Does supermajority portend Maldonado-style gamesmanship?

by CalWatchdog Staff | November 9, 2012 8:17 am

Nov. 9, 2012

By Chris Reed

In 2009, state Sen. Abel Maldonado made Democrats in the Legislature jump through an awful lot of hoops before the Santa Maria Republican would be the final vote[1] needed for temporary tax hikes.

The new Democratic supermajority era in Sacramento portends a future in which on key bills, individual lawmakers who feel strongly could hold out for concessions either on the measure or on one of their pet causes.

That could be a constructive thing, if occasional contrarians like Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, pushed for more business-friendliness from his fellow Democrats.

On the other hand, the supermajority era also could see legislative leaders shove through a wide range of bills over Jerry Brown’s vetoes, enforced with threats of banishment to tiny offices. I wrote about the wacky measures the governor has vetoed for the U-T San Diego’s editorial page[2]:

“Here’s a short list of bills that would have become law the past two years without the governor’s veto: three measures that would have undercut his pension reform push; measures that would have microregulated domestic workers and led to the unionization of baby sitters and graduate students who assist professors; a measure that would have banned state law enforcement officials from turning over child abusers and other criminals wanted by the federal government if they were illegal immigrants; and a measure that would have given teachers unions more direct influence over the California State Teachers’ Retirement System. The governor also vetoed dozens of bills adding onerous new requirements on business.”

The new dynamics[3] in Sacramento are going to be strange and unpredictable. They are likely to enhance Brown’s image as the sanest man in town.


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