While the state legislature passed many important bills this past session that we supported, the governor wielded a heavy veto pen. Of the 13 bills we asked Governor Schwarzenegger to sign, he vetoed 12, giving lie to the notion that Arnold is a "moderate" Republican. At least on our issues, the Terminator is no moderate. It was definitely "Slaughter on Teamster Street."
Here are some examples of the bills that the Governor vetoed:
The Governor's most disappointing—and unexpected— veto was of AB 2878 by Assembly Members Joel Anderson, (R-El Cajon) and Dave Jones, (DSacramento). This bill would have increased the amount of equity a homeowner could protect as part of the "homestead exemption." The bill had no opposition and passed the Legislature virtually unanimously.
The Governor’s veto message basically said that the bill wasn’t very important. Maybe not to wealthy people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but to people who are unemployed, in debt, or facing bankruptcy, it could help them preserve some equity in their homes. Funny how we can find billions to bailout banks, insurance companies, and corporations, but we can’t do anything for working Americans.
The Governor also vetoed SB 1338 by Senator Carole Migden, (DSan Francisco), that would have extended the law that allows our members to predesignate their treating physician in the workers’ compensation system. Set to expire next year, the law enables our members to go to their own doctor instead of employerchosen medical hacks.
The Governor stated that he was vetoing the bill because "there is no reason a select few employees should be allowed to opt out of a system that is working well for everyone else." I think the Governor is confusing injured workers with his insurance company friends.
In another area of workers' compensation, the Governor vetoed AB 507 by Assembly Member Hector De La Torre, (D-Southgate), which would have required employers to post on the internet if they had workers’ compensation in effect. Although the bill had little opposition in the Legislature and was supported by employers and unions, it was still vetoed. Similarly, the Governor vetoed AB 2969, a bill by Assembly Member Sally Lieber, (D-Mountain View), that would have required that doctors who approve medical procedures for injured workers be licensed to practice medicine in California. This was a common sense proposal that would prevent doctors with a different standard of practice from reviewing treatment under California law.
With regard to the all-important issue of heath insurance coverage, the Governor vetoed two important bills, both by State Senator Sheila Kuehl, (D-Los Angeles). SB 840 would have created a single payer system of universal health care and SB 1440 would have limited health insurers overhead costs to 15% of the premiums paid—an idea that the Governor embraced in his own failed health insurance proposal. I guess it was a good idea when he thought of it, but a bad idea when it was someone else’s.
After the longest budget stalemate in California history, (the budget was 85 days late), the Legislature threw in the towel and passed a "get out of town budget." On the way out the door, however, the Democrats sold out most of their principles.
First, they simply failed to address the $15 billion budget deficit and rolled it over until next year. So next year’s fight is probably going to make this year’s look like child’s play.
Moreover, they managed to give corporations a $500 million tax break with no offsetting revenue, which means they will be taking it out of the hides of poor people and school children.
The Governor agreed with the majority Democrats that a temporary sales tax increase was necessary to get us out of the mess, but the minority Republicans would have nothing of it. In the end, Governor Schwarzenegger was terminated by his own political party and was unable to get even one Republican to vote for his budget.
Next year, the voters will have a chance to weigh in on the mess as the Governor has promised to call a special election—probably in June. It seems as though we are in a perpetual cycle of elections, special elections, and perhaps even gubernatorial recalls. The California Correctional Peace Officers Association, nursing a grudge the size of San Quentin and Folsom combined, made threats to recall Arnold. Sound like an idle threat? That’s what Gray Davis thought.