Legislators send in their bills

Local representatives turned in a lot of paperwork leading up to the Feb. 18 deadline for California lawmakers to submit legislation for the 2011-12 session.

The four lawmakers who represent all or parts of Glendale, Burbank and La Cañada Flintridge submitted a combined 93 pieces of legislation. The bills range from the ceremonial — a measure to again make April 24 California Day of Remembrance for the Armenian Genocide — to proposals for overhauling state government in the face of a projected $25.4-billion budget deficit.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) submitted 29 pieces of legislation. The most high-profile so far is the proposed “open carry” ban to stop public displays of unloaded weapons. The legislation was drafted in reaction to demonstrations in recent years in which licensed gun owners gathered to show off their unloaded weapons in protest of restrictive gun possession laws.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) submitted 24 measures, six of which would reform the state’s initiative process in various ways. Gatto has said California’s proposition process is out of control and has resulted in flawed laws and unwise state spending requirements.

State Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) submitted 20 bills, most regarding education or social-service support for vulnerable people, including foster children and homeless families.

Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) also submitted 20 bills, including one calling for state agencies to review all regulations passed before 1990 to find and eliminate outdated regulations.

Schiff talks political climate change abroad

When Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) looks at the wave of unrest sweeping through the Middle East and north Africa, he said he sees a new chapter dawning for democracy around the world and a blow to Muslim extremism.

“We may be witnessing something analogous to what we saw with the fall of the Soviet Union,” Schiff said.

He noted the uprisings have reverberated as far away as in China, where officials are dealing with the nascent “Jasmine Revolution” inspired by the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.

Schiff also said the rapid changes may sow doubts in the Arab world about the fierce anti-Western stance of extreme Muslim organizations.

“The narrative Al Qaeda has could be seriously undercut by people in the Arab world rising up to demand better in their own nations, and achieving it,” he said.

Schiff, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, acknowledged the geopolitical risks of the revolutionary efforts.

While he remained hopeful that Egypt will evolve into a democratic state in the wake of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, he said Libya risks “looking a lot like Somalia,” with civil war or bloody ethnic rivalries coming after Moammar Kadafi’s roughly four decades of rule.

Nonetheless, he said the United States has no choice but to stand with the people seeking reform.

“We cannot continue to prop up authoritarian regimes because we are concerned about what might come after them,” he said. “That’s not a viable policy.”

Liu, Gatto ace conservation test

The California League of Conservation Voters recently released its annual rankings of state lawmakers based on their votes on dozens of bills affecting the environment in the 2009-10 legislative year.

This year’s rankings were based on issues such as the successful legislation to improve California’s smog check program and the failed effort to increase regulation on bisephonol-a, a plastic used in baby bottles that is believed to be linked to developmental disabilities.

The annual rankings tend to overwhelmingly favor Democrats. This year the average Democrat earned 94 points out of 100, while Republicans earned 7.

State Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) earned perfect scores. Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) got a 90. State Sen. Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar), whose district includes part of La Crescenta and Montrose, got a 10.

Sherman helps start CPA club

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) and his fellow certified public accountants in the House of Representatives have formed their own club.

Sherman announced this month that he is a founding member and co-chairman of the Bipartisan Congressional CPA Caucus, along with Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas).

The informal group will look at budgeting and fiscal issues, as well as the burdens of compliance with existing laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act passed in the wake of the Enron scandal.

“Establishing the CPA Caucus allows us to educate our colleagues about the importance of the accounting profession to American business, and to share our expertise on tax administration and compliance,” Sherman said in a statement.

Glendale City Council forum set for March 7

On Monday, March 7, candidates for Glendale City Council will participate in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Glendale/Burbank. The event is at City Hall, 613 E. Broadway, at 7 p.m.

The league encouraged the public to submit questions in advance by calling (818) 925-4598, or by logging on to www.lwvglendaleburbank.org or in person at the event.

Six candidates, including incumbents Dave Weaver and John Drayman, are vying for two seats. The other candidates are former councilman Rafi Manoukian, perennial candidate Chahe Keuroghelian, City Hall gadfly Mike Mohill and newcomer Garen Mailyan. The election is April 5.

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