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Oversight lapse puts brakes on safety law

first_imgA law cops use to punish gangs’ deadly car pranks across California has lapsed while old laws like those allowing witch-hunts for communist state workers remain. Officials said Friday absence of comprehensive oversight may be the biggest, least-known gap in state government. And in this case, a new lapse of law may cost youthful reckless drivers or others their lives in the San Fernando Valley and elsewhere. “They just seem to keep adding more and more \ laws,” while only removing them “piecemeal” when “some issue prompts it,” said Nancy Lyons of the watchdog Little Hoover Commission. On the other hand, Capitol lobbyists said sometimes good laws are enacted with troublesome “sunset” end dates. Perata says authorities will not allow youths to “terrorize our streets” or communities “to be ravaged.” Supporters point to Oakland’s failure – as the lead sponsor – to document the law’s success. “The sponsor of the bill is the watchdog and responsible for tracking it for sunset,” said Liisa Lawson Stark of the League of California Cities. But she also pointed to the difficulty of the task for lobbyists across the state. Oakland’s plea for permanent reinstatement came after the Legislature shut down last year. It was then City Councilman Larry Reid told Perata the law “served Oakland and similar cities around California as a very successful deterrent to violent and socially disruptive activities.” The League of California Cities agreed, citing in part communities in the Valley. Perata’s “urgent” reinstatement would take effect upon the governor’s signature. In the larger picture, a system to prevent unwanted sunsets is needed, but so is a means of removing outdated laws, according to the Little Hoover Commission. “It would be a benefit to everyone,” Lyons said. There have been scattered agency and legislative attempts to kill laws that are outdated. Using one of those outdated bills, two south-state Republicans introduced a bill striking the word “communist” from a law and inserting “terrorist” to weed out unwanted state workers. A fellow Republican, Assemblyman Guy Houston of San Ramon opposes the bill, saying “Congress has created homeland security laws to investigate and prevent terror threats.” [email protected] (916) 447-9302 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The difference can be the moment in politics. The sponsor of a law, supported by the League of California Cities and several statewide law enforcement groups, failed to follow up in time on a law to counter reckless driving deaths by youths. Dangers range from drag racing to “sideshows,” where cars noisily careen through neighborhoods overnight, wildly spinning at times. The state adopted a 2002 law, with a five-year sunset, allowing officers to impound cars for up to 30 days at the owner’s expense. Under previous law – and under the law again now – authorities can hold a car tied to reckless driving only until the owner pays a fine. The sponsor of stricter regulations – Democratic Senate leader Don Perata of Oakland – is scrambling to reinstate the law that ended Jan. 1. last_img read more