Nanny State California’s Reckless Rules & Misguided Prohibitions

There was a time when living in Southern California was about as close to living in an earthly paradise as an American could get.

The weather is magnificent, with 302 days of sunshine per year compared to the national U.S. average of 205.

Here in Southern California, you can swim in the Pacific Ocean in the morning, ski or hike in the mountains in the afternoon, and walk in the desert at dusk. Few, if any, other places in the United States can offer such geographic versatility.

And if that wasn’t enough to bring you to the Golden State, there were a plethora of other attractions like Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Amusement Park, the world-renowned San Diego Zoo, the Cabazon Dinosaurs, Joshua Tree National Park, fabled Hollywood, and Catalina Island—to name a few.

That’s the good part of living in Southern California. As with any paradise, however, there are always those who want to destroy it.

In California, those people are called Democrats, and they control both houses of the state legislature in Sacramento and the governorship.

That’s called a political monopoly—or, in more severe terms, a totalitarian autocracy. As such, the Democrat autocrats have total power to inflict on those of us who just want to be left alone to enjoy the weather and the laid-back lifestyle of La La Land any number of new and onerous rules, regulations, and prohibitions.

For example, here’s what an anti-nanny state organization called “Reform California” says Democrats have banned in just this recent session of the state legislature:

  • Grass Lawns (AB 1572): This bill begins the outright ban on grass lawns in California by banning them for all commercial, retail, industrial, and governmental parcels and buildings. While there is no implementation date for single-family homes (for now), HOAs are also banned from having grass in common areas! This imposes an enormous cost for landscaping changes – and experts say it will backfire by negatively impacting air quality.
  • Plastic Cards (SB 728): Small businesses will be negatively impacted by this bill that imposes fines of up to $10,000 per day if a company uses pre-paid plastic gift cards! This virtue-signaling bill will not help the environment but will inconvenience small businesses and customers alike! Just so you know, the plastic bag ban from 2014 actually INCREASED plastic waste by replacing thin bags with heavy-duty bags for 10 cents a pop. Per capita bag waste went from 8 pounds to 11 pounds per person in 2021 in C.A.!
  • Food Bans (AB 418): Continuing their nanny state mindset, Democrat politicians have banned Skittles and all candies that use Red Dye No. 3 and other additives. The city of Perris banned stores from putting “junk food” in their checkout aisles – leading two major stores to announce they would shut down operations in that city. Up next: bans on sugary drinks to minors!

Then there are these new bans and restrictions that are either approved or proposed for approval by the nanny-state-loving Democrats in Sacramento.

  • Police K-9 dogs (because they are “racist”).
  • Solitary confinement in prison.
  • The sale of internal combustion engine-powered cars & trucks.
  • Gas-powered leaf blowers.
  • Saying the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. (Yes, SOME schools in California still allow students to speak those horrible words!)
  • Bacon (Wow! I predict a violent uprising if THIS passes).
  • Youth tackle football. (Because it is not safe. What sport is? Physical risk is part of any sport.)
  • Popcorn in movie theaters. (Are they kidding?)
  • Criminal background checks by employers and landlords. (I guess you must hire and rent to known serial killers or face the wrath of Democrats).
  • Peanut butter (some children are allergic, so it must be banned for everyone).
  • Smoking outside of restaurants and public buildings. (Looks like California is about to ban smoking everywhere).
  • Garbage disposals. (Let’s create mountains of garbage dumps instead).
  • Gas stoves and ovens. (Ha. I predict a revolt by thousands of narcissist chefs).
  • Gas washing machines and dryers: New mandates take effect in 2025, so get that old washboard ready!).
  • Window Air Conditioners that use the wrong coolant: New mandates take effect 2026. (Get used to the heat, folks).
  • Gas water heaters: New mandates will take effect in 2029.

What does the banning of gas appliances mean to the average Californian? Here’s what Reform California says is coming in totalitarian Marxist California:

  • IMMEDIATELY: All new homes and buildings will be prohibited from installing new natural gas appliances – not just stoves, but all appliances such as furnaces, ovens, water heaters, etc.
  • 2027-2035: Existing homeowners will be given a deadline to pay for expensive home retrofits to remove ALL of their existing gas appliances – all stoves, ovens, water heaters, and furnaces! The San Francisco Bay Area got hit with a 2027 deadline; San Diego announced 2033 is their target. Every week, a new region proposes a new deadline for costly retrofits!

