A New Year; New Regulation
By Todd Strandberg
Every year hundreds of new California laws take effect Jan. 1. In 2016 and 2017, California lawmakers passed 900 new laws each year — that’s about 7.5 bills per legislator. California has easily become one of the most regulated states in the union.
There is so much government control emanating from the state capital of Sacramento that, at some point, we have to question if Democracy still exists in the Golden State. If the person who owns a home has little control over how they manage their property, do they really own it? California tells residents what trees they are allowed to cut down, what amount of water they’re able to collect or use, and what types of building materials they’re allowed to use for new construction.
The problem is not just the quantity of regulations. In recent years, California lawmakers have passed bills that involve the most trivial details of people’s lives. I found one news article that listed 20 pages of new laws for 2019. I picked out four of the craziest regulations:
AB 1884: Plastic straws
Dine-in restaurants in the state will be prohibited from giving out single-use plastic straws unless they are requested by a customer. Businesses that don’t comply will be fined $25 a day and up to $300 a year.
AB 2274: Divorce and pets
Judges will be able to decide who gets custody of a family pet during a divorce. The judge will consider factors like who takes care or feeds the pet.
AB 485: Pet stores
Pet stores will be prohibited from selling live animals like dogs, cats or rabbits that come from breeders. The animals must be obtained from an animal shelter and the store must post the name of the agency where it got the animal.
AB 1755: Bicycling crashes
Bicyclists could face felony hit-and-run charges if they leave the scene of an accident where someone was injured or died.
I don’t understand the fixation with plastic straws. Somehow banning this tiny amount of plastic is going to save the world’s oceans from the vast tons of plastic that come from other sources. Dine-in restaurants might as well have been told not to bring silverware unless you request it from your server.
It may seem progressive to have authorized a judge to decide who gets custody of a pet. If adults can’t decide this among themselves, then the judge might as well decide who gets custody of the house plants and toiletry products.
The requirement to have pet stores sell animals that come from an animal shelter is going to match some child up with a dog that is a biting hazard. There were already laws banning puppy mills. Telling pet stores what they can sell is Soviet-style central planning.
The law about bicycling crashes is bad because it’s unnecessary. If you hit and injure someone with your bike, you should stop and render assistance. This new law allows the police to create infraction that didn’t previously exist. If someone else hits a person with their bike, you can be charged for leaving the scene of a crime.
There is always the possibility that people will reach their breaking point with government regulation. In France, the “yellow vest” protests sprang from profound cultural tensions, especially between rural and urban France. The Paris government already had massive taxes on diesel. The government had decided it was necessary to “protect the environment” and “combat climate change” by jacking up fuel prices by almost 20 percent. Truckers suddenly decided they had enough and they went on a rampage.
The intensity of the protests quickly forced the government to permanently shelve its plans for fuel-tax increases. The “yellow vests” quickly became part of the problem by demanding a series of further concessions from the government. Their requests include a redistribution of wealth as well as the increase of salaries, pensions, social security payments and the minimum wage. Some say they will not settle for anything less than the president’s resignation.
I wish there was a massive revolt against all these nanny-state laws, but the Bible seems to indicate government control will only get worse in the coming years. By the time the Antichrist comes to power, a global government will have the authority to behead anyone who fails to worship the head of state.
“I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).