Ever look at a problem and think, “there oughta be a law”?
People do it all the time. But
when they ask California Assemblyman Joe Simitian, sometimes, he gives out
One of this year’s winners was
Mary Lou Lyon of Cupertino, CA, whose idea – a bill that would require all
vehicles in California to use their headlights during bad weather – is just a
few short steps away from becoming law.
"Too many people
don't realize they can't be seen at low-light times,” Lyon, a retired Homestead
High School teacher, said in a written release. “If you have a gray car on a
gray day, you can't be seen. Not everyone is 20 years old with 20/20
Existing California law already requires all vehicles to be
equipped with headlights and to use them in darkness, with the exception of
However, Lyon’s suggestion, introduced by Simitian and now
contained in Assembly Bill 1854, would also require use during inclement
weather, which the bill defines as “a
weather condition rendering a driver's visibility from a motor vehicle
insufficient to clearly discern a person or another motor vehicle on the
highway at a distance of 1,000 feet.”
The contest also produced another
measure that hits near and dear to truckers’ hearts ‑ holding oil and gas
companies accountable for the prices they charge at the pump.
That suggestion, passed on
to Simitian from 17-year-old Woodside High School student Aaron Thomas Woolway,
is not headed through the General Assembly yet, but will likely be part of a
House Resolution that calls for hearings on fuel prices, according to a
statement from Simitian’s office.
Woolway was a student in
the government class led by teacher Sarah Bunkin. Bunkin assigned each of her
students to come up with a bill to submit to Simitian.
In a release from the
Assembly, Woolway said he wants the oil companies to explain how they arrive at
the price they charge motorists.
“I drive a lot, and I have
to pay for my own gas,” Woolway said. “On the East Coast and in the Midwest,
it's a lot cheaper.”
This is the third year that
Simitian, D-Palo Alto, has organized the contest, and this year, it brought in
a record number of entries. More than 230 entries were received. The ideas
offered by five past winners have become law in California.
- by Mark H. Reddig,
Mark Reddig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.