News

Assemblywoman starts 'There Ought to be a Law' contest

Baker asks high school students to propose legislation through videos

In an effort to engage Tri-Valley teenagers, Assemblywoman Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon) has launched a video contest for high school students in her district to propose a bill idea to address a problem impacting California that they think requires a legislative solution.

The winner of the "There Ought to be a Law" competition will have the chance to join Baker at the State Capitol to introduce their bill for the State Assembly in committee and receive special recognition from the Assembly, according to Baker's office.

"This contest will be a great opportunity for high school students to learn about the legislative process and the importance of civic participation," the first-term assemblywoman, whose district includes the San Ramon Valley, said in a statement. "I'm hopeful many students will find the task of creating their own short video to be both a fun and educational experience."

Participating students are asked to create a two- to six-minute video explaining the problem their bill idea would address, details of what their bill would do to solve the problem and evidence to support the need for the legislation.

Contestants can also submit an optional, but recommended, essay of up to 1,000 words detailing the bill idea, according to Baker's office.

In the video or essay, students must address why the state government should solve their problem rather than the local or federal government, the private sector or nonprofits and they must explain how the proposed legislation would be funded.

The bill idea doesn't need to create a new program or regulation; the student's concept could be to repeal, replace or modify existing law.

Contestants must upload their video to YouTube and send the link to Baker's office by visiting her district website and clicking on "There Ought To Be A Law" on the right-hand side of the page. Submissions are due Nov. 27.

Baker's office will then review all submissions and select the top three videos. On Dec. 3, the three finalists will be added to the "Catharine Baker" YouTube channel. The public can vote by "liking" the video, and the video with the most "likes" by Dec. 17 will win.

"I'm eager to receive many quality video submissions into our contest and hear students' valuable insight into the problems that require a legislative fix," Baker added. "It will be an honor to host the contest winner at the State Capitol as they introduce their bill before the California State Assembly."

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Comments

2 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 28, 2015 at 6:40 am

Are you kidding? California is in sad shape and faces a multitude of problems, yet she's asking HS kids to help her with coming up with ideas for a new law? Catherine... we have plenty of laws already. Why don't you tackle an existing problem... like maybe creating new water storage capacity or addressing CA's unfunded liability problem?


5 people like this
Posted by Greg
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 28, 2015 at 6:47 am

How about asking which laws should we get rid of? Already have too many laws.


8 people like this
Posted by J.G.E.Swar
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2015 at 9:58 am

Adults in our community appear not to be engaged politically. Reading media hype with an agenda is not dealig with facts. Here is a woman who is making a contribution by educating High School students. By the way, they will be the people making or breaking laws in California in the future. She is to be commended.
Most Political Parties are disengaged for school age children. Complaining is not a solution.

J.G.E. Swar


2 people like this
Posted by Paul
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2015 at 10:09 am

To George and Greg:

Did you read the article or just the headline? Quoting from above -"The bill idea doesn't need to create a new program or regulation; the student's concept could be to repeal, replace or modify existing law".


1 person likes this
Posted by George
a resident of Alamo
on Oct 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm

Hey Paul... Of course I read it. To quote... the student "will have the chance to join Baker at the State Capitol to introduce their bill for the State Assembly in committee and receive special recognition from the Assembly, according to Baker's office." State legislators clearly have too much time on their hands. A part time legislature would be far less destructive and significantly less expensive than the one we currently have.


2 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2015 at 3:20 pm

A similar program was organized some 14 or 15 years ago in our area, by former Assemblywoman Lynne Leach, although back then it was via written essay, without benefit of video.

In some cases, the essay writing was done as an optional assignment for English classes. I DO think that there are good educational benefits for the program.

Ideally, the selected winner's idea will have actual merit, and also be practical, and not just "symbolic". And in the end, there are no promises that the resulting bill would ever make it out of committee.

I am sympathetic (believe me) to the comments that we have significant issues that need serious work, and also to the comment that we arguably need fewer laws, not more. But, as someone noted above, the winning bill could easily be to remove a regulation, or to make a regulation less onerous. And, my belief is that Catherine Baker will make a good selection.

As a side comment, I went to the committee hearing on the day that one of Leach's student-originated bill was read to the committee (some 15 or so years ago). It was last on the agenda that day, and frankly was more sensible than most of the items that were discussed before it. During that several-hour session, the committee spent significant time debating the pros and cons of a bill that would recognize the "Armenian genocide" of 1910 (a bill which basically pitted Turkish-Americans against Armenian-Americans, and was therefore controversial, even if essentially meaningless), and also took time out so that a United Farm Workers group could come in and chant slogans, in favor of Cesar Chavez Day. Believe me, the "bar" for committee meeting discussions is not that high...

I forget who said it, but the legislative process is a lot like making sausage. You don't necessarily want to watch. And committee meetings are one of the earlier steps....


Like this comment
Posted by pSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Oct 28, 2015 at 5:52 pm

I can see the merit in this effort. And I can agree with ALL of the commenters, so far.

Yes, we need fewer laws and smaller government, IMO.

How about a Law that would put a Duration Period and Ending Point on all laws, such that the law would end or have to be reviewed and reinstated. That might get some laws off the book or clean up and improve some poorly written laws.

How about a Law that made all Politicians and most political offices/positions be Part-Time, not Full-Time, and also be for PT pay amount.
This might make it so that Politicians would have to spend a significant amount of their year in a real-world, hopefully non-governmental, job and also require them to reside in their local electoral community and go to regular medical care. They need to keep themselves in real touch with their constituents and see the real effect of their laws on the working class.

Good luck, students!


Like this comment
Posted by Idiot
a resident of Danville
on Oct 29, 2015 at 8:46 am

George,

You sound like a fool.

1. The goal of this clearly is not to generate hard hitting legislation, it is to create a more politically engaged youth. Pro tip: about 25% of high school students are voters, too.

2. In case you are woefully ignorant of the legislative process, it is only through additional legislation that past legislation can be repealed.

3. Please enlighten us all and tell us what these magnificent cost savings will be with a part time legislature as opposed to a full time legislature? I'm talking figures, not broad, meaningless statements.

Can't wait for your future contributions - I'm sure they will be equally helpful!


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of another community
on Oct 29, 2015 at 9:44 am

well well well...so what's the prize? hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...duh...

a new computer, trip to Las Vegas, nasty playing cards?


Like this comment
Posted by PSMacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Oct 29, 2015 at 10:32 am

"...tell us what these magnificent cost savings will be with a part time legislature as opposed to a full time legislature?"

I'm not going to bite on your real question. (I know that you don't really care.)
But I will comment, sarcastically, that maybe a PT Legislature wouldn't get around to passing so many spending bills or taking on so many projects (outside of their true jurisdiction and scope)!

More than the monetary advantages would be the non-monetary benefit of it acting as an on-going SYMBOLIC statement and recognition that Government should be small in scope and size and should leave a lot of projects for INDIVIDUALS to perform, rather than Government.
Government was NOT supposed to do "everything," be involved in "everything," and solve "every" bleeding-hearts problem!" It needs to know its limits and actually know the CRITERIA for when to say Yes or NO to its getting involved.

If it held to its correct boundaries, then it could be conducted by a PT Legislature.

The real problem is that, as it expands beyond its intended boundaries, it destroys individual freedoms and turns free men into slaves! It is a new form of slavery! We are becoming slaves to Government.
Out with self-determination and in with governmental determination.

There needs to be a new term for where we are headed. It won't quite be Communism or Socialism. Maybe Governmentalism!

I know that this sounds over-the-top, but where do YOU think that we are headed!?!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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