California Legislators Pulling a Fast One?

Am I the only one who gets annoyed with the games being played year after year in Sacramento?

Recently, I received notification from the California Legislative website that a bill I had been monitoring was amended. So, of course I checked it out, to see what our good legislators have in store for us lowly citizens.

Now I really don’t intend to single out any one legislator for reproach, so just for examples sake, we’ll look at AB 324 submitted by Assemblyman Mountjoy, merely because this was a bill that I have been monitoring. Not because I have anything personal against it’s contents.

The original bill, a placeholder, stated the intent was to provide that a correctional facility may not deny a clergy member access to the facility because of specified actions by that clergy member. The bill had several inherent flaws, which I shall not address.  Needless to say, it was poorly worded and would have created more problems than it solved.

The problem I have with this particular bill is that it was totally gutted and now addresses faith and morals based programs. This bill is not typical in that it still relates to correctional facilities, for that I credit Assemblyman Mountjoy.

I made a few telephone calls of inquiry to find out just how this works and was informed by Assemblyman Mountjoy’s office that the changes, in fact all changes of this nature, must be germane and approved by the appropriate rules committee. Mountjoy’s office also said that every rule can be waived for cause.

If every rule can be waived, why then do we even have rules? What is the purpose of the rules and who if anyone actually abides by them.  I was told that the majority party makes the rules and decides who can break them.

This doesn’t seem quite right to me. Do we have rules of convenience? Which are waived for any reason if the majority party likes it that way?

Curious about how it all works, I placed a call in to the Assembly Rules Committee, to speak with Leo Lopez at (916) 319-2000, who was unavailable and has yet to return my call.

Placeholder bills are problematic because the bill is often changed and not always germane. This is even more the case, the closer it gets to the closing of the legislative session.

Drastic bill changes allowed during the waning hours of a legislative calendar year are often terrible pieces of legislation, poorly written, which have not been properly scrutinized by the public. They slip in under the radar and those who are adversely affected by such a bill, often have no knowledge of it’s contents.

One advantage I can see for eliminating this practice, would be that fewer bills would be introduced each calendar year. If the bill could not be converted into another piece of legislation, there would be no need for placeholder bills. 

I would like to see the number of bills reduced to a manageable number. With between 4,000 and 5,000 bills introduced each year in just the State of California, there is no way each legislator has read and understands exactly what he’s voting on.

Am I the only person in California concerned about the practice of using placeholder bills and excessive waiver use by the Senate and Assembly Rules Committee’s?