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.



  1. Bob says:

    They already work part time for full time pay. Cut the hours they actually work and nothing will ever get done. I agree, cut the pay and benefits to reflect their part time work schedule.

    We should require the following mandates:

    • If they can’t pass a budget in time, lock them all in the capitol building until they agree on a bill the governor signs into law.
    • If they can not balance the budget, their pay should be reduced to the states minimum wage and all benefits and perks terminated.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
  2. Slowerfaster says:

    Fantastic ! Another diversionary dog and pony show designed to add to the gridlock.

    That’s what this is all about, people. Costa is one of those Grover Norquist nihilists that just want to make make government unfunctionable. …the “drown it in a bathtub” crowd.
    If government were allowed to do its job, these shills for the corporations would be out of business.

    Consider this: First term Republican Assemblywoman from Bakersfield ( Shannon Grove ).
    That’s ” three strikes , and yer OUT ! ” , and it’s not because she’s a woman.

    (-5) 9 Total Votes - 2 up - 7 down
    • r0y says:

      Wow, you’re about the only person I’ve ever heard that thinks the people are in the way of the government.


      (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  3. Citizen says:

    We would have been so much better off if the legislature had not met at all last year. They had nothing to help the California economy, and simply put through all kinds of special interest spending bills.

    We have legislators who take bills written by special interests and sponsor them in the legislature. These people see their role as getting money from the state. They have no loyalty to the state and no real concern about Californians.

    Let’s reduce the pay and the eliminate the “full-time” legislature. We will be better off.

    (13) 15 Total Votes - 14 up - 1 down
    • easymoney says:

      I agree 100%. Time to have a part time legislature in both the state and the fed government. Regardless of party, it is a truly dysfunctional process. One of the primary jobs each year is to come up with and balance the budget, has this happened in recent memory?

      (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
      • Typoqueen says:

        If they can’t get what they need to do done now it will only get worse if their hours are cut. I can understand cutting back on their pay but if we cut back on their hours then even less will get done and then you guys will bit@h and moan because even less will done. They will never come up with a budget, balance or unbalanced if you guys have it your way.

        But like Danika I feel that I can’t really make an honest judgement without carefully reading the bill.

        (-6) 12 Total Votes - 3 up - 9 down
    • The Gimlet Eye says:

      That’s why I say nothing good comes from government.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  4. danika says:

    My initial reaction was YES, but I think there needs to be a close examination of the wording in the bill before the vote is cast. If something sounds to good to be true…

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
  5. TonyAndrade says:

    It is about time that we in California recognize that the Legislature is controlled by special interest that are out to eliminate the corporate complex from California and to eliminate the high quality of our standard of living. So Many companies like Google, Apple are leaving the State because of the outrageous conduct of the Legislature. So it is time to reign in the professional politicians by installing
    the “Part Time Legislature”. If you you wish to join the effort email for more information.
    Merry Christmas!!

    (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  6. bobfromsanluis says:

    I have some real problems with this proposal; first off is one of the sponsors, Rep. Costa, who was at the forefront in the recall of Gray Davis; surely the righties remember how well that worked out for California? We got Arnold who refused to prosecute Enron for the brownouts, instead they donated to his campaign, so of course, he did not go after them. We even had a case against them simply dropped by Arnold; look it up if you don’t remember.
    The next thing that bothers me is there is apparently nothing in the proposal that restricts staff pay, the ability of staff to become lobbyists, for lobbyists to become staff members, or nothing to restrict how lobbyists can attempt to influence lawmakers. The real problem with Sacramento isn’t really the legislators, it is the unfettered access by monied interests, and yes, that includes unions too. What is really needed is very clear defined restrictions on the interaction between lobbyists and lawmakers and their staff members, the ability of staff members to move back and forth as a staff member to lobbyists, often called the “revolving door”; restrict that movement and access and I really believe the behavior of lawmakers will be more responsive to the actual voters.

    (-8) 24 Total Votes - 8 up - 16 down
    • r0y says:

      Apart from your blind ideological bent, you raise a good point. I have not read the language in the proposal, but if it read something like ‘NOTHING is done outside those three months, apart from guarding the empty/powered-down buildings” then I would also be hesitant.

      Quite often it is the unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats that are the “invisible hand” here.

      I liked the part about a 5-year moratorium on government jobs, but they’ll just do what they do on the federal level and go to some lobbyists “think tank” (i.e. Center for American Progress, Heritage, etc) until they can “recycle” back in.

      Still, it is a start, and I like the intent and idea.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
  7. BeenThereDoneThat says:

    They couldn’t do it soon enough for me!!! I have been saying for years that, we have enough laws. Why do we need legislatures up in Sac. trying to come up with more stupid laws to justify their time. A part time body can still cover easily any new laws that are REALLY needed. It’s got my vote.

    (23) 25 Total Votes - 24 up - 1 down
    • Cindy says:

      Agreed, Heck I’ll help collect signatures.

      (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
  8. Typoqueen says:

    “proposed constitutional amendment to reduce both the lawmaking body’s time in Sacramento and the pay for members”

    How about MORE time working and less pay.

    (-3) 15 Total Votes - 6 up - 9 down
    • r0y says:

      I like to think of this as a baby step… the next proposal (assuming this passes in some form) would be NO pay or benefits, and you meet one weekend a month, two weeks a year – just like a National Guardsman or Reservist for the military. We can have employers continue paying any member’s salary/wage while they serve, and give said employers a matching tax-break.

      Make government service a SERVICE. Not an occupation, and God knows NOT a profession. Citizen legislature!

      (Of course, I’m nutty enough to also say “no lawyers or academics” allowed, which should be shot down… but I’d suggest it!)

      (6) 10 Total Votes - 8 up - 2 down
      • racket says:

        Like the idea, r0y — and I sure would do all I could to get a weekend legislato-warrior elected from *my* company.

        (Which, of course, is the problem: Baddies like Chevron and The Nature Conservancy could stack the legislative deck with doers of their bidding … I guess they do anyway …)

        (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down

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