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FlashReport Weblog on California Politics

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Kevin Dayton

Unions Tempt Republicans with “Bipartisanship” Lure: Five Tips for Resistance

Two Republicans in the California State Legislature are now voting for legislation sponsored by the state’s construction unions, following several years of unified, principled caucus resistance to such schemes. One might think that former Republican legislators Brett Granlund, Anthony Pescetti, and Ken Maddox are back from term-limited exile, in disguise.

Union leaders and lobbyists are thrilled! They can now label their costly, self-serving bills as “bipartisan” while labeling their more principled critics as “extremist.”

A Bipartisan Attack on Constitutional Rights, Local Control, and Fiscal Responsibility

Most prominent among the union-backed bills with Republican support is Senate Bill 7. This bill would withhold state funding for any of the state’s 121 charter cities that exercise their right under the state constitution to set their own government-mandated wage rate policies for purely municipal construction.

SB 7 undermines the principle of local control over local funds and the fundamental structure of constitutional federalism. It also punishes fiscally responsible cities that recognize how state-mandated… Read More

Katy Grimes

Really good state budget transparency bills – will they be killed?

In 2012, the state Legislature passed 80 budget “spot” bills — empty bills with no details. Such measures just sit on a shelf and await last-minute bill language, then are put forward for late-night passage on the last day of the budget session.

These are often the most controversial bills of each session. When lawmakers use them to avoid the legislative process, which requires committee hearings for all bills, it is clear that their goal is to avoid transparency and public involvement.

This has long been the norm. It has arguably been encouraged since the 2010 adoption of Propositions 25 and 26 into the state Constitution, allowing the Legislature to pass a budget on a simple majority vote and requiring a supermajority vote to pass fees and taxes by the Legislature, respectively. Lawmakers routinely take major policy changes and potential tax increases and drop them in trailer bill language.

Gorell and other Assembly Republicans target ‘waste, fraud and abuse’

To counter this practice, Assembly Republicans are pushing budget reform and transparency measures.… Read More