California, increasingly known for its faults, has a major problem. Its politicians have rocks in their heads.
As the state teeters on the brink of insolvency, legislators are considering de-listing the mineral serpentine as the state rock.
Sponsored by State Senator Gloria Romero, a Democrat hailing from la la L.A., Senate Bill 624 would raise “awareness to protect the health of our citizens. Serpentine contains asbestos, a known carcinogen. Toxic materials have no place serving as emblems for the state.”
The trouble with this is that not all — or even most — samples of the mineral (or, more correctly, mineral group) contain asbestos. Geologists, when they learned about the bill, were all abuzz. What was the Senate up to when it voted to throw out the rock?
Dan Walters, writing in the Monterey Herald, has the answer: Litigation. If the state defines serpentine itself as asbestos-laden — not just those forms that sometimes contain the substance — then trial lawyers can sue more people for having the rocks on their property, etc. Predictably, the “language in the bill was provided by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, an anti-asbestos group whose major sponsors are law firms specializing in asbestos litigation.”
If California legislators toss out the state rock to aid lawyers in plundering others, maybe the state’s citizens can use the initiative to make the rock the official symbol of the California Legislature. But only those chrysotile forms that contain the dreaded silicate.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.