Originally Posted by SteelersinCA
Ever heard of MADD? They are responsible for the vast majority of law changes in the nation re: DUI. There is an equally strong argument that they have gone over the line.
Just because it is difficult to change a law does not mean the system is broke. If it were easy to change laws, laws would change all the time. You are right that a lot goes into a law being changed, enacted, repealed, whatever, and it should. You shouldn't be able to wake up one morning and say, I don't like this, let's change it. Most laws have been vetted substantially, so you are bound to meet some resistance. Likewise if you can't find a million people to sign on to your new law in a state the size of CA, maybe your proposal isn't that great. It should be a challenge to change to law and I have no qualms with it being that way.
Nor would I have a problem with it ... 10 or 15 years ago. However, at some point since then, it seems like the disconnect between the public and the legislative process has grown to the point where laws are basically created in a vacuum and the "substantial vetting" is mostly to make sure it won't cause the state to get sued by some disgruntled minority. Which usually happens anyway, the result being that half the time, the courts take it upon themselves to write the law unilaterally, in which case it's tailored to the small but vocal minority.
Then when people get upset that the legislative process isn't working, you get the ballot initiatives from the public trying to overrule the legislature, and of course half of them are poorly thought out themselves but pass anyway due to an overwhelming feeling of general resentment that the system isn't looking out for you, so you have to do it yourself. California in particular is really a great case study of a legislative system that has become broken and paralyzed with fear, complete with a public backlash that's equally broken in its own right.
There are really four parts to the problem in California -- the size of the state being unmanageable, so that one state legislator is theoretically supposed to represent a million people accurately and be receptive to them (good luck) ... which leads to money being ever more important to political achievement (further disconnecting the average person) ... the fact that, for some reason, this state now feels the need to legislate everything to death ... and finally, the increasing power of the litigious few to dictate the law for everyone else by basically abusing the legal system to hold the rest of us hostage.
The end result being that a lot of laws are made that aren't very good, and it's pretty hopeless to spend the effort to change one, because three new ones will spring up in its place. Your faith in the legislative system is really faith in a system that ceased to exist a number of years ago.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm pretty far removed from just talking about drunk driving by now.