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

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…