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Sometimes California lawmakers focus on the little things, crafting locally-tailored legislation known in Sacramento parlance as a "district bill."

But it would be difficult to find a more specifically-aimed bill than Senate Bill 124 by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, intended for a single monk.

Abbot Archimandrite Theodor Micka, the founder of the Holy Cross Monastery in Alameda County, is gravely ill and nearing the end of his life. But burial permitting requirements make it difficult for Micka to be laid to rest beneath the grounds of the monastery that is the physical manifestation of his life's work.

"There's no where else he wants to be," said Father Stephen Scott, who helped Micka raise the monastery. "It's just where he feels God planted him, and he wants to be buried here."

So they sought the help of some Stanford Law students. The students reached out to Corbett, whose district includes the monastery.

Employing a common bill transforming technique known as gut-and-amend, Corbett slipped language allowing for Micka's swift burial into legislation about clean energy contracts that has already been voted out of the Senate and is ascending through the Assembly.

"A compelling request has been made of me and I feel it's my duty to bring this forward for my constituents," Corbett said, pointing out the Legislature offered a similar exemption for the 2005 burial of a Fresno County spiritual leader. "Under the circumstances, because of his failing health it's important that this move quickly and we're able to grant his request."

PHOTO: Abbot Micka (far left) on July 4, 2009. Image by Popadia Lisa Butrie, courtesy of Father Stephen Scott.


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