. According to Steinberg, "It doesn't take any kind of a brain surgeon or political genius to know that the economy and unemployment are the most important issues." Which is interesting, because we don't recall him saying anything like this when California's unemployment rate was still at 12% and he was pushing for a card check law affecting agriculture employers, as well as massive new taxes from city and county governments. But maybe being Senate President means never having to say you're sorry.

As such, Steinberg will be working to move a number of measures forward to streamline regulations in the state, including eliminating duplicative rules, streamlining the process for obtaining permits, and creating a standard approach for assessing the economic impacts of new regulations. Saith Steinberg,
"There's a whole host of measures that are pending on both the respective floors that can and should be packaged together to move and to demonstrate to the people of California that while balancing the budget is probably the most important thing we can do to instill confidence, we also have a lot of legislative tools here to help put people back to work - and that's where I intend to have my focus and the focus of my caucus."
Of course, if you believe that many of these duplicative, burdensome rules serve the interests of politicians, bureaucrats, and labor unions, you'd have to expect that any reforms the Legislature passes will be fairly benign and superficially. And so do we.


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