California "Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act" Initiative (2014)

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A California "Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act" Initiative (#13-0028) was approved for circulation in California as a contender for the November 4, 2014, ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment.[1]

The initiative would have:

  • Increased the size of the California State Legislature by almost 100-fold by dividing the current California State Assembly and California State Senate districts into neighborhood districts such that each Assemblymember represents about 5,000 persons and each Senator represents about 10,000 persons.
  • Provided for neighborhood district representatives to elect working committees the size of the current Assembly and Senate (i.e., 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators).
  • Gave working committees the legislative power generally, and sole power to amend bills, but require approval by appropriate vote of the full membership in each house for passage of any non-urgency bill.
  • Reduced the compensation of California state legislators.

Supporters of the initiative referred to it as the "Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act."

Text of measure

Ballot title:

Legislature Expansion. Legislative Process. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary:

"Increases size of Legislature almost 100-fold by dividing current Assembly and Senate districts into neighborhood districts such that each Assemblymember represents about 5,000 persons and each Senator represents about 10,000 persons. Provides for neighborhood district representatives to elect working committees the size of the current Assembly and Senate, 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators. Gives working committees the legislative power generally, and sole power to amend bills, but requires approval by appropriate vote of the full membership in each house for passage of any non-urgency bill. Reduces legislators' pay and expenditures."

Fiscal impact statement:

(Note: The fiscal impact statement for a California ballot initiative authorized for circulation is jointly prepared by the state's Legislative Analyst and its Director of Finance.)

"Decreased state spending on the Legislature of over $130 million annually. Increased county election costs, potentially in the range of tens of millions of dollars initially and significantly lower amounts annually thereafter."

Support

John Cox, who requested a title and summary for Initiative #130028, is a real estate mogul based in San Diego County. Cox chairs the Rescue California Foundation.[2]

Arguments in favor

Cox wanted to “[convert] campaigns for the Legislature from huge, mass-media efforts to little neighborhood efforts. You are taking money out of political campaigns by doing this… Frankly, politics is about selling to the highest bidder, on both sides.” He noted that by electing legislators from very small districts, candidates would have to spend more time attending community events and talking to voters and less money on advertisements.[2]

Path to the ballot

See also: Signature requirements for ballot measures in California
  • John Cox submitted a letter requesting a ballot title on October 24, 2013.
  • A ballot title and ballot summary were issued by the Attorney General of California's office on December 18, 2013.
  • 807,615 valid signatures were required for qualification purposes.
  • Supporters had until May 19, 2014, to collect and submit the required number of signatures, as petition circulators are given 150 days to circulate petitions.
  • The Secretary of State’s suggested signature filing deadline for the November 4, 2014, ballot was April 18, 2014. This means that if supporters had submitted enough valid signatures by May 19 but after April 18, the measure could have been pushed back as far as the next statewide general election, in November 2016.

External links

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References


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