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September 22, 2011

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William Leiter (916) 651-4011, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


PALO ALTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) kicked off his 11th annual “There Oughta Be A Law” contest today. The contest invites Californians to submit ideas for state legislation. Finishing his second and final term in the state Senate next year, this will be the last time Simitian holds the contest.
“California continues to face major challenges,” said Simitian. “But experience tells me that especially in tough times, the public wants to make a difference. Our community wants to make government work, and they have good ideas for how to do it. The ‘There Oughta Be a Law’ contest is an invitation to roll up your sleeves and participate in that process.”
“Some of the best ideas I hear for new legislation come directly from folks in the community. If you’ve ever thought to yourself, ‘hey, there oughta be a law about that,’ now is your chance to be heard,” Simitian said.

Simitian said he welcomes proposals not only to add a law, but also to modify or even repeal one, as some winning entries have done in the past. In the ten years of the contest, 18 of the winning ideas have become law.

“I’m constantly impressed, though not surprised,” Simitian said, “by the number, quality, and variety of contest entries I receive each year. My district is home to some of the most well-educated and civically engaged Californians. It would be a shame not to put their good ideas to use.”

The winners of the contest will have their ideas introduced as legislation, and will have the opportunity to testify at a hearing on their bill in the State Capitol. They will also have lunch with Simitian and receive a California State flag that has flown over the Capitol. “But most importantly,” said Simitian, “winners stand a good chance of seeing their ideas become law for more than 38 million Californians.”
“It’s also important to note that even contest entries that aren’t chosen as winners still have an impact,” said Simitian. “I personally review every proposal, and in doing so, I learn a tremendous amount about a wide range of issues of concern to my constituents. That’s knowledge I carry with me every time I walk onto the Senate floor.”
Since Simitian began the contest in 2001, other legislators in California and around the country have adopted the idea, conducting their own “There Oughta Be a Law” contests.

To enter the contest, submit your idea on Simitian’s website at or request an entry form from Simitian’s district offices by calling (650) 688-6384, (408) 277-9460 or (831) 425-0401. The deadline for entries is Monday, October 31, 2011.