Don’t ask Brown for his opinion

first_imgOr, at least it was until Jerry Brown took office. Never one to do things the typical way, Brown – the state’s top cop and lawyer since January – admits he has basically forgone giving his personal opinion on pending laws, which he says is an optional task, though others argue is an important duty that should not be neglected. “I’m not taking positions, that’s very clear,” said Brown, who has spent much of his time focused on existing laws, especially those dealing with gangs and the environment. “I think we have so many laws now, that our plate is too full, as it is. “I’m more interested in a common-sense approach to the laws we have, rather than adding a whole slew of new ones.” The extent to which Brown’s decision has created problems is hard to assess because, truth is, most lawmakers and others involved in the process of producing new laws – at least those contacted for comment – were mostly unaware Brown wasn’t taking positions on bills. POLITICS: Attorney general ends tradition of offering analysis of pending legislation. By Steve Geissinger MEDIANEWS SACRAMENTO BUREAU SACRAMENTO – One of the traditional tasks performed by the state attorney general is to provide opinions on pending legislation. Not that they didn’t have their own opinions on his decision. “It’s not responsible for the attorney general of the state of California to renege on analyzing legislation,” said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a political scientist at USC. Brown’s office is continuing to provide, as required by law, formal opinions on various issues at the request of lawmakers. But Brown’s decision to cease taking positions on bills deprives those involved in lawmaking of what they call an essential day- to-day voice. The Attorney General’s Office has traditionally headed the list of supporters or opponents on bills concerning such issues as public safety and consumer protection. And legislative aides have routinely included the attorney general’s comments in analyses of bills. Brown’s immediate predecessor and now state treasurer, Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, said he considered taking positions on legislation “an important duty” of the office. Former Republican attorney general Dan Lungren, now a Sacramento-area congressman, said the office “has some of the best lawyers in the entire state and to deny their viewpoint from the legislative bodies is sad.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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