GUEST COMMENTARY - The Legislative Goofball of The Session Award goes to Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, for his Senate Bill 432 that mandates that hotels use fitted sheets rather than unfitted sheets on mattresses.
Here is the bill language: [link] This bill would require the standards board to adopt a standard relating to housekeeping in transient lodging establishments requiring the use of fitted sheets on beds and the use of long-handled tools for cleaning bathrooms. The bill would require the division to enforce the standard in the ordinary course of its duties pursuant to existing authority. Because this bill would require the standards board to adopt a new standard, the serious violation of which would, when effective, create a new crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”
A new industry Web site, www.NOsb432.com, posts this right-on explanation on its fact sheet: “Our economy is struggling. Our budget is perpetually out of balance. Schools, roads, health care and public safety suffer. And the Legislature is focused on… FITTED SHEETS?? That’s right. SB 432 (de León), would mandate that hotels use fitted sheets, not flat sheets, on all of their mattresses. Why? Good question. Studies show no safety benefits for hotel employees from using fitted vs. flat sheets. So what’s the deal? Perhaps it’s because the bill’s sponsors, the California Applicants’ Attorneys Association, want a new cause of action to sue.”
This tells you everything you need to know about Sacramento and the nuttiness in the state Capitol.
1. The state is facing serious budgetary and infrastructure problems, and yet legislators think this legislation is worthy of consideration (it passed out of committee before recess).
2. The state recognizes no limits on its power. If it can regulate the type of sheets a business puts on its beds, then what limits are left?
3. The state doesn’t mind creating new classes of criminals. The official language explains that the bill would “create a new crime.” This reminds me of the late writer Sam Francis, who coined the term “anarcho-tyranny.” The state continually creates new laws and regulations and crimes that affect law-abiding citizens, even as it fails to rein in the growing lawlessness around us. Note that police agencies in these tough budget times have been listing the many serious crimes that they will no longer pursue.
4. Laws are promoted in order to help some supposedly helpless group of people, in this case housekeepers. That is paternalistic, but it also is dishonest. The real driving force is the trial lawyers, who advocate for this law and stand to gain financially from it. This is cynical.
5. Democratic leaders have no concern for the impact of their new regulations on businesses and assume that they businesses want to hurt their workers. Legislators believe that they know more about any particular industry than the people involved in that industry. They assume business owners are evil profiteers who will willingly harm their workers to extract a few more cents out of them. They assume the regulators who enforce the laws (and receive high salaries, great pensions and many benefits unavailable to others) are selfless defenders of the public good.
This legislation is utter foolishness. This is from De Leon’s statement: [link]
“The California State Assembly Labor and Employment Committee … advanced Senate Bill 432 (De Leόn), a bill seeking to outlaw unsafe housekeeping practices that result in housekeepers cleaning bathroom floors on their knees for lack of mops and lifting heavy mattresses for lack of fitted sheets.
“’The hotels change their sheet inventory frequently. There will be no added expense,’ said the bill’s author Senator Kevin de Leόn (D-22). “All we ask is that when the hotels make their next purchase, half of the sheets be fitted. It is a minor action for them but a major benefit to employee health, safety, happiness and productivity.’”
De Leon is abusing poor people to advance his political career. He is harming the very businesses that hire the people he claims to help. He is undermining individual choices and freedom. He is wasting the Legislature’s time. Mostly, though, he is making a fool out of himself and a mockery of the Senate and the state.
(Steven Greenhut is the Editor in Chief of CalWatchdog.com where this article was first posted.) –cw
Tags: Kevin De Leon, fitted sheets, crime, new crime, Senate Bill 432, budget, tough budget times
Vol 9 Issue 62
Pub: Aug 5, 2011