California Democrats fast-tracked another bill Thursday designed to rig the recall election process and protect their supermajority status by saving an embattled state senator from a recall effort.
The latest attempt to undermine the recall of State Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) is a bill to allow voters to remove their signatures from the recall petition, which passed both chambers of the legislature Thursday and was immediately signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Democrats claim voters were tricked into signing by being told they would repeal the new gas tax, but Republicans are crying foul.
According to an Associated Press story, Democrats say their new law is about protecting democracy, not theit supermajority:
“This bill is not about protecting us,” said Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning, D-Carmel. “It’s about protecting the fundamental democratic right of a voter to be informed honestly and truthfully with what they sign and ensuring they have recourse in the event they find that they were deceived.”
Republicans have been working tirelessly to recall Newman ever since he cast a decisive vote to increase the gasoline tax y 12 cents. Democrats have attempted to obstruct, delay and rig the recall election by any means necessary — including sneaking an amendment into the state’s budget bill to delay the election until November 2018, which was later struck down by a judge.
Later the state’s Democrat-controlled ethics watchdog panel voted to allow elected officials to transfer unlimited amounts from their massive war chests to Newman’s recall defense.
The California GOP has staked its comeback on the fight over the gas tax, putting millions into the recall effort, which looked like a sure thing until eight Republican legislators voted for a cap-and-trade bill that will raise gas prices between 63 and 73 cents per gallon, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analysts Office (LAO).
This latest delaying tactic could push the recall election out to the 2018 primary, ostensibly to allow the state’s Department of Finance (DOF) to review the costs of holding the special election. But according to the Los Angeles Times, one Republican senator is calling the lengthy delays completely unnecessary:
“I’m real frustrated by the gamesmanship,” said state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) during Thursday’s Senate debate on the bill. On the verification of election costs, Moorlach said, “Some of this stuff could be done in three hours.”
The new law will give Democrats a fighting chance of holding onto Newman’s seat, as turnout at a regularly-scheduled election is better than at a randomly-held special recall election, which favors the opposition.
Newman and his supporters claim that he has over 2250 signers who wish to recant their signatures, but Republicans do not plan on giving up the fight, citing the large number of signatures already collected, according to the Sacramento Bee.