Los Angeles Daily News Editorial Board: Bill is a mere shadow of open-government initiative

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today, the Los Angeles Daily News editorialized in support of the voter-supported ballot initiative, the California Legislature Transparency Act. The editorial ran in all eleven Southern California News Groups papers.

The California Legislature Transparency Act, a ballot initiative slated for the November statewide ballot will rein in special interests by requiring the legislature to post each bill online, in its final form, for at least 72 hours before a vote, post online a complete video record of every public legislative meeting within 24 hours, and allow all individuals to create and share their own recordings of legislative proceedings.

The ballot initiative has received endorsements from a bipartisan coalition that includes the League of Women Voters, First Amendment Coalition, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and many others.

Below are excerpts from the editorial, “Bill is a mere shadow of open-government initiative””

“There’s nothing like a good scare to make the state Legislature get religion. Open government is the “religion” we mean here. And the scare comes from the California Legislature Transparency Act, an initiative that appears headed for the November ballot.

Republican activist Charles T. Munger Jr. and Sam Blakeslee, a former state senator, are the primary sponsors of the California Legislature Transparency Act (CLTA), which would change the state constitution to require that all bills be available for public and legislative review at least 72 hours before they’re voted on; that all open proceedings of the Legislature must be recorded by the Legislature and those recordings be made available to the public, and that members of the public be allowed to record and broadcast or post on the Internet recordings of any open Legislative proceeding.

It would squeeze much of the secrecy out of the Legislature, especially those bills that have their contents replaced wholesale by something unrelated to the original subject — an insidious process known as gut-and-amend — and then get voted on before the public, or even legislators, can react.

But now that the CLTA will be put to voters rather than to self-interested legislators, Democrats are ramming through Senate Constitutional Amendment 14, by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Vacaville, which passed the Senate last week, the Assembly Rules Committee Tuesday and Assembly Appropriations this morning. SCA 14 has provisions that parallel those in the CLTA, but are weaker, with more escape clauses.

Why? Cynics might say it’s an attempt to keep the CLTA from becoming constitutional law, either by drawing more votes than that initiative in November or by confusing enough voters that both measures get rejected. Put us down as cynics.

Legislators should either drop their weaker, decoy initiative or write the stronger provisions of the CLTA into it — for true legislative transparency.”

Read the entire article here: http://tinyurl.com/zcse34k.

To learn more about the California Legislature Transparency Act or to join the coalition, visit the website at www.holdpoliticiansaccountable.org.