Broad-based Coalition Sends Letter to Governor Brown and Senate Pro Tem de León Regarding Assembly’s Lack of Adherence to Voter-Approved Prop. 54

Coalition warns that dozens of bills that passed out of Assembly without 72-hour notice risk invalidation

SACRAMENTO, CA – A broad-based group of Proposition 54 supporters today sent letters to Governor Jerry Brown and Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León expressing their dismay that more than 50 bills were passed out of the Assembly last week without observing the constitutional requirement that legislation must be printed, distributed to members, and published on the internet at least 72 hours before a final vote.  They noted that this action stands in stark contrast to the Senate’s compliance with the 72-hour requirement regarding bills it sent to the Assembly.

The letters, signed by League of Women Voters of California, California Common Cause, CALPIRG, NFIB California, California Forward, CalTax, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and Californians Aware, ask the governor to urge the legislature to adhere to the 72-hour rule, and Sen. de León to remedy the situation created by the Assembly to avoid important legislation being invalidated.

“The people of California overwhelming passed Prop. 54 to ensure adequate time for legislation to be reviewed and commented on by the public, and the actions of the Assembly on these bills flies in the face of voter will,” said Jonathan Stein, Board Chair of California Common Cause.

While the Assembly has taken the position that Proposition 54 only applies to a vote in the second house that passes a bill, Proposition 54 provides that, except where waived based upon a declaration of emergency by the Governor, “No bill may be passed or ultimately become a statute unless the bill with any amendments has been printed, distributed to the members, and published on the Internet, in its final form, for at least 72 hours before the vote . . . .”  (Cal. Const., art. IV, § 8, subd. (b)(2)).  Since a bill cannot be passed and become a statute unless each house passes the bill, it should be clear that the phrase, “[n]o bill may be passed or ultimately become a statute,” without at least 72 hours’ notice before the vote, cannot apply to only the second house.

“Out of respect for California voters, and to avoid the risk that critical legislation is invalidated, we hope the Assembly will remedy its actions to abide by the constitutional requirement that the public be given at least 72 hours to review proposed laws before it puts them to a vote,” said Helen Hutchison, President of the League of Women Voters of California.