Residents in newly elected state Sen. Jerry Hill's district will now have a chance to weigh in on what "Oughta Be a Law ... Or Not."
Hill, who is taking over representation of Palo Alto from outgoing Sen. Joe Simitian, will continue his five-year-old contest, inviting constituents to submit legislative proposals.
For years Simitian held a "There Oughta Be a Law" contest from which he crafted a bill from a winning idea and introduced the legislation in Sacramento. Hill's own version includes suggestions for the repeal or revision of existing nonsensical or obsolete legislation.
The contest is open to all constituents of the 13th Senate District. It allows residents to submit their ideas for improving the quality of life in San Mateo County and Santa Clara County or the state of California. Ideas can vary from local community improvements to statewide reforms.
The 13th Senate District includes the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Woodside and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County and unincorporated Santa Clara County.
"This is a great opportunity for constituents to participate in our democracy and learn about the legislative process," Hill said. "Past winners have traveled to Sacramento to testify in committee, and their proposals have been signed into law."
Hill's office has already received several entries for the 2013 contest. Applications can be obtained by calling his district office at 650-688-6384 or from his website, www.senate.ca.gov/hill.
Completed applications may be emailed to Senator.Hill@senate.ca.gov, faxed to the district office at 650-688-6370 or mailed to the district office located at 160 Town & Country Village, Palo Alto, CA 94301. Submissions must be received by Jan. 15, 2013. The deadline to introduce bills for the 2013 legislative session is Feb. 22.
Past winners include: 2009 -- Assembly Bill 1379, which addressed spilled debris from trucks on highways and roads. The bill increased the fine for spilling debris from commercial trucks on roads and highways. Since 2003, there were more than 7,000 collisions caused by spilled loads in California resulting in 10 fatalities, according to the California Highway Patrol. The measure passed the legislature but was vetoed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
2010 -- Assembly Bill 2654 requires firms sending out solicitation letters that appear to be on behalf of government agencies to include a disclaimer atop the first page stating: "This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency." Under the bill, these letters must include the disclaimer. Violations are a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. The measure passed the legislature but was vetoed by Schwarzenegger in 2010. The bill was reintroduced as AB 75 in 2011 and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
2011 -- Assembly Bill 459, the National Popular Vote for President, would reform the Electoral College to guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide. All of California's electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes -- enough electoral votes to elect a president (270 of 538). The bill has passed 30 legislative chambers in 20 states and is supported by more than 70 percent of people nationwide. The measure was signed by Gov. Brown.