Mike Gatto introduces bills to clamp down on voter initiatives

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December 21, 2010

Mike Gatto

SACRAMENTO, California: Democratic State Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced a handful of proposals to the California State Legislature that would put a variety of new roadblocks in the state's voter initiative process.

  • AB 65: "If the Legislative Analyst determines that an initiative measure on the ballot would have a fiscal impact on the General Fund for which additional revenues in an amount that meets or exceeds the net increase in costs are not provided, a statement be included in the ballot pamphlet that the initiative measure will have an impact on the state's General Fund, which will affect the ability of the Legislature to provide funding for enumerated General Fund purposes."
  • ACA 6: Initiatives that propose additional spending must identify a funding source.
  • ACA 9: Initiatives imposing a supermajority vote threshold must be approved by that same percentage.
  • ACA 10: Allow legislative tampering after four years.
  • ACA 11: Increase from 5% to 8% the percentage requirement for initiated state statutes.
  • ACA 12: Let the Legislature propose amendments to initiatives that qualify for the ballot.[1]

Gatto said, "I think there's a genuine attitude, from the people, that is making members of the Legislature pay attention who otherwise would not."[1]

At the same time that Assemblymember Gatto expressed his lack of confidence in the state's voters, a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California indicated that the state's voters have a lack of confidence in the California State Legislature.[2]

According to the PPIC poll:

  • 33% of voters in the state have either "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of trust and confidence "in the ability of the state's elected officials to craft public policy."
  • 44% said they trust voters to enact policy by voting on ballot measures.

PPIC president Mark Baldassare said, "The job that the voters have in making public policy at the ballot box is a very complicated one, and one that's become quite burdensome, but they value doing that because they hold the elected officials in such low esteem." Baldassare also said, "They feel that the initiative process gives them an opportunity to weigh in on public policy in an environment in which they have little trust and confidence in our representative democracy."[3]

See also