Proposition 54 on the Nov. 8 ballot would make California lawmakers more accountable and end the practice of last-minute legislation being stuff down the throats of California citizens.
There are two main components of the California Legislature Transparence Act. The first is it would require all public meetings of the Legislature to be recorded and those recordings made available. Most importantly, it would prohibit the Legislature from passing any bill unless it has been in print and published on the Internet for at least 72 hours before the vote, except in case of public emergency.
All too often the Legislature has rammed through legislation that many times is not even published. Lawmakers are being forced to vote on bills — mostly during the final hours of a legislative session — without knowing what they are voting for. The Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is one example of significant legislation passed without proper discussion and without input from the stakeholders.
The Legislative Analyst’s office estimates the bill could have a one-time cost of $1 million and ongoing costs of about $1 million annually, but we feel 10 times that much could be saved from bad legislation being passed, especially bills where lawmakers at the last minutes attach something to a bill, normally funding for a pet project.
We laugh at the argument that Prop. 54 “would throw a monkey wrench into the ability of our elected officials to get things done.” That is saying what taxpayers don’t know won’t hurt them.
We do agree that if legislators were given bills 72 hours in advance to study them, their votes might be different. Again, what Prop. 54 really ends is that last-minute practice of tacking something on a bill, a way of sneaking something past the public.
Vote yes on Prop. 54.