By CAMILLE GIGLIO
December 28, 2010 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - The Contra Costa Times, a member of California's Bay Area News Group, recently published a series of commendable articles on the state legislators' questionable use of lobbyists and special interest organizations to write self-serving legislation.
However this type of legislation is only a part of a corrupt process.
A large portion of this special interest legislation is but a mirror image of federal legislation. All the stimulus money, grant money and foundation funding written into federal legislation and directed toward assistance to the states requires the states to provide authorization, in the form of bills, legitimizing federal intervention is health, education, environmental and workforce development within a state. One 27 page federal bill, such as the Food Safety Legislation (which was an amalgam of about 10 other federal bills) can end up being reflected in 27 different state bills.
Basically the same activity of allowing special interests to write the state legislation is also occurring at the federal level.
As an example, states may be reluctant to take on the requested federal programs because it means extra work and expense at the state level. However, if the feds dangle enough stimulus money in front of a financially hungry state it will be better disposed to invite in the federal management. What starts out as a request from the feds becomes a mandate to implement once the state accepts the funding.
In some cases the state must first prove it is willing to implement the federal program by first passing the legislation before actually getting the federal funding.
As an example, an Associated Press article written by Don Thompson, 9/30/2010, was published in the online www.signonsandiego.com entitled, "Schwarzenegger acts on health care, foster care."
The first paragraph declares, "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger made California the first state to create an insurance exchange under new federal health care reform as he ended the bill signing period Thursday by also approving bills addressing topics ranging from kindergarten to foster care."
Once the state takes the funding it is compelled to create programs specific to the legislation but also to comply with any other federal level legislation pertaining to the same activity.
Consider this press release by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, 10/26/2010, entitled, "HHS announces the availability of up to $335 million to boost access to primary health care."
"The Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion in funding over the next 5 years for the operation, expansion, and construction of health centers throughout the nation. Of the $11 billion, $9.5 billion is targeted to creating new health center sites in medically underserved areas and expanding preventive and primary health care services at existing health center sites. An additional $1.5 billion will support major construction and renovation projects at health centers nationwide. This expansion of sites and services will help community health centers serve nearly double the number of patients they do today, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay."
There are now, beginning with the 2011 legislative term, dozens of bills in the California legislature, setting up the programs, advisory groups, partnerships with community non-profits, etc., which will be required to run these programs and deliver the services required in the federal legislation. Several bills authorize expansion of health centers on school campuses including the presence of psychiatrists and psychologists to deliver mental health services to k-12 students. Other bills target the schools to establish school-to-work training of students who will be specifically trained to work in these federally mandated programs.
Did California parents demand this? Is this what we were being encouraged to lobby our legislators to obtain?
The recently passed federal Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 goes nowhere unless there are generous appropriations behind it enticing the states to take the money. As a result of taking the federal money, the state cedes some of its Tenth Amendment State's Rights authority to govern. But, first they must pass local legislation permitting all this to take effect. In order for this to take effect the lobbyists must sell the public on the need for this intervention. One of the ways they sell the public is through creating so-called newsworthy articles for the media describing all the thousands of hungry kids in the state even if some of those kids are wearing Air Jordan shoes or holding IPhones.
The creation of and successful passage of this Hunger Free Kids Act is worthy of note.
This act has led to the passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 which Obama just signed.
This bill, submitted in the early days of the 2009/2010 congressional term, started out as an automotive emissions bill, S.510 (there were also about 10 other bills with the same focus). They were all merged and quickly passed both houses of Congress and then sat for a year and a half. In late November, 2010, Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid [D, NV] submitted an amendment to the bill at the request of Sen. Harkin, which totally gutted the original language and substituted a draconian federal takeover of the food industry. It is known as Senate Amendment 4715. This was printed in the November 18, 2010, edition of the Senate Congressional Record.
This bill places enormous power into the hands of 3 federal agencies - FDA, Homeland Security and HHS, to monitor nearly every facet of agricultural and dairy production and manufacturing including expanded and stringent rules on what types of food can be used in school breakfasts and lunches, under the guise of security.
California, like several other states, is now beginning to consider legislation to lengthen school hours and days, provision of free school breakfasts, lunches, after school meals and the provision of material to parents to instruct the parents in proper nutrition for their children at home.
One segment of SA 4715 talks about not only supplying these meals, but requiring the children to eat the meals in their classrooms, not the cafeteria, because in the cafeteria there is less capability of monitoring whether or not the children eat the meals or take some of the food home.
You've undoubtedly come across articles decrying the thousands of California children who are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. Now enters Roger Phillips [12/26/10] with an emotionally appealing online article about students in Stockton and San Joaquin counties, who are living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods and for whom, "hunger remains an ever-present issue..."
Phillips quotes a kindergarten teacher as saying, "It's difficult to say exactly how many children arrive hungry...on a day-to-day basis, but one thing teachers know is that every child who is not getting enough to eat has an additional obstacle to learning." Another teacher is quoted as saying that she would like to start seeing a program of serving breakfast to students in their classrooms.
Who gets fed? Are we to assume that teachers have become omniscient, that they can determine who is and who isn't hungry, or are they just spouting public employee union talking points?
In a larger sense, have parents ceded all their rights to teachers?
Every state in the union that accepts federal funding must comply with federal mandates, overriding any interests of the state and the local administrations. Federal and state tax dollars are going to organizations which are then transformed into agents of the state, enforcing legislation that most citizens neither need nor want, assuming they are aware of it at all.
This process is destructive to the states in general and represents an insidious bypassing of the Tenth Amendment.
© 2010 Camille Giglio. All rights reserved.