The Law Lives

Away from the Capitol, it’s difficult to understand the necessity of such a plethora of bills. It seems as though California has an incredible amount of law and regulation. So why pass so much legislation each week?

On Monday, June 29, I found the answer. Like almost every Monday afternoon, I attended the Assembly Committee on Transportation. When SB 344 came before the Committee, I watched as two grief stricken parents testified to the committee about how their son, Daniel, was tragically killed when a truck driver lost control of his vehicle and hit Daniel’s car. The bill would require an individual to complete a course of instruction through the DMV in order to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Daniel’s parents, and the author, Senator Monning, felt as though increased training would help prevent future tragedies.

The Committee spoke in regard to how difficult it would be to “receive that call,” referring to the news that their son had been killed. When discussion ceased, the Chair, Assemblyman Frazier, moved to call a vote. But first, he paused and allowed the entire committee room to fall silent. The Assemblyman choked, before finally saying that he too knows what it feels like to “receive that call.”

What was impressed upon me that day, and throughout my internship, is that the law is living. It evolves and adjusts to the changing needs of constituents. While thankfully not every piece of legislation stems from stories such as Daniel’s, the law is constantly changing to better serve our state.

Kerida Moates is a UC Berkeley junior studying political science. She is interning in the office of Assemblymember Catherine Baker as a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow.