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October 26, 2011

For More Information, Contact:
William Leiter (916) 651-4011 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


SACRAMENTO – State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today that he will extend the deadline for his 11th and final “There Oughta Be A Law” contest, which each year invites Californians to submit ideas for new state legislation.  The new deadline is November 15, 2011.

“I’m gratified once again by how many people have taken the time to send in a proposal,” said Simitian, whose Senate tenure will be ended by term limits in 2012. “I’ve been holding Town Hall meetings over the last couple weeks and that has prompted a lot of interest. Since this is the last year, I wanted to make sure everyone has a chance to participate.”

The winner or winners will have their ideas introduced as legislation and 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 affect the lives of 38 million Californians.”

Since its inception, the contest has generated “proposals that are striking in their diversity,” said Simitian.  Eighteen of those ideas have been signed into law. They have included:
• A requirement that antifreeze contain a bittering agent so young children, pets and wildlife do not consume it and poison themselves;
• A driving safety rule that when windshield wipers are needed, headlights must be on;
• Outreach programs for veterans needing treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; 
• A revision to existing law that equalizes the rights of homeowners with trees and the rights of their neighbors whose solar panels might be shaded by those trees;
• Protections for the privacy of electronic records of library activity, such as computer use, in the same way that paper records have been shielded under existing law.

“‘There Oughta Be a Law’ enables people to be heard and to make a difference,” said Simitian.

To learn more about past “There Oughta Be A Law” ideas signed into law, visit

To enter the contest, visit Simitian’s Web site,, or request an application form by calling (650) 688-6384, (408) 277-9460 or (831) 425-0401.