New laws are being enacted without state lawmakers thinking 'what could go wrong?'

Our legislators in Sacramento have been busy “helping us” again; they have passed—and Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed—several new laws that will impact people in Lompoc and everywhere else in the once Golden State. Some may have an adverse impact on traffic safety, others your pocketbook.

Two important changes go into effect in January that could have a serious impact on traffic safety. It’s already challenging to navigate crowded roadways, but these new laws will only add to pedestrians’ and car or truck drivers’ worries while traveling.

Existing law currently “prohibits pedestrians from entering roadways and crosswalks, except under specified circumstances. Under existing law, a violation of these provisions is an infraction.”

Assembly Bill 2147 will now “prohibit a peace officer, as defined, from stopping a pedestrian for specified traffic infractions unless a reasonably careful person would realize there is an immediate danger of collision with a moving vehicle or other device moving exclusively by human power.” (

We all know that we are required to yield to pedestrians at intersections even if there is no marked crosswalk. The current law, the one being changed, was enacted as a means of preventing injury accidents.

We don’t expect to have to watch out for jaywalkers in the middle of the block; now the jaywalkers appear to have the upper hand. Since police will no longer be able to keep folks from running out in traffic if they think they can beat passing cars, the number of injury/fatal accidents will increase.

Just a few days ago, a jaywalker was struck in a traffic lane on H Street (Highway 1) near Pine Street in Lompoc and seriously injured. Apparently, he/she thought it was OK to cross in traffic, but they guessed wrong.

Another is Assembly Bill 1909 the “bicycle omnibus bill”; this bill would additionally require a vehicle that is passing or overtaking a bicycle to “move over to an adjacent lane of traffic, as specified, if one is available, before passing or overtaking the bicycle.” Yet another thing to add to the list of things motor vehicle operators must contend with while trying to get from one place to another. (

Two other bills will impact the cost of your hamburgers and will do nothing to help service industry workers. Assembly Bill 257 is “to establish sector-wide minimum standards on wages, working hours, and other working conditions related to the health, safety, and welfare of, and supplying the necessary cost of proper living to, fast food restaurant workers, as well as effecting interagency coordination and prompt agency responses in this regard.”

In effect, government appointees will be imposing unionization of fast-food workers on corporations and individual franchise owners. You can be sure that the cost of your Happy Meal is going up.

Another is Senate Bill 3 which was passed in 2017; it provided for periodic increases in the minimum wage. Next week all employers will be required to pay $15.50 no matter how many people they employ. Expect to see new menus early next year; there won’t be any new items, just price increases.

Will either of these two actions by our elected officials help the workers? Just consider how the past increases impacted the cost of your burger; the employees who will be earning a couple of dollars more will be spending them to buy things that cost more because of increased labor costs. Businesses will react by changing the way they deliver services, such as changing from having servers take your order to making their restaurants self-serve, or self-checkout instead of having a checker to help you.

Politicians just don’t understand how some of their “helpful” lawmaking can impact your pocketbook; take it from someone who earned less than a dollar an hour when he was young and only paid 15 cents for a burger; now it’s more than $10 for an a la carte order (no fries and no drink). 

Every time the minimum wage is increased, the cost of everything you use goes up and the folks who work at these jobs can never get ahead. Keep that in mind the next time you vote for these fools; their minds can’t comprehend how the world works or what adverse impact their “help” will have—and you will suffer the consequences of their actions.

Ron Fink writes to the Sun from Lompoc. Send a letter for publication to [email protected].

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