Deals cut on liberal legislation, But conservative bills get no love

End of session deals are nothing in the California Legislature. What is unusual is how these deals are being cut. Our “Republican” governor has chosen to works solely with Democrats in the legislature to pass legislation, leaving Republican leadership, and their conservative leaning initiatives to twist in the wind.

As the media announces deals on prescription drugs, green house emissions and increasing the minimum wage; legislation establishing tax incentives for business, an Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives and reforms to our redistricting process all fall by the wayside.

Take a look at what this “Republican” administration has to say about these measures and what Republican legislators have to say.

On Emissions Agreement (AB 32-Nunez) :

“We can now move forward with developing a market-based system that makes California a world leader in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. The success of our system will be an example for other states and nations to follow as the fight against climate change continues. AB 32 strengthens our economy, cleans our environment and once again, establishes California as the leader in environmental protection.

“Throughout the negotiations, my primary concern was that the Legislature passed a bill that provided the flexibility to address unforeseen circumstances. AB 32 will ensure that the state can make adjustments throughout its implementation.

“When I ran for office, I promised to not only help protect the environment, but also help turn back the clock to make sure that the environment we leave for our children is better than the one we have today. The state is the 12th largest carbon emitter in the world despite leading the nation in energy efficiency standards and its lead role in protecting its environment. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an issue we must show leadership on.

“It’s amazing the work that can be done for the people of California when Democrats and Republicans work together. I want to thank Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Senator Don Perata and Assemblymember Fran Pavley for the hard work they have put in to make this agreement something we can all be proud of.” Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On Prescription Drugs (AB 2911- Nunez):

“The Legislature has been a great partner. By working together, we are providing meaningful prescription drug discounts for the hard-working Californians who pay the most for their life-saving medications, but can afford it the least,” Governor Schwarzenegger.
“Until we are able to provide basic health care insurance to all California residents, programs like this prescription discount will provide relief to the most vulnerable of our citizens. It’s progress– and progress is always made in increments,” Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata.
“No Californian should ever have to choose between buying their prescription medicine or putting food on their table,” said Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez. “This long overdue agreement will provide low-cost medicines for seniors and working families paying higher drug costs than anyone else.”

On the Minimum Wage Increase (AB 1835 Lieber) :

“With our economy booming and nearly 600,000 new jobs since I took office, the time is right to raise the minimum wage for working families,” said Gov. Schwarzenegger. “I promised in January that I would sign legislation increasing the minimum wage if it was not indexed to inflation. And that’s exactly what I will do when this bill hits my desk. I am especially pleased because this is another great example of what we can accomplish for the people of this state when we work together to move California forward.”

Notice anything strange? The “Legislative Leaders” the Governor refers to does not include any Republicans. As a matter of fact, every single one of these bills was carried by Democrat legislators and pushed through the process with very little debate or input by Republicans (other than their “NO” votes that is.)

Here is what Republican legislators had to say about these “Landmarkdeals”:

On Emissions Agreement (1 Republican vote- Asm. Shirley Horton)

“Carbon emissions are a serious issue that should be addressed with responsible action, but Assembly Bill 32 is not the answer. Adopting costly and unattainable regulations will drive businesses and jobs out of California into other states – and even into other countries with no commitment to improve air quality.” Assembly Republican Leader George Plescia

On Prescription Drugs (0 Republican votes):

“Republicans agree that expanding access to prescription drugs is an important priority, but we have many serious concerns about this prescription drug plan.

“By forcing companies to cut drug prices through price controls, which is the practical effect of this measure, we will jeopardize the development of life-saving drugs for all 35 million people in our state, drive up health insurance costs for all insured Californians, and threaten the jobs of thousands of highly skilled workers in this critical industry.

“Using a heavy-handed approach to force drug companies to participate may have the unintended and dangerous consequence of taking away critical medications for vulnerable Californians who depend upon Medi-Cal.

“Also troubling is the proposal’s vague language that could extend eligibility for prescription drug discounts to illegal immigrants living in California. This misguided approach disrespects the millions of legal immigrants who have worked hard to achieve the American Dream, and provides a costly incentive for more illegal immigrants to locate here.

“Californians deserve the right to choose the prescription drug plan that is best for them – one that keeps the government bureaucrats out of their medicine cabinet and out of their doctor’s office. We believe market-based solutions, like health savings accounts, are the best approach to ensure that families have access to affordable prescription drugs.” Assembly Republican Leader George Plescia

On the Minimum Wage Increase (1 Republican vote- Sen. Maldanado) :

California’s minimum wage already is more than 30 percent higher than the federal level,” said Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment Vice-Chair, Alan Nakanishi (R – Lodi). “This bill would make California the permanent home of the highest minimum wage rate in the country, and would actually hurt workers by encouraging job-creators to move to states with lower overhead.”

“Employers will have to reduce employees or shift the cost increase onto consumers. Each of these actions will have a negative result on employees,” Assemblyman Nakanishi said. “The auto-pilot increases will further jeopardize economic growth in California.”

Now this is how Republicans really feel about these measures! And that is why all three garnered a whopping total of 2 Republican votes; with both of them coming from the caucus’ most liberal members.

So what does all this mean?

It very well could be a sign of things to come: our “Republican” Governor works with Democrat leadership to implement Democrat initiatives.