High school students looking to sleep a bit later on school days will have to rely on their local school board to make a change in the starting time.
Gov. Brown vetoed a bill that would have mandated middle and high schools start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. to allow students more sleep time. The governor’s rationale was sound: schools are a local function and the locally elected school trustees should make these decisions. The governor taps into this rationale when it’s convenient and then ignores local control in other situations. Think of the horrible bill he signed that gives BART free rein to build high density housing on its station sites.
Proponents of the sleep-later bill had strong, science-based arguments about teen-agers and how their bodies work. I have long felt that schools were operated for the convenience of the adults and it’s up to the students to adjust. The rationale remains—if trustees and administrators are serious about putting kids and education first, local school boards should engage around this discussion.
The governor could not resist tying into the MeToo Movement by signing a bill that mandates publicly held companies in California have women on their boards of directors. Just why state government should be imposing additional regulation on private companies that are answerable to their shareholders is an important question.
Proponents argued that boards are too often filled with “good old boys” and need more diversity. Certainly, qualified women can add different perspective (think of Meg Whitman who has run both eBay and HP), but it should be the company that decides, not a Legislature that’s loaded with politicians with precious little private sector experience.
Congressman Mark DeSaulnier knows first-hand how large public works project can soar in cost and time.
He chaired the California State Senate Transportation Committee when the new Bay Bridge project skyrocketed in cost from $2 billion to almost $6.5 billion and took two decades to complete, 10 years longer than originally planned.
He’s introduced a bill in Congress (HR 6592) that would establish an independent peer review group to assess quality assurance, cost containment and risk management on federal highway and transportation projects budgeted at more than $2.5 billion. Project proponents would have to develop a risk management plan detailing how it plans to overcome the potential pitfalls.
The bill targets projects such as the Big Dig in Boston, the I-265 bridge between Kentucky and Indiana and Denver International Airport that soared way over budget and were delivered years late. It’s a worthy attempt to rein in the budget and time overruns by demanding careful planning before projects launch.
Given the political divide in Washington D.C., it’s unlikely that this moves anywhere until after the mid-terms next month, but it’s a bill that deserves serious bipartisan consideration once Congress strives to get back to business as usual.
Of course, that will depend on just what happens come November. If one or both chambers flip Democrat, the business will be about derailing the president and little else.