California Senior Advocates League Executive Director Explains Why Voters Should Approve Prop. 54 on November 8th

November 2, 2016 –  Deborah Howard, Executive Director of the California Senior Advocates League opined in the Modesto Bee in support of Prop. 54, a statewide initiative on the November 2016 ballot that will rein in the power of special interests and give voters a stronger voice in the State Legislature.

Below are excerpts from the op-ed: “Prop. 54 finally brings transparency to our capitol”:

“California cities, counties and state agencies must adhere to transparency rules to ensure the public’s right to know. Which is a very good thing for our democracy.

So why then does our state legislature, the body that makes the laws all Californians must live under, get to avoid the same level of transparency? With passage of Proposition 54, this will no longer be the case.

Now, the state legislature can introduce a new law about one subject then, at the last minute, change some or all of the language in the law – often to address a completely different subject matter – and push that proposed law through the approval process in a matter of hours. The public never has the opportunity to review it or provide input. When this happens, even legislators barely have time to read the proposed laws that are being approved…

Prop. 54 will stop this practice. Under Prop. 54 all proposed state laws will have to be in print, distributed to legislators and posted online for 72 hours before a final vote can be taken by legislators. In addition, all public legislative hearings must be recorded and posted online within 24 hours so those of us who cannot travel to Sacramento to attend hearings, or who do not have the means to hire lobbyists to monitor proposed legislation, can know what is going on. Prop. 54 also allows the public – from the capitol’s galleries – to record legislative proceedings and share what they have recorded with others.

…Hundreds of local governments and state agencies have been providing such transparency for years…

Under Prop. 54, transparency in our legislature will come into line with that of local governments and state agencies. It’s the right thing to do.

Prop. 54 is supported by a broad and diverse list of individuals and organizations who often don’t agree on much, but agree it is time we all have access to what is going on at the Capitol. Supporters include the League of Women Voters, League of California Cities, California Chamber of Commerce, California Common Cause, National Federation of Independent Business, Latin Business Association, California NAACP, California Senior Advocates League and the Planning and Conservation League, among many others.

Prop. 54 will result in more access to state government and the laws that affect us – ensuring the public’s right to know. I hope Bee readers will join me in voting Yes on Prop. 54. We deserve the transparency it will create.”

To learn more about Proposition 54 or to join the coalition, visit the website at

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