“HELLO? I need to testify on the bill that’s being considered RIGHT NOW!”
CLICK. The ATT operator controlling calls into the committee for testimony hung up.
Is this any way to begin testimony in a California legislative committee regarding a bill that would give the Department of Justice authority to cherry pick who can have access to “gun violence” data for research?
No – but that’s exactly what happened Tuesday when GOC’s Executive Director Sam Paredes attempted to speak in opposition to AB 1237 by Assemblyman Ting. If this were the first time he was disconnected while being “in the queue” to testify, it wouldn’t raise so many concerns, but this is the third time GOC has been shut down during remote – yet critical, legislative testimony.
Obviously, COVID has wreaked havoc on everyone, and the Legislature is no exception. How they have responded to the pandemic and public testimony, however, has been a wholesale failure as complaints have been rampant. Sure, growing pains are expected initially, but we are beginning year two of this crisis and one would have figured that California – who has a gross domestic product of $3.2 TRILLION as of 2019, and is THE LARGEST SUB-NATIONAL ECONOMY IN THE WORLD, not to mention being home to the Silicon Valley’s tech giants that we could have figured out something far better than what is now in place.
Currently, the public – and our GOC lobbyist – has a very limited ability to participate in committee hearings in person. The vast majority of testimony is remote and due to physical distancing restrictions, seating for hearings is minimal. Not only is in-person committee attendance strongly discouraged, but face-to-face meetings with members and staff are prohibited. This means for the past year, GOC has been forced to rely on a cumbersome and inefficient technology to get our point across to legislators. This makes things all the more challenging, especially since the environment at the Capitol is hostile to begin with.
Thus, what the future holds with respect to pounding those marble floors at the Capitol is unclear and uncertain. And while the Legislature may not be moving to “Plan B” GOC surely is. Legislative hearings and the anti-gun / anti-freedom bills being thrown at us by the Left are simply too important to rely on “press this button” to be heard. That’s why we are pledging to be first at the gate to be let in to testify. And, we may not be able to meet with folks inside the building, but we sure can meet outside the building. We want the powers-to-be to to see OUR faces, because that means they will be seeing YOUR faces. We pledge that we will not let the pandemic – nor an openly antagonistic legislature keep us from speaking up and speaking loudly.
To keep up-to-speed on all things legislative, click HERE for bill details, hearing notices and other resources. And while you’re at it, check out GOC’s “Field Agents” – a new program we’ve launched where you can help to spread the word. Be a part of the grassroots effort to ARM & INFORM 2nd Amendment supporting Californians HERE.