Shenanigans In CA Senate

Katy Grimes: California voters should be outraged. Thursday, the Senate Budget Committee Chairman, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, moved 40 spot budget bills — empty bills awaiting bill language — from the budget committee to the Senate floor.

This may seem kind of esoteric, but the impacts are real. These actions are serious shenanigans from elected politicians who know better.

By avoiding the legislative process, which requires committee hearings for all bills, it is clear that the goal of this effort is to set up a secretive last minute budget vote, lacking the promised transparency and public involvement.

Now that Propositions 25 and 26 are constitutional law, (the majority vote by the Legislature to pass a budget, and supermajority vote to pass fees and taxes by the Legislature, respectively), the Democrats are taking major policy changes and potential tax increases by dropping them in trailer bill language.

Senator Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet, made a motion that all of the bills be sent back to the Senate Budget Committee, but the motion failed on a party line vote.

Senate Republicans say that they anticipate that a similar effort will occur in the Assembly.

According to Sen. Minority Leader Bob Huff, over the past few weeks Senate Republicans have listened in Budget Committee as several members that were on the Senate floor today stated that the Governor’s budget proposals need further policy debate and discussion in Committee.

  • These empty “spot” bills should be referred to the appropriate budget subcommittee (or policy committee) for that discussion to take place.
  • They should be amended in those budget committees as needed to reflect those discussions and the public should have the opportunity to see that language in print before it is voted on and sent to the Assembly.

Even as ridiculous as many bills are, every bill must go through the proper legislative process, and have in-depth committee hearings for proper vetting, or the process is a sham.

Democrats are playing a dangerous and cocky game, abusing the power they were honored to receive, and trusted by voters to keep safe.

Is it any wonder the California Legislature has such a shamefully low approval rating?

The Senate will take this up again on Monday. You can watch it live on The California Channel, click on “live webcast” under the Video on demand column.

MAR. 8, 2012

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