So what are legislators actually doing?
Debating whether to change the state rock.
Sounds like they're stoned.
I didn't even know we had a state rock, but it's called the serpentine. I would've thought a gold nugget might be more appropriate. However, the Sacramento Bee reports that a bill seeks to strip the serpentine of its vaunted title. Why? The law's wording may help trial lawyers.
Bee columnist Dan Walters writes that Senate Bill 624 declares that serpentine contains "the deadly mineral chrysotile abestos, a known carcinogen, exposure to which increases the risk of the cancer mesothelioma (and) California has the highest rates of mesotheliona deaths in the nation." Walters says putting a phrase like that into a state law could help those suing for exposure to serpentine. What's more, Walters reports that state Senator Gloria Romero's bill was originally about composting, but she quietly changed its contents after bringing it to the Senate. Serpentine, indeed.
When geologists heard about the bill, they began hurling some verbal stones. "One form of asbestos can sometimes be found in serpentine, they said, but does not pose a cancer threat," writes Walters. Sen. Romero eventually removed the offending language, but she has not stopped her efforts to change rocks.
Hey, excuse me, but we have a $19 billion deficit! Can we get a little action on that? Scary. Halloween-scary. Perhaps if the same attention could be paid to the state's financial crisis, Californians wouldn't feel like Charlie Brown after trick or treating: "I got a rock."
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