Has Dem supermajority ushered in incivility?

April 25, 2013

By Katy Grimes

Since the Democratic supermajority was ushered in after the 2012 elections, I’ve observed an interesting shift at the Capitol.

Democratic leaders promised they would “restrain” themselves on the ability to increase taxes. That hasn’t worked out so well given all of the tax and fee increase bills passed last year, and in many new bills this year.

But the Democratic leaders never promised civility.

What incivility?

I am actually a fan of British Parliament. I love how they really fight over bills and government issues. Even when the insults fly during session, they always hold fast to decorum and the parliamentary process.

We can’t always say the same in the California Legislature.

In the Assembly, whenever there is a particularly contentious issue, Republicans are repeatedly cut off during floor debate. Democrats are allowed to drone on and on.

Last year at the end of the session, nearly every time a Republican challenged a bill authored by Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, or a budget bill, they were routinely cut off, interrupted and admonished by leadership.

The same happens in committee hearings. Republican bills are getting unceremoniously killed every day in every committee hearing. And, even uglier than on the floor of the Assembly and Senate, Republicans and their bill supporters are interrupted and cut off, and not allowed to finish speaking or testify.

Of particular notice, I’ve observed Assembly Transportation Committee Chairwoman Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, refuse to allow opponents to Democrat’s bills the same amount of time to testify as supporters. And when a Republican bill is heard, she’s particularly prickly, and hurries lawmakers and supports along.

This week, during the Assembly Transportation Committee hearing on AB 60, the bill which would allow illegal immigrants to get California driver’s licenses, Lowenthal allowed hundreds of Latino activists and supporters to make speeches in support of the bill. But when one opponent, a private citizen, showed up to speak in opposition to the bill, Lowenthal rudely cut him off several times, and admonished him on his testimony.

And now the Senate has joined in on the incivility. During Monday’s floor session, Sen. Joel Anderson, R-San Diego, stood to speak against the reconfirmation of Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. As Anderson recounted the many serious violations, broken laws, abuse, corruption, waste and seriously dangerous conditions which have occurred under Dougherty’s watch as director, he was interrupted several times by Democratic leadership.

Anderson asked if there was a new time limit he was unaware of.

Anderson is not one to back down, and challenged his Senate colleagues, reminding them the very job of the Legislature is the oversight of state agencies. He asked Senators why they weren’t providing proper oversight of Caltrans.

But the Senate reconfirmed Dougherty on a party line vote.

The big rush to get through the reconfirmation of Dougherty apparently was to get to the Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Denim Day California Resolution. Authored by Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, SCR 22 “designates the month of April 2013 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and would recognize April 24, 2013, as Denim Day California, and would encourage everyone to wear jeans on that day to help communicate the message that there is no excuse for, and never an invitation to commit, rape.”

Such important business. Senator after Senator stood to offer supportive speeches. This was done without interruption by Senate leadership.

Only when Sen. Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, spoke about the need to reform prison realignment as a real way to protect women and innocents, did the interruptions begin.

Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, spoke about his support to ban military-style ammunition.

Steinberg took Nielsen to task.

The priorities of the supermajority always take precedence, but the silencing of the minority party and opponents, is dangerously approaching traits practiced by autocracies. Totalitarianism and absolutism do not belong in a Representative Republic.

The video of this floor session is available on the California Channel at this link.

The Assembly Transportation Committee hearing is available at this link.


Write a comment
  1. fish
    fish 25 April, 2013, 10:35

    Republicans are repeatedly cut off during floor debate. Democrats are allowed to drone on and on.


    Since California has decided to tax and spend its way to the stone age I would suggest to the republicans that they either switch parties and remove the facade that there is an “opposition” party or quietly go the way of the Whigs and watch the democrats auger in from the sidelines!

    I recommend the second option it’s sure to be more entertaining!

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 25 April, 2013, 11:17

    This is why the repubs are becoming pansy asses. They HAVE to stick up for themselves or die. Its that simple. Time the opponent and clock them. If cut off, say you have so many minutes left and keep on going.

