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Flurry of Bill Introductions Begin as State Legislature Returns from Break

When the state legislature starts up again today, the flurry of bill introductions will begin. But how do lawmakers come up with ideas for potential new laws? From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara has some an

When the state legislature starts up again today, the flurry of bill introductions will begin. But how do lawmakers come up with ideas for potential new laws? From Sacramento, Jenny O'Mara has some answers.

Lawmakers get their ideas from all over-- professional lobbyists, non-profit groups and other special interests. Stories in the news also provide inspiration, as do academic journals, constituents-- even a legislator's Mother. Democratic Assemblywoman Sally Lieber says her Mom keeps up on the issues.

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Lieber: I would say she brings up a legislative idea to me at least once a day.

Lieber has acted on one of her Mom's ideas -- introducing legislation to require vaccinations for young girls targeting a sexually transmitted disease. Lieber says she collects ideas throughout the year. A wall in her office is covered with dozens of color-coded notes that represent potential bills and she seriously considers each one.

Lieber: As a legislator you have to think about do I want my name attached to this and am I really willing to fight for this?

Some legislators try to have a little fun garnering ideas for new laws. Democratic Assemblyman Mike Eng is sponsoring a contest-seeking ideas from his Los Angeles area constituents. Democratic Senator Joe Simitian has held similar contests over the last six years. He picks at least one proposal each year. Eleven have been signed into law. Eng says his contest winner's proposal will also be introduced in the legislature.

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Simitian: And I just thought why not formalize this and give them an opportunity to propose a law to a legislator like me.

But one person you won't see sponsoring a contest is Republican Assemblyman Roger Niello. He says that idea represents an ideological difference between his party and those on the other side of the aisle.

Niello: We are interested not in government growing. We are interested in government doing essential things and limiting itself to essential things.

Several hundred bills are usually introduced in the legislative session- in 2007 Governor Schwarzenegger signed 750 bills and vetoed more than 200.

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