Think of it as the biannual celebration in Sacramento of cognitive dissonance. Politically speaking, that is.
The pomp and circumstance of a new session of the California Legislature always leave one with a sense of hope and optimism. Hugs and high-fives were everywhere on Monday afternoon in the ornate chambers of the state Assembly and Senate. New and familiar faces, a sense of starting fresh, and pledges of working together for the good of all Californians.
"Even though we have different experiences and backgrounds, there is also so much that binds us together," said Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) in her welcoming remarks to the 80 members of the lower house and the standing-room-only crush of family and friends on the Assembly floor.
And yet, that sense of conflicting thoughts and feelings -- the cognitive dissonance of it all -- was also on display via the bills and issues being bandied about by Monday afternoon.
From the political right came a new fight against the 2015 expansion of California's climate change law. Criticizing what he called "one gigantic slush fund," state Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Roseville) introduced a bill Monday to suspend the law's expansion into a cap on carbon emissions from fuel production -- what he and other critics call a "gas tax" that could boost the per-gallon price at the pump.