Win some, lose some on bill signing

We take selective note of bills signed or vetoed the past week by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Commendably, the governor vetoed Senate Bill 1235, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. It would have required the state superintendent of public instruction and the Department of Education to “provide training and technical assistance,” supposedly to reduce student suspensions and increase graduation rates. But as Gov. Brown correctly pointed out in his veto message, the matter is best left to local school boards “and the citizens who elect them.”

And he was right to sign Assembly Bill 1478, by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Van Nuys. It spends $30 million to keep open parks that had been slated for closing. The money is part of the $54 million surplus “discovered” in July in accounts of the Department of Parks, causing a scandal.

We believe the governor was wrong to sign the following bills:

AB2230 is by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Silver Lake. It requires new carwashes (except the self-service kind) to “reuse at least 60 percent of the wash and rinse water on-site or to use at least 60 percent recycled water.” Supposedly it would help the state save water. But recycling technology is more expensive than just hooking up to the regular water supply.

The bill will discourage the construction of new carwashes, restricting supply; in turn, that will drive up prices of getting your car washed. More people will just wash their cars at home.

SB1221 is by state Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Artesia. It bans using dogs to hunt bears and bobcats because doing so supposedly is cruel. As our colleague Steven Greenhut has pointed out in a Register column, Sen. Lieu seems the ultimate Nanny State busybody. Hunters will just go to other states to enjoy their legal sport.

SB1458 is by Sen. Steinberg. It dumbs down California’s Academic Performance Index of student achievement. The API ranks schools by such measures as test scores, attendance, exit exams and attendance rates. The API for O.C. schools is reported in the Register and is closely followed by parents and students.

The API constitutes at least 60 percent of achievement tests. Under SB1158, starting in 2016, the “achievement test … shall constitute no more than 60 percent of the value of the index for secondary schools.” (emphasis added.)

“It makes the old floor a ceiling,” Lance Izumi, an education policy analyst at the Pacific Research Institute, told us. “That gives schools an incentive to include softer factors in the API, instead of stressing the academic skills.”

A better idea: Improve parental options with more school choice and charter schools.

Nothing contained in this blog is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Pacific Research Institute or as an attempt to thwart or aid the passage of any legislation.

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