SOUNDING OFF: This Legislature's priorities leave a lot to be desired

With a flurry of activity, the 2005-06 legislative session has drawn to a close. The halls of the Capitol no longer overflow with lobbyists fervently advocating for the interests of their clients. The passionate debates have ended, and the hundreds of bills voted on in the past few weeks are either dead or heading to the governor's desk.

Whatever the outcome of the measures sent to the governor, the Legislature's priorities became very clear this last month. The Legislature focused its time on ensuring the passage of legislation that would protect illegal immigrants, coddle convicted criminals, promote gay marriage and benefit public employee unions regardless of cost or efficiency.

In the waning days of session, my colleagues and I voted on bills dealing with pet store regulations, hands-free cell phones and measures that would require schools to use textbooks or provide instruction that promotes people because of their sexual orientation. It astounds me to see that the Legislature feels these issues should be our greatest priority.

For five years, I resiliently took part in this end-of-session frenzy as an Assemblyman. After being sworn in to the Senate in June, I was eager to jump in, roll up my sleeves and continue the fight against expanded government, increased taxes and the inaction of our federal government over illegal immigration.

The Legislature's low public approval ratings reflect citizens' frustrations with the partisan bickering, inactivity and stalemate at the highest levels of state government. At no other time is this so apparent as the end of session.

I look forward to spending the next four months in Orange County, building relationships and tackling real issues of importance to my constituents in the 35th Senate District.

Orange County is a vibrant region with a rich diversity deeply interwoven into our great state, and our district continues to possess some of the most precious resources in our state.

For this reason, I look forward to the beginning of a new legislative session in January. I anticipate the same ridiculous issues to be pushed but am hopeful that my colleagues and I will also be able to address the more pressing matters facing our state.

Ultimately, I believe that we must work together at all levels of government to not only provide the best services in California, but to do all we can to strengthen and protect Orange County. After all, it encompasses the best of what California has to offer.


  • Tom Harman represents the 35th State Senatorial District, which includes Laguna Beach.


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