Bay Area billionaire and moderate Republican mega-donor Charles Munger, Jr. has proposed a transparency measure, the California Legislative Transparency Act, likely to qualify for the ballot this November. However, Democrats in Sacramento may try to stop it first.
Munger’s measure would require that proposed legislation be published in its final form and available to the public at least 72 hours before it can come up for final votes for passage in the California State Senate and Assembly. It also contains language that would require that all public proceedings that take place in the legislative process be filmed and made public within 24 hours, and that the public be allowed to film public proceedings as well.
Many of the worst votes in Sacramento happen in “last-minute” deals in the State Capitol, where there is no opportunity for legislators to hear input from anyone not in the middle of negotiations. In almost all of these bad deals, special interest groups win and taxpayers lose.
Because of a change made to the initiative process, the proponent(s) of a measure may withdraw it if some suitable compromise is made with the legislature. The upside to proponents is that they secure some of what they want without having to wage an expensive referendum campaign. Some compromise proposals, however, are worse than no measure at all.
Breitbart News has learned that Democratic legislative leaders are working on an alternative ballot measure to stop Munger’s transparency measure. Furthermore, special interest groups are busy concocting a plan to put forward their own ballot measure, which at this late date can only happen by an act of the legislature – which would require Republican votes, as it takes a two-thirds vote of each chamber.
But there is no incentive at all for Munger to play ball with legislators, since his measure will enjoy such popular support it will pass overwhelmingly with a minimal campaign.
The only reason for Munger to pull his measure would be if the legislature voted to place something on the ballot that would be better than what is already headed to the ballot — an unlikely outcome under normal circumstances.
However, Democrats may find a Republican who is looking for his or her thirty pieces of silver or some cushy appointment as term limits kick in.
This is one of those rare instances where all that is necessary for good to happen is for good people to do nothing. If legislators who believe in transparency simply refuse to go along with the Capitol insider play, they — and the people — win.
The “players” in the Capitol would like nothing better than to have two competing measures on the ballot, and possibly confuse voters, and maybe defeat both. They love the status quo.
This transparency ballot measure is important, and is on its way to qualifying and passing. In a state where wins for the good guys are becoming fewer and farther between, let’s not screw up this one.
Jon Fleischman is the Politics Editor of Breitbart California. A longtime participant, observer and chronicler of California politics, Jon is also the publisher at www.flashreport.org. His column appears weekly on this page. You can reach Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org.