July 2017 BayAreaGOP Newsletter Articles
Democrat Legislative Leadership Sidesteps Transparency Requirements
In November, voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 54 with 65% of the vote. Unfortunately, the California Legislature has tried to avoid the transparency California citizens have demanded.
So far this session, the State Assembly has passed over 90 bills without giving its members 72 hours to review and amend the language. Those bills and their bipartisan list of authors face legal uncertainty as to whether the bills could ever become law. The new language in the California Constitution states that a bill that does not meet the 72-hour-in-print requirement cannot become a statute.
Interestingly, the California State Senate chose to follow Proposition 54 requirements by giving its members 72 hours to read bills. It appears that the California Assembly may try to correct the legal flaw by holding a concurrence vote with 72 hours notice on bills that come back from the Senate without amendment. However, a concurrence vote only allows an up or down vote on a bill. Therefore the process would deny members of the assembly the right to amend bills in question.
Another attack on Prop 54 comes from proposed Senate rules which would restrict the constitutional right of any person to record its proceedings. These rules, proposed by Senate Democrat Leader Kevin de León, would give the right to record proceedings from the floor only to those members of the press approved by the Senate, not to all members of the press, guests and others on the floor – the same procedure that existed before passage of Prop 54. If adopted, these rules would also make it impossible for Senators themselves to record proceedings of the Senate.
The right of Senate members to record proceedings proved to be critical when Sen. Janet Nguyen was removed from the Senate floor while describing the immigrant experience of Vietnamese refugees. The official recordings of that session were released only after members’ own video recordings were posted on the internet and went viral.
These recent events demonstrate that the Democrat legislative leadership will not willingly comply with the transparency requirements that California citizens have demanded. It appears that only the threat of consequences at the ballot box or court action will achieve that goal. For more information on Prop 54 and the latest news on legislative transparency, you can visit www.holdpoliticiansaccountable.org.
Democrats Hijack State Budget to Restrict Voters’ Right To Recall
By Sue Caro
CRP Regional Vice Chairman
In early June, Sacramento Democrats used a last minute “gut and amend” tactic to pass new rules for recall elections. These new rules, inserted into a budget trailer bill, allow politicians, not voters to decide if a recall should move forward.
For over one hundred years, the recall law has enabled California voters to “fire” an elected official for not serving the district. The new rules, passed without debate or committee hearing in the Legislature, will be retroactively applied to any ongoing recall effort to protect one Senator, and the Democrats’ supermajority.
Democrat Senator Josh Newman unexpectedly defeated Republican Assemblywoman Ling Ling Chang to win in Senate District 29 by under 2500 votes. Senator Newman went on to co-author unpopular legislation to increase the gas tax and vehicle registration fees, allegedly to raise $5.2 Billion for road repairs. Republicans felt the tax was unnecessary since existing gas taxes raised for this purpose are regularly raided to support the general fund and other priorities of Democrats. Republicans also pointed out this tax is particularly onerous on middle class and low–income residents, many who commute long distances to work.
Pro-taxpayer activists led by Carl DeMaio filed for a recall of Senator Newman, successfully collecting 84,988 signatures to cause a recall election. They need 63,593 valid signatures and submitted well ahead of their October deadline because of the new law that provides significant obstacles to actually holding an election.
In order to protect their vulnerable Member, the Democrats’ anti-recall law requires county registrars to validate each signature, rather than a random sampling previously used. Petition signers may now remove their signature for 30 days after the Secretary of State notifies counties that enough signatures have been gathered, and the Governor’s Department of Finance and Joint Legislative Budget Committee have an unlimited amount of time to review and estimate the cost of the recall election.
This blatant, anti-voter, partisan bill adds a minimum of 51 days to meet a state constitutional requirement to hold a recall election. Recall proponents had hoped to hold an election by November 2017, but the Democrats’ plan is to delay the vote until the Primary election when their voter turnout could be higher.
Winning the SD 29 seat in 2016 gave Democrats the supermajority in the State Senate, allowing them to pass taxes at will, without input or votes by Republicans. They realized the recall might succeed, jeopardizing their supermajority, and moved to change the rules in the middle of the game. This is an abuse of power that goes against the will of voters.
Recent statements by Carl DeMaio announced their intention to initiate a lawsuit against state officials. The recall effort attracted financial support from major donors, organized groups and the California Republican Party.
A balance of power in our legislature is vitally important if taxpayers are to be protected from the excessive taxation and regulation favored by a powerful few. These changes to the rules to protect one legislator who is going against the will of his district violate the rights of voters and could backfire on Democrats. Supporters plan to keep this issue alive by collecting more signatures and raising the funds needed to support the voters’ right to recall.
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