California Citizen Legislature Act (2010)

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A California Part-Time Legislature Initiative (09-0031) will not be on the November 2, 2010 state ballot. The petition drive deadline for the measure was March 29, and organizers did not turn in signatures by that date.

If the initiated constitutional amendment had qualified for the ballot and been approved by voters, it would have transformed the California State Legislature from full-time to part-time.[1]

Gabriella Holt was the measure's official proponent. The group "Citizens for California Reform" supported the measure.

The proposed initiative had these provisions:

  • The total amount of time the California State Legislature is in session each year would be reduced to no more than ninety-five days.
  • The legislature would convene in early January for up to thirty days and again in early May for up to sixty days.
  • The legislature would be allowed to reconvene for up to five additional days to reconsider bills vetoed by Governor.

The California legislature has been full-time since 1966, when voters passed Proposition 1A. California is one of only seven states with a full-time legislature.[2]

Details

Ballot title: Reduces Legislative Session and Pay by at Least 50%. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Official summary: Reduces the Legislature's regular session by more than 50% to no more than ninety-five days. Directs the Legislature to convene in January for up to thirty days and again in May for up to sixty days. Allows the Legislature to reconvene for up to five additional days to reconsider bills vetoed by the Governor. Requires that legislators’ salaries be cut by at least 50%, regardless of the amount of work legislators perform.

Estimated fiscal impact: Potential reduction in state costs of tens of millions of dollars per year, including over $5.7 million in reduced annual costs for legislator salaries. Actual reduction, if any, would depend on future actions of the Legislature and the Governor.

Supporters

Logo of Citizens for California Reform

Holt said her organization supported the proposed initiative because, "We're a very very different state and I think ideally you want to try to get in representatives who are truly representatives of the area they represent and that they're accessible to their constituents - that they can be a trusted citizen Legislature that lives and works under the rules they make."[2]

Opposition

John Laird, a former member of the California State Assembly from Santa Cruz, opposed the measure. Along with Dario Frommer and Bob Naylor, two other retired state representatives, he formed a political action committee called Californians for an Effective Legislature to organize against the part-time legislature idea.

According to Laird, ""This isn't a good reform. We are now the seventh largest economy in the world and we have a budget that, with all funds, is $130 billion. That's not a time to be part-time."[3]

Fiscal impact

The California Legislative Analyst's Office estimated the fiscal impact on state and local government as:

"Potential annual state savings of tens of millions of dollars. Actual savings would depend on future actions of the California Citizens Compensation Commission, the Legislature, and the Governor."

Path to the ballot

See also: California signature requirements

The petition was cleared for circulation with a deadline of March 29, 2010. 694,354 signatures were required to qualify it for the ballot.

External links

References