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September 27, 2002

For More Information, Contact:
Kristina Loquist at (650) 688-6384


SACRAMENTO – Winners of Assemblyman Joe Simitian’s (D-Palo Alto) “There Oughta Be a Law” Contest joined Simitian and Governor Gray Davis today in Sacramento as their bills were signed into law by the Governor.

Simitian recalled, “Last year my staff and I discussed how we could get the public more involved in the legislative process. Ultimately, I thought a contest would be a fun way to remind folks that our State government was supposed to work for them. It’s especially gratifying that all three bills that came from the contest were actually signed into law by the Governor.”

The three different bills authored by Simitian based on the contest winners’ proposals were:

  • AB 2472 – This bill was suggested by David Coale, Cindy Russell, and David Smernoff of Acterra, a Palo Alto based environmental group. It requires the State Department of General Services to implement a demonstration project designed to reduce the amount of pesticides and herbicides used on the Capitol Complex, which includes the State Capitol, its grounds and some surrounding buildings.
  • AB 2473 – This bill was suggested by Andrea Leiderman of Mountain View. It requires a business that declares bankruptcy to continue to accept gift certificates that were issued prior to the filing for bankruptcy.
  • AB 2474 – This bill was suggested by Lauren Ward of Cupertino. It requires that antifreeze sold in California contain a bittering agent to reduce the incidence of accidental poisonings of children, pets, and wildlife.

Leiderman, of Mountain View, praised Simitian’s contest as “a great example of democracy in action.  Last year I entered Assemblyman Simitian’s contest thinking I never had a chance of seeing my idea become law. Here we are less than a year later, and the Governor has signed my bill into law. It’s nice to know one person can still make a difference.”

“With all the talent in the 21st Assembly District, I knew we’d get several great ideas,” said Simitian. “The goal of the contest was always to let people know that they are an integral part of the process, and they can participate directly. I hope our track record this year helps people realize that government is a participatory endeavor – and that one member of the public can make a difference.”

Simitian is sponsoring his “There Oughta Be a Law” contest again this year. People interested in sharing an idea or bill proposal should visit his website for an entry form ( or call his office at (650) 688-6384.