California Democrats seek legislative control over ballot measures

February 11, 2013

senateCalifornia Democrats hope to use their new supermajority to give the legislature more control over the initiative process. [Sac Bee]

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg plans to reveal initiative reform proposals this month, which may include removing the two-thirds vote requirement to put a tax increase on the ballot. Steinberg is also considering an “indirect initiative” proposal that would allow the legislature to amend initiatives or pass their own versions with agreement from the proponents.

“The biggest problem, I believe, is that there is not a real connection between the initiative process and representative government in a way that could make both representative government and the initiative product better,” Steinberg said.

Republican strategist Jennifer Kerns said Steinberg’s proposals “are aimed at squelching the voice of the people.”

“Given the fact that they’ve taken the supermajority back, I think they’re looking for as many ways to maintain a concentration of power in Sacramento as possible,” Steinberg said.

Supporters say initiative reform would allow the legislature to remove flaws from ballot measures and make the budget process more efficient by restricting “ballot-box budgeting.”

State Democrats did not like the fact that Proposition 30 faced competition last November from another tax measure proposed by a civil rights attorney. Molly Munger donated more than $40 million to the Proposition 38 campaign even though it lost in a landslide.

Steinberg is also considering reforms that would restrict high donor financing of initiatives.

 


44 Comments

  1. tomsquawk says:

    I urge all of us to revisit “The American Voter” Google it Up

    “The American Voter, published in 1960, is a seminal study of voting behavior in the United States, authored by Angus Campbell, Philip Converse, Warren Miller, and Donald Stokes, colleagues at the University of Michigan. Among its controversial conclusions, based on one of the first comprehensive studies of election survey data (what eventually became the National Election Studies), is that most voters cast their ballots primarily on the basis of partisan identification (which is often simply inherited from their parents), and that independent voters are actually the least involved in and attentive to politics. This theory of voter choice became known as the Michigan model.

    It’s not that complicated.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  2. choprzrul says:

    Why are Democrats anti democracy? Attempting to circumvent the will of the people at the ballot box?

    Looks like just another ‘government knows best’ move.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3

    • Slowerfaster says:

      Whaqt a PANTLOAD ! What part of 50% plus don’t you understand?
      When an obstreperous and obstinate MINORITY block the will of the majority, that is anti-democratic.
      You just don’t like it that more and more people are rejecting conservatism as the stinking pile of do-nothingism it is.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

      • tomsquawk says:

        the system is that way for a reason

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • choprzrul says:

        My position has ZERO to do with who won the last election.

        The ballot process is representative of the public’s will. It goes through a very specific process.
        1. language for the proposition is developed
        2. based upon that language, signatures are gathered
        3. the prop is voted on in the election and either passes or fails based upon the will of the people.

        Now, we have Sacramento trying to inject themselves into the people’s will in the proposition process. If they get involved before #1 above, they can create language that will never get enough signatures. If they inject themselves after #2, then the people who’s signatures are on the prop signed on for something different.

        I would be equally against this if I lived over the border in Arizona and another party controlled the legislature. It is simply wrong for any legislative body to inject itself into the people’s proposition process.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. tomsquawk says:

    on ballot box budgeting:

    “The economic fallout brings the shortcomings of ballot-box policymaking into sharp relief. Time and again, California voters are asked to approve outlays for emotionally resonant issues—mental-health treatment, school improvements, funding children’s hospitals—and time and again, they sign off. But the right to vote on an issue is always untethered from any notion of fiscal responsibility. In most cases, voters aren’t required to find a funding mechanism, whether in the form of spending cuts or tax hikes. They’re simply asked if they’d like to be charitable on someone else’s dime. The result is the unsustainable mix of opposition to tax hikes and enthusiasm for new spending projects that has put the state in its current fiscal morass.”

    any thoughts other than i could buy bonds to fund an initiative, debt payemnts increase all our taxes and i might break even?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  4. Rambunctious says:

    Gas is up…food is up…power and water are up…health care costs are up…taxes are up…sooner or later the Democrat majority will run out of other people’s money. I can’t seem to get an answer from any of them as to what they will do then. It’s as if they have an on going source of money called “another tax hike”. Well I have a suggestion to the Democrat majority of my once beautiful and pristine state of California. You had better hurry up because Obama wants more of my money too. Also when you get the tax hike you want and you will get it because of your majority do something for me please…tell the state agencies to please stop hiding revenue from the people you are taxing.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 34 Thumb down 5

    • Bert says:

      Forgot to mention the monetary costs of the two wars. Heavily supported/started by the Republicans under false pretenses (lies). It’s not just the Dem’s, it’s the Gov.

