Part-time legislature amendment proposed
December 12, 2011
Would California fare better with a part-time legislature? [SacramentoBee]
That’s the central question at the core of a proposed constitutional amendment to reduce both the lawmaking body’s time in Sacramento and the pay for members.
First-term Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, (R-Bakersfield) and Ted Costa of People’s Advocate, a watchdog group, will seek 807,615 signatures from registered voters to quality the amendment for the November ballot.
Costa said Californians are frustrated by state lawmakers’ refusal to seriously consider such a proposal, and that disapproval of the lawmaking body’s performance is widespread. The plan would create a three-month session at the state capitol, and reduce salaries for individual lawmakers from the present $7,940 monthly to $1,500 monthly. Additionally, the new proposal would prohibit legislators from accepting state employment or appointment to a state government position for five years after they leave the Capitol.
This state has had a full-time legislature since 1966 when voters approved the concept. Since then, its annual cost has risen to $256 million.
“We’ve tried it — and it’s failed miserably,” said Costa of the full-time lawmaking system. Costa helped launch the successful recall against then-Gov. Gray Davis nearly a decade ago.
The ideas has been floated around Sacramento for years. Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, proposed the idea after taking office in 2003.
Opponents of the plan contend a part-time body would strengthen the influence of lobbyists.