Monday, July 20, 2009

California Part-Time Legislature Campaign Heats Up

In a post a while back, I advocated that the voters of this once Golden State need to take our state back and make our state legislature a part-time one. As it was before 1966 when the political class pulled the wool over the California voter's eyes.
Well, I am not a lonely voice in the wilderness.
This column by a gentleman named Tony Fellow in a recent edition of the Pasadena Star-News advocates a return to a part-time legislature. Some of the points Mr. Fellow makes are very, very important. Here are a few:

1)Special interests also were to have less of a hold on lawmakers with a full-time legislature.

2)Today more than 1,000 lobbyists work the halls of the state Capitol.

3)California's part-time legislature came to an end in 1966 when voters decided that a full-time body would create a more professional organization and reduce the influence of special interests. On the contrary, the number of staff members and bills soared.

The last one is what is so important to note. A so-called professional organization that the voters were promised in 1966 has been nothing but a den of inequity with special interests of all sorts running the halls of power.
Mr. Fellow makes a comparison to the legislature in Nebraska as a point of reference. I do not necessarily like that, but at least there is a place to start.
While Mr. Fellow makes a case for the return of a part-time state legislature, there is now a group that wants to do something about it. is up and running and has a petition on their website that wants to amend the California constitution to return to a part-time state legislature. The thrust is that the state legislature can meet for the following time frame:

1)30 calendar days in January.

2)30 days in the months of May and June.

3)5 optional days to consider legislation vetoed by the governor.

On the ReformCal website is the petition that every California voter needs to get and get signed ASAP. The group needs roughly about 700,000 signatures and it should qualify for the June, 2010 ballot.
Oh, the legislature and the special interests that suck at the tit of power will go insane trying to defeat this overdue change to the way California does business. They will make you believe that without these dweebs in power all year long, why California may become like a third-world country. Oops! We already are in some parts of the state. Why, without these geniuses that have "institutional" power-re: reelected year, after year, after year, people will not know what to do. And, how, how can the sixth largest economy in the whole world be only governed 90 days a year?
Easy and with no problems. Even states such as Florida, Texas, both growing economic powerhouses, are governed by part-time legislatures.
What is needed is real world people finally in control of the legislative process.
A few questions. How many doctors are in the California state legislature? Businessmen/women? Farmers? Ranchers? Policemen/women? Firemen/women? Take a look and one will find few, if any, of the groups mentioned represented in the California state legislature. But, lawyers are the overwhelming majority of those in both the state assembly and senate in California. And that means we have totally moved away from what the Founding Fathers and the progressives in California wanted. Citizen involvement in government.
That is why we need to get the state legislature back to a part-time one. Where a regular person can run, maybe win, and have a real say in what passes for legislation in this state.
The lonely voice in the wilderness is no more. Time for the rest of California to take a stand for a part-time legislature.

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