      Iraq and Afghanistan costs for FY 2012, $200,722 per minute, $12.04 million per hour, $289 million per day.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

      • Willow says:

        well it ain’t like Obama’s endin’ ‘em – especially AFTER he received the Nobel PEACE Prize! (what a farce that turned out to be!)

        Stop with the Democrat/Republican paradigm, people – all it does is keep the people fighting each other and getting nowhere…. in the meantime….. the real fat cats callin’ the shots are behind the scenes running BOTH parties. So you see, it really didn’t matter who won the election ….. the wars were going to continue (as planned by the banksters & the military-industrial-complex – to which politicians from BOTH parties are heavily invested in) and will continue to continue as long as people continue to fall for Demopublican/Republocrat bull.

        Here’s a news flash for y’all: Liberal greenies are just as selfish, just as wasteful, just as mean, just as smug, just as self-serving as the all-american conservatives they hate.

        well, maybe a little more, actually, ’cause one thing I’ve noticed at Farmer’s Market booths: republicans and libertarians will discuss issues and try to sort out facts. democrats get emotional and try to skirt the facts by distracting with personal attacks.

        Decisions that affect others should never be based on personal emotions, or personal agendas – no matter how good you think your idea is. Decisions should be made that are as inclusive as possible, so no one is oppressed.

        And that’s why liberal democrats get emotional and nasty (oh, yeah, they had one fat lady workin’ their booth that was just downright mean, hostile and nasty) – ’cause they think they know better than the rest, and they think they know how to spend other people’s money better than anyone else, and they really have no solid foundation to stand on, so instead of providing substantiating proofs, they resort to distracting emotionalism and personal attacks – sign of immaturity.

        And the immaturity comes from the notion that one who talks the talk, and yet fails to walk their talk, should have any credence.

        Which brings us back to the beginning – Obama – a perfect example of the previous sentence.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

        • kettle says:

          Willow says: “Stop with the Democrat/Republican paradigm, people – all it does is keep the people fighting each other and getting nowhere”

          Yes willow, stop already being the perfect example of what you are calling out everyone else on.

          “And the immaturity comes from the notion that one who talks the talk, and yet fails to walk their talk, should have any credence.”

          Show us you can walk your talk instead of providing non proofs, as opposed to distracting emotionalism and personal attacks – sign of immaturity..

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

          • Willow says:

            The proof’s all over the place, you just haven’t taken the time to look at them:

            Look up the top ten contributors to both Obama’s and Romney’s campaigns.

            Look up the investments of members of both parties, in both houses of Congress.

            Look up how many innocent people have been murdered by Obama’s ongoing wars.

            Look up how many returning vets are committing suicide.

            Look up how much water pollution is occurring around military bases on U.S. soil – I imagine the same thing is going on in other countries where U.S. bases are installed.

            Look up how much water pollution is forced on the American people with local governments insisting that fluoride be put in the water – a substance known to reduce I.Q, create complacency, and cause other health problems. (might this have anything to do with globalist factions purposely dumbing down the American people so they can manipulate them?)

            Look up how much air and food pollution exists because the FDA and EPA turns their back on real science, insisting that industry studies are good enough ’cause according to them, they’re not biased nor faulty.

            Look up what kinds of unnecessary toxins are in the annual flu shots the government wants you to take. And while you’re at it, look up the striking rise in autism that just happens to coincide with the increased number of innoculations parents are now required to expose their children to, or risk losing them to CPS.

            Look up how much pollution Obama’s wars are creating – and he has the audacity to tell the American people he’s so concerned about “climate change” that he will pursue carbon taxation on them when he himself directs the most polluting factors on earth, including depleted uranium bombs, bullets, and armory. Why aren’t the greenies all over his ass on that one? because the so-called “leaders” of their cause really aren’t about ‘saving the planet’, but more about gaining power and control over resources and humanity.

            Go do your homework and come back when you’re ready for more.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      • Rambunctious says:

        I believe the cost of war is greatly inflated. I did not support either war…I think we should have been intelligent and ruthless enough to deal with Al Qaeda without invading two Countries. However; when estimating the cost of deployment you must factor in the cost of a resting military as well. Weather a military unit is in Iraq or San Diego it still must be fed…housed…dressed…and trained. The claim that Bush spent us into the mess we are in now because of the Iraq war is a straw dog, a misnomer, a lie. Bert…Your numbers are lacking the full picture.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. brook says:

    Just as soon as one of those smaller government types can’t get his garbage picked up, his lights on, a drink of water from a tap or a school to send his kid to – he or she might realize the error of his/her ways. Maybe.

