Everyone has been obviously watching the Presidential election because it is the Presidential election and because this year the candidates have been outside the norm of most presidential contests. What happens therefore, is that some other very important issues are ignored. People have just so much energy.
Important issues in the state get ignored because there is so much being thrown at the voter. The state legislature is not the friend of the average voter in spite of what we are told by our Democrat friends. A ⅔ majority in the Assembly and the Senate means that virtually any legislation can be passed. With Democrats this usually means raising taxes and increasing regulations.
It is important that the average, hard working voter become aware of how the Legislature works. Therefore, here are some of the tactics used to pass legislation in Sacramento.
Gut and Amend: This practice is common toward the end of the legislative session. The author of a bill will use amendments to a bill to remove the current contents in their entirety and replace them with different provisions. So suddenly, a bill on waste water removal can become a bill on a gun buy back program. This technique would be affected by Proposition 54 on the ballot which requires that a bill must be on the internet for 72 hours prior to a vote for passage. This would negate gut and amend. The Democrat Party is against Proposition 54.
Spot Bill: At the beginning of a session an author will introduce a bill with a simple, vague title and no language to hold place for a bill in the future. This ensures that the bill will pass early deadlines without any real substance to it so that the author can fill it later with desired content.
W.O.R.F. – “Without Reference to file.” The rules of both houses require bills to be listed on the day’s agenda. A measure that is not listed in the official agenda would have to be taken up “without reference to file.” The Assembly or Senate may suspend the rules to take up a “WORF” item. This happens with controversial items that authors want to sneak through with little or no notice.
Suspense File: This is supposed to be just a “holding place” for fiscal bills to be taken up at a later date by the Appropriations committee. However, it has become a vessel for bills to circumvent deadlines and allows the Appropriations committee to pass out unpopular or controversial bills quickly and quietly. This is also a place where the Appropriations committee can kill bills without having to record an official vote.
Third House: This term refers to the lobbyists in Sacramento who wield great power and have the money that many candidates need to run for office.
Another favorite stunt of many legislators is what Democrats did to Tim Donnelly when he was in the Assembly. They shut his microphone when he was speaking.
An excellent example of the dysfunction in the Legislature is the number of propositions on the November ballot. There are 17 propositions. Now, there is no argument with the right of the people in our democracy to directly affect legislation. However, sometimes some propositions are due to the fact that the Legislature is not doing its job.
Prop 64 regards the legalization of marijuana. There are many holes in the legislation and this proposition will very likely unload a ton of problems. Groups that should have been consulted and have a say in the legislation were not included. The legalization of marijuana is the kind of legislation that should be hammered out by legislators if they are doing their job. It is much easier to pass the buck to organizations that write the proposition and get the signatures.
Many people are confused about why there are only two Democrats in the Senate race in California. That is because in 2010 the voters voted on Proposition 14 which limits the general election to the top two vote getters in the June primary (Presidential race is not included). This law went into effect in 2012. Therefore, all minor parties will never have a choice on the ballot and often we will have the results we have this year: two Democrats. Write in votes are not allowed.
Now, here is a question for the reader. How many of you know who your Assembly Representative and your State Senator are? Have you checked out their web site? Do you know how they vote on issues that are important to you? Do you ever contact your state representative and let them know your opinion on issues? Or are the only people that really affect how a Representative votes are those with money who donate or speak up?
Benjamin Franklin stated after leaving the Constitutional Convention when asked what kind of government was formed: “A republic if you can keep it.”