JEFFRIES’ BILL TO END SECRET DEALS HAS YET TO GET A HEARING
ACA 8 to require public notice on all legislation
(Sacramento)– It’s been five months since Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries (R-Lake Elsinore) introduced ACA 8, which would prohibit the legislature from voting on bills without notifying the public 72 hours in advance and making the bill available in print for at least 24 hours. But so far, ACA 8 has yet to receive its first public hearing. “I find it ironic that a bill that would put an end to back room deals, is being held hostage in a backroom somewhere.” said Assemblyman Jeffries, “So much for ‘open and transparent’ government.”
Jeffries introduced the measure over frustration with how the California Legislature conducts its business. “Midnight amendments, being told to vote on measures just minutes after receiving the bill, you name it; the things that are demanded of us defies all decorum of good government.” declares Jeffries, “Local governments have to comply with similar posting requirements in the Brown Act, why shouldn’t the State Legislature?”
As the Legislature prepares to address the looming $24 billion budget shortfall, Jeffries predicts the majority party will most assuredly offer up a last minute budget proposal with little notice or time for review; and expect legislators to vote on it. “That is exactly what happened just a few months ago, during the last budget impasse.” Jeffries points out, “We were given language for a bunch of ‘tax and spend’ measures only a few hours before being asked to cast a vote on them. How can I be asked to vote on a bill that I haven’t had a chance to read?”
As a constitutional amendment, ACA 8 requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of the legislature and passage by a majority of California voters. “This amendment reinforces the bedrock principles of the First Amendment and public participation in our government, and I am confident that if the people of this state have the opportunity to vote for this measure, it will pass overwhelmingly. Frankly, I can’t even imagine an intelligent opposition campaign being waged on this issue,” said the Assemblyman. “The only motive for not passing this legislation is to keep the people in the dark.”
Assemblyman Kevin Jeffries represents Western Riverside County and Northern San Diego County, including the communities of Jurupa, Riverside, Lake Elsinore, Wildomar, Murrieta, Temecula, Fallbrook, Bonsall, Valley Center, and Julian.