Tea party lawmaker's agenda suffers another blow
The outspoken Republican from San Bernardino was elected to the Legislature two years ago on a pledge to rein in regulations and shrink the bureaucracy that he said was strangling the state's economy. So far, his signature initiatives -- importing Arizona's controversial immigration law to California and rolling back state financial aid to undocumented students -- have failed.
On Monday, he returned to the Capitol from the spring recess with a more modest goal: streamlining smog checks.
Under current law, most car owners must get a smog check every two years, receiving a certificate that is considered valid for 90 days. If owners want to sell or transfer a vehicle outside that 90-day window, they must obtain a new smog certificate for the buyer. Donnelly's bill, AB 1613, would eliminate that requirement, extending the certificate until the car's next scheduled inspection.
He pitched it to the Assembly Transportation Committee as a common-sense measure that would save Californians time and money while maintaining environmental protections. Donnelly, who often rails against the California Air Resources Board, tried to appeal to his Democratic colleagues.
"I'm in favor of the smog program," the conservative lawmaker said, "and that's a big step for me."
Democrats were not convinced. They cited concerns about weakening the state's smog check program and harming air quality.
The bill died, 3 to 8.
Donnelly vowed to try again, asking the committee to reconsider the measure at a later date.
--Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento
Photo: Tim Donnelly in his Sacramento office. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times