Tuesday, October 4, 2011

California Government Reserves the Right to Violate Your First, Fourth Amendment Rights

Unfortunately, it looks like Jerry Brown took advantage of our brief absence from the blogging world to sign a number of terrible bills this weekend. Two, in particular, caught our attention as examples of the contempt that today's politicians feel towards Constitutional rights.

First up is AB 768, which Brown signed on Sunday. This bill essentially affirms that only the state is permitted to regulate medical practice, local governments being prohibited from establishing their own regulations. The law was Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Feuer's response to ballot initiatives in San Francisco and Santa Monica that would've prohibited male circumcision. The initiatives, which provoked a firestorm of (not undeserved) criticisms from the Jewish and Muslim communities statewide, were both ultimately withdrawn. The San Francisco initiative was pulled by a Superior Court Judge, who ruled that local laws pertaining to medical procedures violated the California Business and Professions Code; activists in Santa Monica withdrew their measure out of a desire to dissociate themselves from the anti-Semitic overtones of the San Francisco effort. Feuer's bill essentially states that cities and counties are prohibited from enacting bans on male circumcision. While we were never happy about the ballot initiatives, particularly their presumption that government has the right to decide which forms of religious expression are proper, we're no happier with Sacramento essentially making the same presumption.

And then there's SB 550, which we wrote about in May and which Brown signed into law yesterday. This bill, the brainchild of noted nanny-stater Alex Padilla, essentially exempts law enforcement from having to pretend that there's a Fourth Amendment if they suspect music or DVD piracy is afoot. Now, police may conduct warrantless searches of CD and DVD pressing facilities in order to ensure that discs bear legally required identification marks. In other words, intellectual property piracy is such a terrible crime that Constitutional protections against searches without probable cause need to be suspended in order to keep the dying music and movie industries alive.


  1. RobOct 4, 2011 11:17 AM
    My canine SAR and working German Shepherd friends are sweating bullets over AB 1117, which somehow snuck through both the Assembly and Senate, and is circling Jerry's desk now. Aimed at ending puppymilling and sponsored by the always dubious Humane Society of the United States (one of the very worst, self-serving animal charities out there), it's so vaguely written that the mere act of a small-time breeder transporting dogs could be considered criminal, with penalties of having all their animals confiscated. Weirdly enough, the police K9 handlers -- who have a real interest in seeing this thing get killed, as it will affect the future supply of police dogs -- have not stepped up on it, perhaps because the labeling is so mom-and-apple-pie, but this stands to be a catastrophe for working dog breeders in California.
  2. GSLOct 4, 2011 11:22 AM
    That's on my radar. I agree completely about it. Really trying to think of the last time Sacramento did anything with good intentions that didn't turn out horribly.