    Personally Id love to see them slug it out. Maybe it would toughen the repubs up some. A few belts across their opponents faces, should give them some courage. Or how about just having a good brawl. Talk about fun!

    Reply this comment
  3. i'mjustsaying
    i'mjustsaying 25 April, 2013, 11:42

    “Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.”

    – Benjamin Franklin

    Perhaps those in the majority party could learn a thing or two.

    Reply this comment
  4. i'mjustsaying
    i'mjustsaying 25 April, 2013, 11:44

    “Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.”

    – Benjamin Franklin

    Perhaps those in the majority party could learn a thing or two. Democracy is founded on the right to have differing views heard and debated. Sound public policy can not be crafted without it.

    Reply this comment
  5. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 25 April, 2013, 13:54

    These are Democrats we are talking about.

    A few days ago I watched a few minutes of the Assembly Floor Session. They were honoring some Latino activist who had died. OK. I know they do a lot of these sort of things in the floor sessions of every legislative body.

    So I started looking up the backgrounds of those who rose to speak. One after another after another……activist…community organizer…..community leader…..activist.

    That’s all these people know! All their lives they have been some sort of activist…..And a background in activism does not lend itself to open discussion and fair hearing of opposing views. Just because one can use a bullhorn does not make them a good legislator.

    THAT, my friends, is the problem with the Democratic Party today.

    Reply this comment
  6. Tax Target
    Tax Target 25 April, 2013, 14:20

    I consider the comrades in politburo to be an absolute embarrassment. These people know nothing about running the state. What they do know is creating more and more ways to spend other peoples’ money.

    There will be no Republican party left in this communist state. Why? Because any conservative with even the slightest bit of intelligence will leave for greener pastures. We’ve ceded to the democraps this wasteland of libtard heaven. I’m tired of fighting it, tired of being taxed to oblivion, tired of trying to assert a different point of view. I say let Kalifornsky fail – let it be it’s destiny.

    Reply this comment
  7. us citizen
    us citizen 25 April, 2013, 16:56

    Tax Target……….Im with ya. Im tired of fighting a losing battle. There was a question on another site on who wanted a new tax on sodas. It wasnt the soda that was the issue really. It was the taxes on it and absolutely none of those bozo’s got it. I have never seen such a group of ill informed, stupid, naive, individuals all in one group. I cant even be nice to them anymore because the stupidity is over whelming.

    Reply this comment
  8. Mike
    Mike 25 April, 2013, 17:15

    Tax Target nailed it. Leave the State and let it fall. Sell your real estate before your property is worth nothing. This State will shortly just be an extension of Mexico. People – we are out-numbered by the stupid liberals and the illegal aliens. A good warrior knows when it is time to retreat.

    Reply this comment
  9. Steve Mehlman
    Steve Mehlman 25 April, 2013, 17:46

    Don’t let the door hit you in the butt, Mike. Mississippi is lovely this time of year and you’ll fit right in ideologically.

    Reply this comment
  10. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 25 April, 2013, 20:12

    Now I have seen everything.
    SACRAMENTO — The state Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that would make California the first state in the nation to allow non-citizens who are in the country legally to serve on jury duty.

    Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said just as women were once kept off juries, the judicial system should be changed to allow a person to be judged by their peers. (What ….no race card as well, John? You’re slipping.)

    Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point: “Let’s not break something; it’s not broken now. Let’s not whittle away at what is reserved for U.S. citizens. There’s a reason for it.”


    Of course, “whittling away” is PRECISELY the intent, courtesy of the Democratic Party.

    This state has become Bizzaro World.


    Reply this comment
  11. us citizen
    us citizen 25 April, 2013, 21:25


    Reply this comment
  12. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 25 April, 2013, 22:28

    If a person is a documented and legal alien living in the state and receiving all of the benefits of our state and nation, why should they not be required to serve on a jury?

    Reply this comment
  13. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 26 April, 2013, 23:44

    Remember us when plan your move…..we love you guys!

    Reply this comment

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