July 13, 2024
California Wildfire Law Totally Unnecessary Another example of the California nanny state

California Wildfire Law

California Wildfire Law 

I read that last week our legislators in Sacramento passed Assembly Bill 969. It goes back to the Senate next week for concurrence, and if approved again, will go to Gov. Brown for his signature to become law in California.

This legislation which was prompted by our devastating wildfires, will require newly sold and installed electric garage door openers to have a battery backup.

From reading various news accounts of this legislation it seems that there were some people who were either unable or incapable of disengaging their garage door mechanism when the electricity went out and therefore could not evacuate their homes that were threatened by the fires.

None of the articles I read about this proposed legislation said that anyone was injured or died because they didn’t have a battery backup on their garage door. Yet, although well-intentioned, this legislation seems like more nanny state citizen control that is wrapped in a cloak of presumed citizen safety.

California Wildfire Law

California Wildfire Law

I think that if Sacramento is really concerned about people facing wild fire danger they could just issue a notice through the local papers or in utility bills telling people that it would be a good idea to have a battery backup on their garage door and or opening  their door prior to the possibility of electricity going out in the neighborhood.

I understand some people might not heed that advice, so why not make this legislation specific just to high wild fire areas instead of mandating it throughout the state?

If this legislation is signed by the Governor you can be assured that every homeowner in the state will have to pay more if they need to purchase a battery backup garage door opener (seems only garage door openers with battery backup will be available for purchase in California if this law passes) or to have one installed by a professional.

So what do you think, is legislation like this really needed? If it is needed, shouldn’t it be confined to high wild fire prone areas of the state? Do you believe, like me, this is just nanny state gone wild, that will end up costing every California homeowner more money?

California Wildfire LawCalifornia wildfire garage door battery backup

Let me be the devil’s advocate here for a moment, and say that I think this is good legislation to protect California citizens, but I don’t believe it’s gone far enough. Here are two ideas that Sacramento legislators might want to add to this bill:

#1. Any California resident who has any electronic medical device that requires power from the electric utility grid should be mandated to have a gasoline/or solar operated generator in case their utility power goes out. This backup electric generator should be required to operate for a minimum of 48 to 72 hours.

#2. Any California resident who is in a high wild fire danger area should be mandated to always have no less than a half of tank of gasoline in their car, or if it’s electric, a minimum of one half of full charge for their car battery. Any California residents in high wild fire danger areas who are pulled over for any vehicle infraction will now have the officer also check to ensure that they have sufficient gas or battery charge. If they do not meet the minimums, the first citation will be $150 and the second citation will be $350. The reason for these steep fines is because not being able to evacuate these high fire areas in their vehicles will not only endanger the specific residents involved, but, also endanger other residents who are trying to evacuate but are now hindered by out of fuel vehicles that would be blocking the narrow country roads.

Now, I’m well aware of the fact that I might get criticized for this second suggestion on checking that vehicles have sufficient fuel to evacuate wildfire areas because some may believe such legislation is arbitrary and capricious. Therefore, let me say that I would not be opposed, in the sake of fairness and equality, that instead of limiting the enforcement area, our always caring legislators in Sacramento should perhaps make this law effective statewide!


Informative video – The Science of Wildfires


California Wildfire Law