ACA 25: Creates Legislative Proxy Voting/Secret Legislative Meetings

In 2016 the people of California, the voters, passed a ballot measure to make sure the Sacramento legislative process was open and transparent.  Now, legislators have determined you do not have a right to know what is going on, till after the fact—and then in vague terms.  Oh, and they do not have to show up for work—they can give a “proxy” to a colleague—and the folks in Glendale that elected an Assembly member, will actually be represented by someone from San Jose, someone they can not vote for or against or even know exists!

All it takes, as Dan Walters notes, is a State of emergency to exist in Modoc County (challenge:  Find that on a map) and the legislature can close the curtain to the public.

Sad to say, while most of the authors and sponsors are Democrats, as expected, one co-Author is GOP Minority Leader Marie Waldron and a co-sponsor is GOP Assemblyman Jordan Cunningham, from San Luis ““That the mere existence of ‘a state of emergency declared by the president of the United States or the governor’ would justify excluding the public from legislative proceedings, eliminating the right of the public to record them, or relieving the Legislature of its obligation to record and post its public proceedings, all in violation of the California Constitution, is also absurd,” they added.

Absurd indeed. ACA 25’s chief author, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, a San Mateo Democrat, and other legislators who have signed onto ACA 25 should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting the pandemic to undercut legislative transparency.”

I call this the “Hong Kong” response to freedom.  Shame, shame, shame.

Allowing Legislature to act more secretly

Dan Walters, CalMatters,  6/4/20 

Four years ago, despite fierce opposition from Democratic politicians, California voters passed Proposition 54, a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to be more transparent.

Nearly two-thirds of the state’s voters backed Proposition 54, which requires final versions of legislative bills to be in print and online at least 72 hours before final votes. It also requires the Legislature to make audiovisual recordings of its meetings and place them online within 24 hours.

It was aimed at the insidious practice of drafting bills in the dead of night, especially “trailer bills” to the state budget loaded with special interest goodies, and enacting them before anyone had an opportunity to know what they contained.

Lawmakers didn’t like the new law and have connived to get around it whenever they could. And now, a newly drafted constitutional amendment would not only undermine major portions of Proposition 54, but give legislators new authority to act secretly. They could even bar the public from their meetings, whenever the governor declares an emergency — such as the one Gov. Gavin Newsom has decreed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ostensibly, Assembly Constitutional Amendment 25 would allow legislators to attend legislative meetings and cast their votes on bills remotely, via webcasts or other electronic means, which sounds superficially plausible.

However, if enacted, it would go much further. It would allow proxy voting — a controversial practice now being employed in the House of Representatives — and give the Legislature authority to avoid posting videos of proceedings “if compliance is not practicable under the circumstances of the state of emergency.”

So, one might say, maybe all of those procedures might be warranted were a major calamity to befall California. But ACA 25 doesn’t require the emergency to apply statewide, but “within the state, or parts thereof…”

Therefore, were sparsely populated Modoc County in the northeastern corner of the state to have a wildfire serious enough for the governor to declare an emergency, the provisions of ACA 25 would kick in and the Legislature would be free to operate in secret.

Farfetched? The history of the California Legislature tells us that its members will fully exploit every opportunity to avoid transparency and thus accountability. Proposition 54 was written precisely to stop hide-the-pea procedures, such as misusing budget trailer bills.

The two men largely responsible for enacting Proposition 54 in 2016, former Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee and wealthy physicist Charles Munger Jr., are blowing the whistle on ACA 25, saying it “guts the provisions on transparency in the California Legislature that the voters enacted by passing Proposition 54.”

“The notion that it would be possible for legislators ‘through the use of technology and without being physically present in the State Capitol,’ to ‘attend and vote remotely in a legislative proceeding,’ without it also being possible to record the proceedings and post them on the Internet within 24 hours, is a palpable absurdity,” they wrote in a letter to legislative leaders.

“That the mere existence of ‘a state of emergency declared by the president of the United States or the governor’ would justify excluding the public from legislative proceedings, eliminating the right of the public to record them, or relieving the Legislature of its obligation to record and post its public proceedings, all in violation of the California Constitution, is also absurd,” they added.

Absurd indeed. ACA 25’s chief author, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, a San Mateo Democrat, and other legislators who have signed onto ACA 25 should be ashamed of themselves for exploiting the pandemic to undercut legislative transparency.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Really??? says

    This is not just a State issue.

    I have watched the concept of if you are not opposed you get elected (no chance for a grass roots opposition) and appointment of employee dictatorships. Hide in an item tho approve un-elected review of actions “before” it is taken.

    Proxy voting is a fraud on the voters and taxpayers.

    It is a trick to fool you, and it is mean spirited.

    This is Chinese Communists Light actions in Hong Kong.

    Is this they type of country you want?

  2. If people want to RIOT this is something to riot about,,,The Nazi legislature thinks that we will not do anything…you are wrong SAC TOWN…..YOU ARE DEAD WRONG

  3. Totallyfedup says

    This is the democrat socialist plan.
    Get as much power as possible in a small group of people who “claim” to vote the way of the people they represent, but they don’t have to and you will not know what they did.
    Why are we paying for all these representatives who give their voting rights to someone else?
    We may as well only have a small group in government setting all the rules?
    Gee, sounds just like the protesters and rioters who want to get rid of police.
    Next, we will have SS guards and concentration camps.
    Wake up people, you are helping to destroy the American way of life, for EVERYONE.

  4. Guess they believe that if it works for Pelosi it will work for them.

  5. Bogiewheel says

    The California voter must now understand that torpidity at the ballot
    box has contributed to eradicating democracy and law from this State and, has now, been replaced with a complacent collective Oligarchy. The voter, here and elsewhere, must understand the importance of
    the 2020 National election and not allow this Cabal in Sacramento to impact National statecraft.

  6. The only way this state can survive is for it to enable itself to be able to dip into the national treasury. instead of temperatures being taken in this election we need to take pulses.

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