    Granted some parts of government works better than others. That’s as much the fault of voters who don’t take the time to learn and to act in their own best interests.

    Think of it like a garden. If you don’t water, you don’t mow, you don’t get your hands dirty once in awhile, it turns into a mess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 27

    • r0y says:

      Wow, do you completely miss the “smaller government” mindset!

      I have a very dear friend who is very liberal/big-government and had similar arguments of “yeah, small government sounds nice, but as soon as something happens you turn to the government – people always look to get help” – he did not see the irony in his declarations.

      People *have* actually existed quite nicely without large government. Please note that “small government” does not equate to “no government” – that’s your fallacy. For instance, municipal water is needed because the government has taken any water (and mineral) rights I have (or may have) on my land. As a homeowner, I am perpetually mortgaged to the local school district, why do I need a State or Federal education agency? Garbage: people have been burning it for years. I suppose if I bury it in my back yard, that’s dangerous. Best to bury it in someone else’s (landfill). Lights on? Last I heard, the government does not run electric companies (thus we usually have uninterrupted service for great lengths of time – imagine if they did run the power companies?)

      Anyway, that’s enough wall-of-text. Apologies for the long-windedness.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

  6. Robert1 says:

    Tax spend, Tax spend = democrats, look out property taxes here they come….

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 32 Thumb down 8

    • r0y says:

      You better believe Jerry Brown has been eying prop 13 since election… he’s never liked it (what politician likes limited revenues?)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 4

      • Slowerfaster says:

        You reich wingers want everything, but don’t want to pay for anything.
        You’re what the rest of us call “MOOCHERS” !

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

        • Willow says:

          Excuse me, but I’d venture to say that more registered dems are standin’ in government-run “mooch” lines, but that aside, you miss a few points completely –

          1. people who want smaller government usually do because they want the freedom to do for themselves – with as little hindrance from uninvolved, unimportant entities and possible.

          2. government waste and fraud is beyond reason. Example: with all the government hoopla about “climate change” and clamping down on the private sector’s access and use of resources, they have no qualms about wasting whatever the private sector “saves”. Did you know that SLO County still hands out multi-page documents printed on one side only? With all the greenies on the government dole, why aren’t they walkin’ their own talk? (’cause it’s other people’s money, and the disingenuous-ness of it all couldn’t be any clearer.)

          3. self-serving with government funds is beyond reason: Education is a perfect example. Wasn’t the California Lottery supposed to end the need for more taxes for education? Doesn’t it seem odd that no matter how many times we raise funds for education, there’s never enough? Let me tell you about “education” – go look at the salaries, pensions, and benefits of the presidents, vide presidents, trustees, etc…. the money isn’t going to the children. It ALWAYS goes to “administration” (read that “greedy adults”) first. You can use “education” to finance personal greed only so long.

          4. people who want more government are often people who have nothing better to do with their time than meddle in the affairs of others – and try to come up with an excuse as to why they should put themselves in the middle of, and profit from, private negotiations between private individuals they don’t even know. They obviously have not found their place in life and spend their lives making others miserable by putting themselves where they don’t belong.

          And don’t even try to say we need big government to curb pollution – bull – property rights already do that – at its core, no one can do anything to harm another person’s property, including the water that runs through their property, and the air that flows through their property. If anything, big government laws allow for the disregard of private property rights as loopholes are written into law that allow for the pollution of private property with no accountability – electromagnetic pollution is a perfect example – your “big government” wrote into law that cell phone companies cannot be held liable for any health problems that may arise from cell phone use or cell towers – same goes for “smart” meters – PG&E is not to be held accountable for health problems arising from their meters that can never be turned off to give your body rest from the constant electromagnetic pulsing – so there goes private property rights not only re real estate, but also over our own bodies!!! And you want MORE big government protecting big business insanity? They just usurped your right to health!!! (you can pay to opt out of smart meters, but your neighbor may not, so their meter is still reaching you. I guess health is only for the rich who can afford to live on larger parcels of land so their neighbors don’t affect them. Yeah, look at history – big government always results in big disparities)

          Or how ’bout this one: the right to live free of government stress? or how ’bout the right to be left alone? Don’t we have the right to be left alone? Why do you have such a great need to interject yourself into the lives of people you don’t know or care about? Go get a productive life. If you’re so concerned about what’s going on, then get busy doing works of charity for those with real needs – you can make meals for the poor – well, maybe not – a lady in Santa Monica got in trouble with “big government” for providing meals for the poor. (And this is the land of the free, where you aren’t even “free” to feed the poor?) Well, I think if you look hard enough, I’m sure you’ll find something to do to help others that doesn’t require a license, a fee, an inspection, another fee, a tax, and “permission” from your “big government”. Why a person would need government permission to do an act of charity, I don’t know, but then, I don’t understand the notion of “big” government, except to create an elite class that lords over others, and takes from them all they can – including by force.

