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We Didn't Have a Budget, But They Had Ideas!

by Susannah Kopecky, published

True, California did not have a cohesive budget for months. Even while the governor struggled to force cohesion, even mandating that state employees take a proverbial during the work week. But state legislators didn't let that keep them from promoting... other legislation. From December 2008 through February 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger appeared to be cajoling legislators into doing their jobs, and it certainly appeared that his work was like pulling teeth.

Member of the State Senate and Assembly did not come to a budgetary agreement until February 2009, but before then, a number of less than hard-hitting amendments were proposed, including the State Senate's "Relative to Irish American Heritage Month" proclamation, and the "Relative to Greek Independence Day."

Give the legislators a hand: despite incredible odds, they kept open minds... or something like that. On February 19, 2009, state representatives agreed to a statewide budget, and plan to bring under control the $42 billion budget.

S.C.R. No. 17-C was introduced on December 17, 2008. On February 4, it received analysis on the Senate floor, at which time it was "resolved by the Senate of the State of California" that March 25, 2009 would be recognized as Greek Independence Day. In December, Representative Alquist was thinking four months ahead to a March celebration, though a majority of legislators still could not put it upon themselves to also pen a budget.

In the Assembly, on January 7, Assembly Member Hayashi introduced ACR 9, a resolution to celebrate January 13, 2009 as Korean-American Day (one month and twelve days before the budget's passage). There was no noted opposition on the Assembly or State Senate floors. Bill ACR No. 20, pertaining to Black History Month, was introduced on February 11 (eight days before the budget's passing). Bill AB 64 was introduced on December 9, 2008 (two months and 10 days before the budget's passage), which dealt with renewable energy topics. (Funny thing is, it's hard to invest extra money in renewable energy projects, when there isn't a budget to spend, eh?) AB 87 was introduced in the Assembly on January 5, 2009 (one month and 14 days before the budget's passage), dealing with "single-use carryout bags," promoting recycling alternatives and information on the "environmental effects" of said bags.

Ok, and even though this one was introduced right after the budget was passed (eight days later, on February 27), it's still a keeper: Senate Bill S.B. No. 750, pertaining to "Exotic animals: kangaroos" and prohibiting the "importation for commercial purposes inapplicable to the dead body of any kangaroo. It would delete the exception and the January 1, 2011, termination date" of the current law, which "generally provides that it is a crime to import for commercial purposes, possess with intent to sell, or sell any part or product of the dead body of a kangaroo, subject to specified misdemeanor penalties for each violation. However, until January 1, 2011, exception is made for kangaroos that may be harvested lawfully under Australian national and state law, the federal Endangered Species Act of 1971, and applicable international conventions, under specified conditions." YES!

Does anyone else get the impression that procrastination played a huge part in the budget fiasco? I thought the state leaders were elected to do the work others didn't want to do...

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