What will these mandatory home retrofits cost the great unwashed masses in California? An average outlay of $30,000 or more per home! (YOU CAN READ THE FULL COST ESTIMATE HERE):

Is it any wonder that California’s population continues to shrink? Since 2020, more than 850,000 people have fled the state, heading to places like Texas, Idaho, Tennessee, and Florida, according to USA FACTS. For the seventh year in a row and since California became the 31st state in 1850, more people have left California than have moved in.

California has been steadily losing people to other states for years. From 2010 to 2020, 6.1 million people left for other states, and only 4.9 million arrived from different parts of the country, according to an analysis of census data by the Public Policy Institute of California.

It’s no mystery why this is happening. California has become the nation’s number one “Nanny State,” in which the authoritarian mandarins in Sacramento are intent on controlling every aspect of Californians’ lives.

There is also the high cost of housing (the average price of a single-family home is currently almost $800,000). Then, there are the ever-escalating taxes. California has the nation’s highest state income tax rate, the highest sales tax rate, the 9th highest corporate income tax rate, and the highest minimum corporate tax. It is the ONLY state where a corporation must pay a tax to the state, even if it does not make a single dollar of profit.

Then, there is the homeless problem. A recent study by the University of California, San Francisco, revealed that California is home to more than 171,000 homeless people. That’s 30% of the homeless population in the U.S. and half of all Americans who are unsheltered and living outside. The crisis has become a public health catastrophe in recent years as an aging population is forced to live in tents, cars, and other makeshift shelters, with thousands dying on the streets yearly.

California is considered the most unaffordable state for housing, where minimum-wage earners would have to work nearly 90 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

What about California’s public schools?

California scored 45th on “The Nation’s Report Card” for public school test scores, indicating significantly sub-par scores on Math and Reading and generally poorly educated students. The report card revealed that 44 percent of California’s K-12 students fall below the standard grade level in math proficiency, and 37 percent fall below the grade level in reading.

California’s public schools rank 40th out of 50 states in quality K-12 education. There was a time when California ranked near the top of that list.

So, for those of us who remain in California, it’s because of the great weather and little else. It certainly isn’t the opportunity to pay $5.18 for a gallon of gas (the current price at my local Costco) or to watch our grandchildren attend failing public schools.

Instead of focusing on reading, writing, and arithmetic, middle and high school children are forced to watch films featuring the “genderbread person,” who aims to show children how biological sex, “gender expression,” “sexual attraction,” and “gender identity” exist on a spectrum, which can be mixed and matched.

While kindergarteners are spared the “genderbread person” in their curriculum, they are offered similar lessons and films on “gender identity,” introducing genders other than “boy” and “girl.”

Kids forced to watch films in California schools aren’t just subjected to gender ideology and sexually explicit images. They’re given a left-wing background through which to see the world and then prompted to conduct social and political activism.

In California’s social justice curriculum, students must do a “privilege walk,” divulging personal information to compare themselves to peers inside and outside the classroom. “Privileges” include being “a cisgendered man,” “white,” “born in the United States,” “straight,” and speaking English as a first language.

To hell with the essential “Three R’s” of traditional education (“reading, riting, and rithmetic”). Marxist Critical Race Theory is what’s vital in California classrooms.

California public schools are saturated with teachers who were taught critical race theory at the University of California Schools of Education and teacher preparation programs, according to a recent study by, which monitors CRT curricula and training in higher education.

CRT is racial Marxism. It’s an educational philosophy that places race at the center of American history and culture—with whites viewed as oppressors and non-whites framed as the oppressed. No wonder California parents are in open revolt against California’s teachers unions and the state’s Department of Education.

Many parents already struggling with the high cost of living in California also see their children undergoing indoctrination with anti-American and Marxist political and social dogma.

But at least we live in the nation’s biggest nanny state, so buck up, folks.

This state introduces something like 2,000 new laws yearly promulgated by squawking Democrat evangelists. It conceivably has 200,000 or so health, safety, and environmental laws already on the books and appears ready to add thousands more.

But don’t be fooled by the benign appellation “nanny state.” There is nothing innocent about this assertive and determined nanny. The California nanny state is nothing less than the antecedent to a more expansive and grievous attack on individual choice, thought, and autonomy.

History shows that California is often the incubator of radical cultural, social, and political transformation for the rest of the nation.

As the Romans used to say: “Caveat emptor!”


(Ronald E. Yates is a U.S. Army veteran, an author, a former Chicago Tribune foreign correspondent, and Professor and dean Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois.)

His website:

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