It’s not a secret that California is fiscally challenged, with the legislature locked in partisan battles and unable to compromise on a budget.
California [began] a new budget year … without a spending plan in place and with no agreement imminent between state legislators and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on how to close a $19.1-billion deficit.
State employees and others who depend on government money were bracing for the possible fallout … Community colleges and vendors that do business with the state are on edge, their payments in jeopardy because of the budget delay.
So it’s nice to know that they can still get the really important things done. Like stripping Serpentine, the State Rock of it’s rights.
The bill to defrock the [state] rock — which recently passed the full State Senate and is awaiting a vote in the Assembly — is sponsored by Senator Gloria Romero, a Los Angeles Democrat, with the strong support of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.
Declaring that serpentine “has known health effects,” the bill would leave California … without an official rock. Asbestos occurs naturally in many minerals, and indeed some serpentine rocks do serve as a host for chrysotile, a form of asbestos. But geologists say chrysotile … would be a danger — like scores of other rocks — only if a person were to breathe its dust repeatedly.
“There is no way anyone is going to get bothered by casual exposure to that kind of rock,” said Malcolm Ross, a geologist who retired from the United States Geological Survey in 1995. “Unless they were breaking it up with a sledgehammer year after year.”
It could be worse. They might have passed a law requiring that any officer engaged in a lawful stop, detention or arrest should, when practicable, ask whether that person is carrying a serpentine rock, when a reasonable suspicion exists that the person is in the U.S. illegally.
But that would be rock profiling, which might be going too far.