The race to win the Most Dysfunctional State Legislature has California and New York running neck and neck.  New York has taken the petty partisan approach, with the two political parties attempting to grab control of the Senate, which resulted in Democrats refusing to stand for the Republican-led Pledge of Allegiance last week.  California, though, jumped out in front by debating cow tails while the state went bankrupt, and today extend their lead by focusing on an apology to Chinese workers of the 19th century:

Assembly Concurrent Resolution 42 calls for an apology for forcing the Chinese to pay higher taxes on gold than whites; barring them from holding certain jobs, owning property or testifying in trials; and segregating them and forbidding them from marrying whites or bringing family from China.

California politicians, the authors also note, were instrumental in persuading Congress to pass the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which barred more Chinese immigration.

“It’s a shameful chapter in California legislative history,” said Fong, D-Cupertino, who is of Chinese descent. …

They’ve received some criticism, mostly anonymous Web site postings, for pursuing a symbolic act while the state is mired in a budget crisis.

I don’t think anyone doubts that Chinese migrant workers were badly treated by California in the late 1800s.  However, bankruptcy is an equally shameful chapter in California’s history, and one that the current legislature should be addressing.  With creditors about to reduce California debt to junk-bond status, making it even more expensive for Californians to meet their obligations, symbolic acts are even less relevant than cow tails.  At least that addressed something that happened in the past 40 years, if rarely.

Their constituents should demand an apology for the disastrous leadership its political class has shown over the past year, rather than worry about what happened more than a century ago.  Obviously, though, the current set of lawmakers would do anything to avoid dealing with the consequences of their own failures.