By Stevan Allen 

It’s that time again, when, for better or worse, California lawmakers begin introducing several thousand bills for the new legislative session. This is usually for the worse, as California legislators seemingly seek to micromanage every aspect of our lives.

But with a new session, one idea stands out as truly worthy of consideration as it has an obvious and universal benefit for the public: a uniform standard for charging for mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. 

I’ve been thinking about this for several years – every time, I need to hunt through boxes of old cords and charger, for some device or another. Or I forget mine but can’t use a friend’s or colleague’s charger because they are incompatible. 

There are not any consumer polls on this that I am aware of, but I would imagine this issue could unite Republicans and Democratic voters. The only opposition would be the tech industry – especially Apple. While I am an avid Apple user and pro-business Democrat who believes government should not meddle too much in the private sector, this one seems like a no-brainer. 

The European Union also thinks so, according to a CNN story from October 24:

“A landmark law requiring Apple and other electronics makers to adopt USB-C as a universal charging standard in the European Union has cleared its final procedural hurdle, after EU member states voted to approve the legislation on Monday. 

The new law, which is targeted at smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, portable speakers and a wide array of other small devices, is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. It aims to streamline the number of chargers and cables consumers must contend with when they purchase a new device, and to allow users to mix and match devices and chargers, even if they were produced by different manufacturers.”

To minimize impact, this will be phased in over several years. And Apple shouldn’t gripe. The company regularly changes its chargers so that many are incompatible with one another. I am a huge fan of Apple, but that is frustrating and unnecessary. 

Not only will this benefit consumers, but it should also help the environment by keeping mountains of electrical cords and chargers out of our landfills. California loves to lead the nation. On this one, let’s lead the United States by following the EU’s lead