California assembly exempts itself from its own rules

Topics: Regulation
28 Sep 2006

From: Ervan Darnell

It's an old story: the government will exempt itself from its own
rules. When faced with how burdensome they really are, they'll
legislate around them instead of repealing them.

An instance came to my attention today. California passed a bill
presumably mandating lower carbon emissions. Cato [1] wrote a nice
piece on how this is a completely meaningless bill because it doesn't
specify how to do any of this except to demand that someone else do
it. While researching the bill itself, I learned that not only does
it pass the buck on actually doing anything, just in case it actually
does anything the state pushes the cost onto cities and counties and then
simultaneously exempts itself from its own law forbidding exactly that
sort of bad behavior (by proclaiming non- compliance criminal rather than
regulatory). From the bill itself[2]:

The California Constitution requires the state
to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement. This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required
by this act for a specified reason. [...]
SEC. 2 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to
Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because
the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school
district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or
infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty

for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the

Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the
meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California

Bill AB 32 2005-2006 session



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