It's hard to say that state senator Scott Wiener isn't an effective legislator. But what effect is he having, overall? Is he doing more good for liberty, or more harm? An email blast he sent out today boasts of getting 13 (12?) different bills of his past the Senate and on to the Assembly. Without actually going and researching the bills in question, I've taken a quick look at his list and given each one a preliminary rating of one from +3 (good for freedom) to -3 (bad for freedom), along with a brief comment:
13 bills I authored were before the Senate this week, and I’m thrilled to report that all 13 passed! I’m so appreciative of my amazing colleagues in the Senate for their support and collaboration.
These 13 bills:
Protect net neutrality in California (-2) Opening the door to government regulation of the Internet is a very bad idea
Fix how we set local housing goals so all cities are creating more housing (+2) In plain English, this is about making it easier for builders to exercise their property rights by guaranteeing local governments can't go too far in blocking development
Help end youth homelessness (-1) Most likely involves increased government spending
Strengthen local conservatorship laws so counties can help people suffering - indeed, dying - from severe mental illness and drug addiction on our streets (-3) this is a very euphemistic way of talking about locking up people on subjective mental grounds against their will who are harming no one else
Extend drug pricing protections to prevent price gouging for consumers (-1) some drugs may be overpriced, but government probably has a lot to do with why those drugs are expensive in the first place, and more government interference isn't the answer
Allow cities to decide locally to extend nightlife hours to 4 a.m. (+1) Government has no right to be telling businesses what hours they can be open in the first place; this could loosen restrictions somewhat
Protect the civil rights of transgender people in correctional facilities (+2) With so many innocent and over-criminalized people in cages, anything that improves their conditions is a win for justice.
Ensure that new mothers who return to work are able to lactate (-1) Employers should allow this, but government shouldn't be interfering in the marketplace
Prevent wrongful convictions by improving eyewitness ID standards (+3) Better that a hundred guilty people go free then that one innocent person is wrongfully convicted
Protect civil rights for transgender people in correctional facilities (This one seems to be included twice! Are the 13 bills really 12?)
Provide full dental coverage for low income people with developmental disabilities (-2) More government welfare
Increase access to fresh produce for low income Californians on food assistance (0) Government shouldn't be providing welfare, but when they already are, better they at least provide healthy food; would give this measure a +1 except that it might involved government spending
Expand water recycling (0) Can't say without more information; this could be anything from government recycling more of the water it uses or sells below market rate (good) to imposing new mandates on ordinary Californians (bad)
So in net, how does Scott score? Out of 12 different pieces of legislation, I give him a preliminary score of -2 – in other words, he appears to be having a slight negative impact on freedom on net, although that's within what seems like a reasonable "margin of error" – a more precise analysis would require reading the bills, which I don't have time to do right now. Maybe for the newsletter after the election.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))