Not very, fears Bruce Nye at Cal Biz Lit, who notes that “The Chanler Group, the self-described ‘Largest Proposition 65 Citizen Enforcement Law Firm,’ wasted no time in announcing its support for the Governor’s proposals.” Prop 65, of course, is the famous California enactment under which an army of bounty-hunters have set forth to file suits and collect settlements from California businesses for failing to warn of the carcinogenic or mutagenic ingredients in hundreds of common products, from matches (which emit carbon monoxide) to brass knobs to roasted coffee to grilled chicken to billiard cue chalk. Gov. Brown’s reforms omit several stronger recommendations, such as “moving the burden of proof to the plaintiff to show that exposures exceed the applicable no significant risk level (‘NSRL’) or maximum allowable dose level (‘MADL’).”
Most importantly, would the private enforcer bar support Assembly Member Gatto’s AB 227, allowing a company receiving a 60 day notice to avoid prosecution by curing the violation within 14 days? Or better still, Cal Biz Lit’s proposal to allow sixty days to cure violations?
Those measures would be real reform.
More: Amanda Robert, Legal NewsLine.
A veto message from Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, after the California legislature passed a bill imposing a fine on children or their parents or guardians for skiing or snowboarding without a helmet: “While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet,” wrote the governor, “I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state.” [John Myers, KQED; text of veto message]
Now it’s California Attorney General Jerry Brown who’s gone and sued his own client. [Steele, Legal Ethics Forum; earlier here, here, etc.]
Hans Bader of the Competitive Enterprise Institute informs me that Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal has in a sense won his recount after all: a recalculation taking into account a bit of overlooked data has now moved him up from #3 to #2 on this year’s list, though he’s still essentially tied with Oklahoma’s Drew Edmondson. In first place: California’s Jerry Brown, while perennial favorites Patrick Lynch of Rhode Island and Darrell McGraw of West Virginia fill the #4 and #5 places, and a newcomer, William Sorrell of Vermont, makes an appearance at #6.
More: Bader in the Examiner on the selection process.
Rick Woldenberg talks back to the California attorney general, and also raises some questions about Proposition 65 and the finances of the freelance enforcers in the case, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Two years ago we covered CEH’s crusade against the iPhone. More: Darleen Click/Protein Wisdom and a followup from Woldenberg.
Not surprisingly, given that the office is occupied by former “Governor Moonbeam” Jerry Brown, he feels that the amendment barring same sex marriage should be invalidated. Also not surprisingly, given that it’s Governor Moonbeam, he takes a novel approach to the argument, one that libertarians may like: that same sex marriage is an inalienable right which cannot be taken away even by constitutional amendment. (The fighting Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution does not appear to be cited, as it’s a matter of state law).
Kip Esquire, who is a libertarian and who strongly favors same sex marriage rights, has given Brown’s arguments a thorough review, and seems unimpressed. Key criticism:
If I were Kenneth Starr (in the sense of, “if I were as insolent and snarky as Kenneth Starr is”), then I would simply respond with something like this: “What the Attorney General is apparently suggesting is that the California Constitution — is unconstitutional. That simply cannot be right.”
More analysis of the Brown brief may be found at Mr. Esquire’s site.
Readers will recall that acrylamide is a naturally occurring substance formed when many foods are browned or otherwise cooked and that (like countless other constituents of common foods) it appears to cause cancer in some animals at high dosages. California attorney general Jerry Brown has now reached a settlement with some large food companies that will require them to revise recipes for potato chips, French fries and other wares to reduce acrylamide content. Fun fact: one of the ways they may accomplish this goal is by artificially adding a chemical (OK, an enzyme) which works to neutralize acrylamide’s precursors. (Rosie Mestel, “Booster Shots” blog, L.A. Times, Aug. 4).
More: Bill Childs adds, “Oh, and the companies will pay California around $2.5 million.”
A major rebuke for former California AG Bill Lockyer and his successor, Jerry Brown, as well: “A federal judge in San Francisco today threw out a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General’s office against the six largest automakers in what had been billed as a novel attempt to hold the companies financially liable for global warming. … U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins said it would be inappropriate for the court to wade into issues pertaining to interstate commerce and foreign policy – matters that should be left to the political branches of government.” The judge’s order can be found here (PDF). (Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 18)(cross-posted from Point of Law).