Local legislators discuss reform at roundtable | TheUnion.com

Local legislators discuss reform at roundtable

State Assemblyman Brian Dahle, right, speaks at a roundtable with Congressman Doug LaMalfa, center, and State Senator Ted Gaines at the Elks Lodge Tuesday evening.
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

Federal and state legislators representing Nevada County emphasized accountability and reform at a Tuesday roundtable, touching on subjects ranging from legal marijuana to increasing American exports.

U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, as well as state Sen. Ted Gaines and state Assemblyman Brian Dahle, fielded questions at a Chamber of Commerce-sponsored event held at the downtown Grass Valley Elks Lodge.

The questions focused mainly on business-related issues, branching into how Obamacare and the specter of legalized pot could affect the community.

All three lawmakers opposed legal pot, though they acknowledged it will likely reach the voters in a statewide ballot measure.

“I don’t think it brings a positive value to the community,” LaMalfa said.

Gaines, who said he was philosophically opposed to legal marijuana, said he’s concerned about environmental impacts pot can have.

He also worries about possible traps growers might place in their crops.

Answering a question about burdensome federal regulations, Dahle said private industry wants government to remove restrictions and allow businesses to create jobs. A business owner, Dahle noted that both regulations and big business are hurtful to small business.

Gaines claimed some businesses have shut their doors because they couldn’t afford to comply with certain regulations.

At the same time some industry is leaving the state because of California’s strict rules.

“We aren’t holding bureaucracies accountable,” Gaines added.

One of those bureaucracies is the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

LaMalfa said the law’s original intent, helping those with low income get health care, was positive. However, the law changed and became inefficient. Some people now prefer to pay the penalty instead of opting into Obamacare.

“Most people, before this happened, were reasonably happy with their health care,” LaMalfa said.

Dahle said the situation would remain “horrible for a long time.”

“That’s what happens when government gets involved in the free market system,” he added.

Answering a question before the forum began about the Speaker of the House, LaMalfa noted that Speaker John Boehner would remain in power until a new representative is tapped for the job.

LaMalfa, who supported Kevin McCarthy for the spot, said he hasn’t chosen another candidate, though he would support Paul Ryan for the position, if he ran.

“He would be a clear candidate that I would support,” he added.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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