Go Moonbeam!

Jerry Brown


Gov. Brown vetoes ski helmet, phone fine bills

Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday smacked down what he called overbearing and expensive proposals for state regulations by vetoing bills that would require that kids wear helmets when on ski slopes and increase fines for people who talk on cell phones or text while driving.

The move came as lawmakers this week consider hundreds of bills before a Friday deadline. Brown took action on dozens of bills already approved by the Legislature, including signing measures requiring greater transparency in the California State University and UC systems and allowing landlords to bar renters from smoking in their units starting next year.

But the vetoes showed that the governor may be setting a high bar for new state mandates.

In his veto message accompanying the helmet bill, SB105 introduced by Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, Brown appeared to side with GOP critics who had characterized the measure as “nanny government.”

Brown, a Democrat, wrote, “While I appreciate the value of wearing a ski helmet, I am concerned about the continuing and seemingly inexorable transfer of authority from parents to the state. Not every human problem deserves a law.”


I was working for a major retailer when California enacted a helmet law for kids riding bicycles. It took effect on January 1, 2004. That Christmas (1993) we sold thousands of bike helmets. Guess who was the driving force behind the law? Parents groups? Pediatricians? Nah.

Bike helmet manufacturers.

I’m a libertarian-lefty. I don’t believe in the nanny state. Well, I believe the concept exists, I just don’t agree with it. The world is a dangerous place and we can’t make it risk-free.

Increasing fines won’t have much effect on cell phone behavior, it will just generate more revenue for the government. As for the smoking law, other than keeping cleaning deposits how do you enforce it? (People have been known to lie on rental applications)


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17 Responses to Go Moonbeam!

  1. votermom says:

    A Dem with common-sense! Yay!

  2. myiq2xu says:

    I was looking up some statistics and I found this:

    A motoring breakdown organization has sponsored an initiative by the Bicycle Helmet Initiative Trust which supports legislation, reporting that “in 2009/10 nearly 6,000 young cyclists were admitted to hospitals and of these 40% had suffered head injuries. Around 83% of young cyclists suffering head injuries were not involved in a collision with another vehicle but merely hit their head after falling from the cycle. It is, therefore, clear that cycle helmets could not only save life and limb but could prevent a huge drain on our hospital resources.”

    3000 kids a year get injuries while riding bikes. 1200 get head injuries. Millions of kids ride bikes.

    • KC says:

      Obviously a huuuuge problem that our government needs to solve…

    • Not involved in a collision? And how many fell off avoiding a collision, or jumping a curb or something — because the damn helmet kept them from seeing till it was too late, or was a distraction?

      Imo helmets (and drivers’ seatbelts) should be optional for the driver. Better to trust each driver to know what will make him more likely to HAVE an accident.

      • crawdad says:

        How many kids got hurt running? Climbing? Playing soccer, baseball. football, etc, etc.?

        Maybe we should make them all wear full body armor from birth to their 18th birthdays.

  3. ralphb says:

    It’s really nice seeing a Democrat do something you can cheer about.

  4. Karma says:

    CA received a lot of grief for voting Moonbeam in again but he earned those votes. I have yet to read anything he has done that isn’t pragmatic. Wish more Dems would follow his example.

  5. insanelysane says:

    Stupid should kill. Clean out the gene pool. That’s why I am against the Nanny State.

    Northern CA loves our Governor. Pragmatist for sure. There is just too little of that in government.
    I would work to get Gov Brown elected to POTUS.

    He would kick DC butt.

  6. imustprotest says:

    Yay Jerry!!!

  7. yttik says:

    We have a helmet law for everybody where I live. I think kids might even wear less helmets today then they used to. One problem is that kids often do things simply because there’s a law against it. Today it seems like all we’ve done is given kids the extra thrill of breaking the law and living dangerously.

    Also, I live in bike heaven and we’ve created monsters, bike nazis we call them, aggressive bikers. We’re just starting to do studies about the effect of helmets on giving you a false sense of security. They’re great if you’re going to fall on your head, like I often do, but if a helmet means “I’m safe so I can take more risks and weave in and out of traffic,” it’s a problem.

    • lisadawn82 says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your bike nazi’s. I know that if I hadn’t have wearing a helmet when I crashed from hitting a pot hole I’d either be dead or have major brain damage. I went over the handle bars and slide on my head and shoulder along the ground for five or six feet. My worst injury was a hyperextended elbow. Thank god for helmets.

  8. Nanny state exists in the Bay Area, at least when I was living there, rules for everything. I think bike helmets and ski helmets are important for kids, but not sure it should be the law. I do think there should be fines for texting or cell phoning without headset while driving.

    • Valhalla says:

      I’m for helmuts for kids (well, everybody) because I had a friend in college who got swiped by a driver and would have most likely died without her helmut. Kids are basically stupid about things like that (many adults aren’t so bright, either) and bikes compete with cars on the roads. For skiing — I’m not sure I get that. Have there been a lot of skiiing-related head injuries in kids lately or something?

      For cell phones, even hands-free doesn’t really help because studies have shown that people on their cells drive worse (on average) than drunk drivers. It’s not the holding the phone that’s the problem, it’s splitting one’s attention. I wouldn’t mind extra penalties if you’re in an accident and it turns out you were on your phone at the time. I’ve had so many near-misses with people who were yakking on their phones, it drives me crazy, so it’s hard for me to recommend anything less than capital punishment.

      And this says nothing about the ratios, but that article above is from the UK. I’d be amazed if there were only 6k bike accidents involving kids in the US in a year.

      • One of the risks on crowded ski slopes is runaway skis when someone falls. These skis can pick up speed and do some real damage if they hit someone else, especially small kids. Most skis these days have built-in braking devices. Even more dangerous are runaway snowboards, though I believe you’re supposed to wear leashes for them.

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