Politics Prevailed In 2008
Not all legislation proposed made it through the approval process, for a variety of reasons.
Our local legislators worked hard in 2008, proposing bills that ran the gamut from crime to education and the environment. Some of them were accepted and signed into law, some were put aside for more discussion and some just went away.
A brief synopsis:
- Assemblyman Cameron Smyth’s Surrogate Stalker bill was signed by the governor Sept. 30 and becomes law Jan. 1, 2009
- Senator George Runner proposed SB 1303, which would eliminate back pay for teachers on administrative leave because of drug use. This bill died in committee.
- Runner also proposed SB 1180, which would have included Elsmere Canyon in the Rim of the Valley corridor, but it was rejected by the governor in September. SB 1180 was one of the hundreds of bills left unsigned in a dispute over how long it took legislators to agree on the state budget.
- Runner’s Safe Neighborhoods Act, (Prop. 6) would have provided additional funding to law enforcement and prisons, but it was defeated by a margin of 2 to 1 by the voters in November.
- Runner had success with SB 1168, better known as “Michelle’s Law,” which allows college students to remain as dependents on their parents’ health insurance policies even after a debilitating illness, was signed by the Governor.
- Another Runner proposal that made the February ballot, Prop 92, which would have changed the method of funding for community colleges, was voted down.
- And HR 5887, the bill introduced April 26 by Congressman Buck McKeon that would have stopped the largest mining operation in the country (CEMEX) died in committee of the 110th Congress.
Super Tuesday, the primary that helped decide which candidate would represent each party in November, was met with apathy by local voters, with only 17 percent of registered voters participating. Nevertheless, local Democrats supported Hillary Clinton and Republicans got behind John McCain.
The turnout was about the same for the Santa Clarita City Council election in April, when 17 percent of eligible voters picked Laurie Ender and Bob Kellar for the two available council seats; with Ender getting 6,180 votes and Kellar 6,135. The contest provided much fodder for reporters in the months leading up to election day and resulted in complaints being filed with the state’s Fair Political Practices Committee and accusations of unethical behavior flying at Council meetings after the results were in.
The difference in November was striking, with more than 80 percent of eligible voters streaming to the polls or mailing in ballots to pick their choice for President of the United States. The Los Angeles County Recorder/Registrar reported that President-Elect Barack Obama garnered 70 percent of the vote, while 29 percent of the voters selected John McCain.
Proposition 8, which proposed a change to the California constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage, was narrowly approved, with a less than one percentage point advantage. The issue was hotly contested on the street corners of Santa Clarita, where demonstrations were held almost nightly the two weeks before November 4.