Tom Harman (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-A Republican California senator and candidate for state attorney general pressed Democrats Tuesday to advance a bill that would force lawmakers to consider the economic effects of bills.

State Sen. Tom Harman of Huntington Beach has introduced a measure that would require an economic impact analysis for bills considered by the state Legislature. The proposal -- outlined in Senate Bill 954 -- will be considered Wednesday by the Senate Rules Committee, chaired by Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

"Democrats have said they are serious about keeping jobs in California," Harman told Legal Newsline. "The ball is in their court on this one. They control the Legislature. If they are not just giving lip-service to improving California's job market, they will let this bill move forward."

Harman and his Republican colleagues proposed a package of job-protection bills. All but Harman's proposal have been either rejected or delayed by the Democratic-controlled chamber.

Harman's Jobs Protection Act would require that legislation that would cost businesses to be analyzed by the existing six-member bipartisan Joint Committee on Boards, Commissions and Consumer Protections.

Under the plan, the panel of state lawmakers would determine the per-business cost of bills. Proposals estimated to cost small businesses at least $10,000 each or cost larger businesses at least $50,000 each would be delayed so lawmakers could consider them separately.

"The bill is sound, makes sense and is a good first step," Harman said.

Decrying the state's poor business climate, Harman has said that one of every six American employers that closed permanently in 2008 was in the Golden State, and by the end of 2008 there were almost 47,000 fewer businesses in California than in 2007.

In addition to Harman, other Republicans vying to become California's next attorney general are former law school dean John Eastman and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

On the Democratic side is Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico of Newark, Assemblyman Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Chris Kelly, chief privacy officer for the Web site Facebook.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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