Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 7:41 am | Fair 58º


Rich Ehisen: California Legislators Yuk It Up at Californians’ Expense

If it makes you feel any better, other states have their share of legislative misfires

It’s All in the Game: The end of a legislative session usually has its share of rituals, some regal and some goofy. A particularly good example of the latter was in display in the Assembly last week. As the Sacramento Bee reports, legislators from both parties marked the end of the regular session by participating in a game of “Legislative bingo,” a little number requiring them to insert oddball words or phrases into floor debates. Examples from the marathon Aug. 31 bill-fest include the use of phrases like “you’re not the boss of me” as well as references to “Humpty Dance,” “cougar pay,” “cheap money shot,” and “Doogie Howser.” Here’s guessing that Golden State residents suffering through yet another torturous budget battle — this year’s budget is already more than two months past due — might have inserted a few choice words and phrases of their own.

Rich Ehisen
Rich Ehisen

Pineapples or Prairies: Barack Obama is not even two full years into his presidency, but the battle is already on over his eventual post-term library. As might be expected, Hawaii officials want any such facility to be located in the Aloha State, where Obama was born and raised. Not so fast, say Illinois officials, who argue that Obama became presidential timber only after moving to Chicago and immersing himself in Prairie State politics. As the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports, the Hawaii Legislature has jumped out to an early lead by adopting a resolution urging Obama to choose Hawaii for the site. Officials there are also feverishly working on a design they hope will sway him their way. They also traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to lobby federal officials in the U.S. parks system. Illinois officials have promised to undertake their own lobbying effort “at the proper time.”

Just Say Ah: Or don’t, actually, if you are using it to pronounce “Nevada.” As any good Silver State resident will tell you, it is pronounced “Ne-VAD-a,” not “Ne-VAH-da” as some out-of-staters like to say. While that may seem trifling to some, it is a big deal to most Nevadans, who are prone to loudly correct folks using the “wrong” pronunciation. But not everyone there is so sensitive. As the Reno Gazette-Journal reports, Assemblyman Harry Mortenson, D-Las Vegas, has pre-filed a resolution for 2011 calling on his fellow citizens to be more tolerant of folks who use the offensive vernacular. Mortenson, who is termed out and won’t be around in 2011 to fight for his bill, says he has already heard from scores of people on both sides of the issue. “I expected a big controversy and I got it,” he said.

Going to the Dogs: If you think things are going to the dogs, well, you may just be right. As The Washington Post reports, Alaska recently became the 10th state to name an official state dog. The Last Frontier’s decision was the culmination of a three-year effort by students from an Anchorage grade school, which successfully convinced legislators to bestow the honor upon the Alaskan malamute, the largest and strongest of Arctic sled dogs. The Post also notes, however, that such matters are not always taken so seriously. In 1965, a similar bill in the Pennsylvania statehouse prompted lawmakers to “arf” their approval. Forever known as the “barking-dog vote,” the measure passed, making the Great Dane the Keystone State’s official canine. Oregon may soon join the pack. The Oregonian reports an effort is under way there to name the border collie the Beaver State’s official hound.

— Rich Ehisen is editor of State Net Capitol Journal, where he provides expert coverage of state-level public policy and legislative trends in all 50 states. He is also an award-winning journalist who has written exhaustively on such issues as immigration, California water policy, education and many others. This column is republished with permission from State Net Capitol Journal.

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