Proposition 25: No Budget, No Paycheck! The California Legislature has five days to complete work on a state budget or risk missing the Constitutional deadline. What’s new, you ask, they have missed the deadline in 24 of the past 25 years.
What’s new is that THIS TIME as a consequence of Proposition 25 approved in the November 2010 election if the Legislature fails to approve the budget on time the State Controller must stop paying them. California lawmakers are paid $95,291 per year in addition to a daily expense allowance of $141.86 on days the Legislature is in session so each day the budget is late after June 15th will cost them $403.93. Since most of the legislators consider it their full time job this is a serious consequence, but there is more—-any compensation withheld is considered forfeited and cannot be paid retroactively.
Proposition 11: Redistricting Hits Home. Proposition 11 approved by California voters in 2008 gave authority to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission to redistrict State Legislative seats, Congressional Districts and seats on the State board of Equalization. As you can imagine, the Legislature hates this idea because it undermines the careful gerrymandering done to protect incumbents. It worked too—in the November 2010 election not a single incumbent legislator was defeated. But this week the California Citizens Redistricting Commission released the first draft redistricting maps using new census data and input from citizens across the State.
Shock would be a mild term for the legislative reaction. Virtually no district was the same since the plan was to assure that the election contests are competitive. Independent analysis of the first draft of maps from the California Citizens Redistricting Commission by the Public Policy Institute of California said the proposed boundary changes would more than doubles the number of competitive congressional and legislative seats. PPIC says the Assembly would gain 7 competitive seats for a total of 16; the Senate would see a gain of 6 competitive seats for a total of 9. The US House of Representatives would gain 5 competitive seats for a total of 9 out of 53.
PPIC defines “competitive” as any voter registration within 5% for Republicans and 10% for Democrats because it says Democratic voters crossed party lines more often than Republican voters.
Proposition 14: Open Primary Elections. Adding insult to this injury, the voters also approved a new primary election rules advancing the top two vote-getters to the General Election regardless of party. Meaning two Democrats or two Republicans or two Tea Party types could be nominated by voters. This seriously messes with the ability of the political parties to engineer the elections, but since a growing share of California voters are officially “decline to state” or independent it forces the candidates to broaden their appeal rather than courting only the base in their own party. The objective is to encourage a more centrist set of candidates and to breakdown the partisan gridlock that has held up decision in the Legislature.
- California Redistricting Commission Releases First Draft of New District Maps (elections.firedoglake.com)
- Fair redistricting? It is to laugh (maureenholland.wordpress.com)
- California Voting Map Stirs Criticism (online.wsj.com)
- California to get first look at new political maps (sfgate.com)
- Controller Announces No Pay for Legislators Absent Balanced Budget by June 15 Deadline (yubanet.com)
- Controller to legislators: No budget, no pay (sfgate.com)