Aspiring Politicians Visit Capitol

Natalie Li, News Editor

Youth and Government delegations from all over California convened at the State Capitol to model California legislation. This final conference, sponsored by the YMCA, was held in Sacramento from February 14-17.

According to senior Justin Archangel, this final conference represents the “culmination of work from previous conventions.” Committee meetings were held in actual Senate and Assembly chambers such as the California courts and Capitol buildings in order to simulate different court processes such as trial court, appellate court, and judicial review.

At this conference, students write bills and debate them in committees. If passed, the bills are reviewed by the general Senate and Assembly. If passed by both, they are then sent to the Youth Governor, the highest elected position in Youth and Government. He or she can then choose to veto or pass the bill.

Although the conference officially commenced on the 14th, several students arrived on site a day earlier.  Senior Laura de Crescenzo and juniors Mikaela Moore and Meredith Stone were appointed committee chairs, people who preside over Senate or Assembly groups. Senior Matthew Freeman was appointed by Youth Governor Spencer Perry to serve in the Governor’s Cabinet and senior Maddy Yzurdiaga was appointed to serve on judicial review.

For the first time in several years, according to de Crescenzo, this year’s legislative body managed to override the Youth Governor’s veto and pass a bill on conducting biomedical testing on prisoners.

In the past, several bills passed by Youth and Government have made it through various processes and have been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. One of these includes the Click it or Ticket Bill passed by California legislation in 2005, requiring drivers and passengers to buckle up or face a fine.

Archangel cites this experience as “some of the best to be had at school.” He said, “Everyone is passionate, inspiring, and wants to make a difference. It teaches how the government works and you have an amazing time.” de Crescenzo said, “My favorite part is getting to be part of an environment where the expectation is to be hardworking, informed, and well-prepared rather than the exception. Being in an environment of people like that causes the level of ability to actually affect positive change to be heightened and it really challenges you.”