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Brown: "Clutter" of Legislation Produces "Bureaucracy and Inertia"

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown chats with state lawmakers after his 2012 State of the State address.

CPR file photo/Andrew Nixon

Asked about his top legislative priorities in an interview Tuesday evening with Capital Public Radio, Brown says he’s always trying to avoid more rules, more laws, more “clutter.”

“Montaigne once said, laws should be rare – and if you have to have them, they should be highly abstract,” the governor said.  “Whereas the rule seems to be, not just in California but in many places in America, the more rules, the more minute the prescription, the better.  And that leads to bureaucracy and inertia.”

Yet so far this year, Brown has signed all but four of the more than 130 bills to cross his desk.  His veto rate the previous two years was 13 percent – half of former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 26 percent.

Brown listed three “big ideas” he’s focusing on right now – combating climate change, securing a stable water supply and dealing with the state’s prison system.

Editor's Note: During the interview, Brown also discussed his governing philosophy and how it’s changed from when he first served as governor nearly 40 years ago. Listen Thursday during Morning Edition for Capital Public Radio's story exploring that change and how it's made him more effective this time around.

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Ben Adler

Capitol Bureau Chief

Capitol Bureau Chief Ben Adler first became a public radio listener in the car on his way to preschool – though not necessarily by choice. Now, he leads Capital Public Radio’s state Capitol coverage, which airs on NPR stations across California.  Read Full Bio