Skip to content

March 6, 2002

For More Information, Contact:
Kristina Loquist at (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO – Assemblyman Joe Simitian announced today that there are three winners in his “There Oughta Be A Law” contest. Simitian sponsored the contest last fall to solicit ideas for new legislation. Nearly 100 people entered the contest. The winning legislative ideas covered diverse issues including consumer rights, environmental protection and public health. 

“So many worthy entries came in that I couldn’t pick just one,” Simitian said. “In the end, I chose three winners whose legislative ideas will help to protect consumers, the environment, and the public’s health and safety.  These are all significant bills and I look forward to working with the winners to get them to the Governor for his signature.”

The winners and their proposed laws are:

  • AB 2472:  David Coale, Cindy Russell, and David Smernoff of Acterra, Palo Alto, regarding least toxic alternatives to pesticides and herbicides. This bill is intended to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals used by the State and promote employee and public health and safety. AB 2472 will establish a state policy to use least toxic alternatives to pesticides and herbicides, when feasible, for state-owned and state-controlled facilities (e.g., office buildings, parks, and roadways). This idea was based on Acterra’s prior work on this issue at the local level.
  • AB 2473:  Andrea Leiderman, Mountain View, regarding consumer protection. This bill will require a store or restaurant that declares bankruptcy to honor gift certificates that have been issued. Currently, the law is silent with respect to this issue, so it’s up to an individual company to determine whether they want to continue to honor gift certificates after declaring bankruptcy.  This idea was based on Ms. Leiderman’s personal experience.
  • AB 2474:  Lauren P. Ward, Cupertino, regarding antifreeze. This bill will require manufacturers of antifreeze sold in California to add a bittering agent to help prevent accidental poisonings of children, pets, and wildlife. Currently, antifreeze has a sweet taste that can lead to unintended poisonings and even death. At a cost of just a few pennies per container, we can reduce the likelihood that parents and pet owners will have to continue to face the gruesome results of accidental poisonings that result when kids and animals ingest antifreeze. This idea was based on Ms. Ward’s personal experience.

“While the title of the contest was admittedly light-hearted,” Simitian noted, “the notion of individual citizens having access to the legislative process is one I take quite seriously. Keeping the door open so thoughtful individuals can share constructive ideas is a way to keep our democracy strong.”

There Oughta Be A Law contestants were asked to explain what their bill would do, the need for the bill, any financial impacts, and probable support and opposition. Entrants were encouraged to provide background materials such as studies, articles, or personal experience. Each entry was then researched to determine feasibility and whether it might duplicate or conflict with existing laws.

Simitian said, “Some of the best ideas for new legislation I hear come directly from folks who live and work in the 21st Assembly District. While the contest has ended, I hope people will continue to share their thoughts.”

“My goal in sponsoring the contest was not just to generate a few worthy ideas, but to remind the public that the process belongs to them. And,” continued Simitian, “I want to thank all the entrants for their thoughtful suggestions. We had many more fine ideas that simply weren’t affordable or politically feasible, but nonetheless had merit.”

Winners are invited to Sacramento to testify on the need for the law they’ve proposed and have lunch with Simitian. They will also receive a California State flag that has been flown over the State Capitol.