Having a momentary and irrational longing for the chaos and excitement of lawmaking, I decided to head back to the halls of the Capitol for a visit this past week. I knew things would be running on overdrive as deadlines for bills to be heard would compete with the budget deadline to create an interesting stew of activity and craziness. Of course, I was not disappointed.
This is the time of year in Sacramento when the heat outside (it was well over 100 degrees) is matched by the heat and intensity of the debate inside over issues, dollars, priorities and values. Even with a budget surplus in the billions, Right-Wing politics reared its ugly head with the Republicans refusing to agree to any budget that included an extremely modest sum to make sure all California's children have access to health care. Arguing that perhaps a portion of that would be spent for undocumented children, this would be unacceptable and a deal breaker. In order to avoid an extended and unwanted budget stalemate, the $23 Million allocation was removed. Of course, the irony and illogic on this issue are profound. We all know that communicable diseases don't stop with a green card, citizenship,or other man-made distinction. Nonetheless, the right-wing saw this as an opportunity to rile up the base. The Dems decided there would be other ways to protect California's children in the weeks ahead, so the extremists were able to declare victory to take to the right-wing talk-shows that look at this as real red-meat for their ratings.