          To mimic your own comment:
          “You left wingers want your noses in everything – including where it don’t belong!!”

          or to put it another way:
          Get a life of your own so you can stay out of mine!!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          • kettle says:

            Ahh the great circular argument. Left right, dem gop you people are so easy to troll.

            The debate never ends with everyone trolling each other.

            “Get a life of your own so you can stay out of mine!!”

            A perfect example of whats wrong with our America, endless bickering.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

            • Willow says:

              If you want it to stop, then butt out of where you don’t belong and leave people to live in peace. and stop trying to create reasons why your nose should be in other people’s business.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

              • kettle says:

                Live in peace?
                I’m not the one who posts many paragraph’s trying to create reasons.

                This is our neighborhood, all of us.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

                • tomsquawk says:

                  it is a neighboorhood and diversity is welcome and it is not as thought someone won’t digest another’s opinion. the disappointment is polarity where there needs to be none. for my company i have built a diverse board, we don’t always agree on evey point but at least we get to consider every pespective. we’re it breaks down is where someone gets stubborn.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  7. Jorge Estrada says:

    Why is it that gun control proposals and legislative out of control proposals seem to happen at the same time? What are we supposed to do if our government navigates away from the vote of the people? It would be reassuring to know that a radical mindset has not displaced the fabric of our citizenship.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 5

    • brook says:

      What would really be nice to know is who is funding the proposal and why! Most of the props we’ve had to fight, as well as some we’ve lost on, are financed by out of state corporate/political entities who try to hide their identities while inflicting us with their doctrines. Proposition 8 is a perfect example.

      Why should outsiders be trying to make California laws?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 3

      • r0y says:

        Outsiders can make all the propositions they want, but it is the voters who vote to pass the propositions. Crying that it’s “out of state money” is simply a short-sighted complaint about a long-term problem: voter intelligence.

        Let’s face it, as the (re)election of Obama has proven, we’re a nation (and state) of low-information voters. We’re easily marketed to and manipulated. We’ll take TMZ over CNN every time. So do we blame the controllers for wanting to control such a large mass of ignorance and uninformed voters?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 4

        • easymoney says:

          roy, spot on…

          “Let’s face it, as the (re)election of Obama has proven, we’re a nation (and state) of low-information voters. We’re easily marketed to and manipulated. We’ll take TMZ over CNN every time. So do we blame the controllers for wanting to control such a large mass of ignorance and uninformed voters?”

          The trend has grown and as shown during the last election cycle, even horrible leadership and legislation is given a pass in favor of “hope n change”.And IMHO, it only a matter of time before Brown does away with prop 13. Economic redistribution is well under way…

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  8. unlisted says:

    Initiatives are part of our budget problem and should be reformed. First, we have lots of initiatives such as stem cell research and high speed rail, that don’t include a way to pay for them and we have others, Prop 8 and Prop 187, that we have to spend millions defending or opposing in the courts. There has to be a better way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 4

    • Willow says:

      well, I guess people are just following big government’s lead:
      pass bills/laws without funding,
      but demand everyone complies.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. tomsquawk says:

    I stopped reading here: “Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg plans to reveal initiative reform proposals this month, which may include removing the two-thirds vote requirement to put a tax increase on the ballot.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 6

    • easymoney says:

      I see a trend emerging here in CA and at the federal level…

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

    • kayaknut says:

      But didn’t Gov Brown say he would veto all tax increases???

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

    • pasoparent5 says:

      Heck, tomsquawk. You could’ve stopped at the first two words: “California Democrats” because once you read that, you gotta KNOW that nothing good will follow. :(

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5

      • Slowerfaster says:

        Why ?
        Republicans do nothing but do nothing, then they complain.

        40 years into the experiment of Republican led “lesser government” is proof that it does not work.
        Republicans don’t want to govern…they want ro CONTROL.

        It’s about time that a dictatorship of a minority ( which is what a ‘supermajority’ actually leads to ) is given the heave-ho !

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 23

        • tomsquawk says:

          you may have alot of it backwards

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 5

        • r0y says:

          Yes, California, the well-known REPUBLICAN stronghold of 40 years…

          (Psst… did you remember to take your meds?)

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

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