Thursday, August 12, 2010

California Serpentine: To Assembly Member Lieu - A Question of Openness and Fairness

Senate Bill 624 in the California legislature calls for serpentine to be removed as the state rock of California. The bill is in the Assembly, and if passed there, will move on to the Senate, where it will be voted on by August 31. I and many other bloggers, geologists, biologists, mineral collectors, and teachers have objected to the bill (see here for my posts on the subject, and the Silver Fox compilation of media reports). There are many important reasons to oppose the bill, and the problem at this juncture is that the Assembly members simply do not have the time to hear and consider what we have to say. They must act on 300 bills in the next two weeks. This is no way to pass smart legislation.

Assemblyman Ted Lieu is the floor manager for SB624 (His website and contact information are here). I am calling on Assemblyman Lieu to please consider withdrawing his sponsorship of this bill. There has not been a full discussion in the Assembly of the possible problems with this bill, and opponents have not had the time or opportunity to express our views. Only one witness spoke at the assembly hearing on the bill, and the opponents (there are many) are not listed in the Assembly analysis of the bill. It is a matter of fairness. Removing a valid state symbol is a serious issue, and should not happen at the behest of a single constituency without a full hearing of all of those concerned.

I have offered an alternative approach that would meet the goals of both sides of the issue of serpentine as a state rock. Our Assembly people need to know that such alternatives exist, but they won't hear anything in the crush of legislative battles taking place this month in Sacramento. Please contact Assemblyman Lieu today.

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