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Brown squashes DeSaulnier’s initiative reform bill

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 at 5:41 pm in California Legislature, California Senate, campaign finance, Initiative petitions.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord

State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier,  D-Concord, is displeased with Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of a bill that would have forced the paid signature gatherers in front of local grocery and discount stores to disclose the fact to the public.

Senate Bill 448 would have required individuals who are paid to circulate an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to wear a badge identifying him or her as a “paid signature gatherer,” according to DeSaulnier’s office. The bill would have had no effect on those who voluntarily circulate petitions.

In his veto message, Brown called the measure “provocative” but not “persuasive.”

But DeSaulnier is “disappointed by Governor Brown’s veto.  Our initiative process is broken and this bill would have taken a modest but important step toward fixing it.”

SB 448 would have required individuals who are paid to circulate an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to wear a badge identifying him or her as a “paid signature gatherer”.  The bill would have had no effect on those who voluntarily circulate petitions.

Signature gatherers are often paid based on the number of signatures they collect and most know little and care even less about the initiatives they hawk.

“Currently, the average voter has no way of knowing whether the person circulating a petition is a civic-minded volunteer or is the employee of a moneyed political operation,” DeSaulnier said in a news release.  “This is not what Governor Hiram Johnson intended when he created the initiative process in 1911.”

 

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  • Ralph Hoffmann

    I’m also disappointed by Governor Brown’s veto.

  • Rick K.

    DeSaulnier ain’t a real “reformer.” Some special interest group, probably some fat-rear-ended union boss, very likely put DeSaulnier up to sponsoring this bill. His union benefactors are terrified that the people of California might overturn some of the overly generous and fiscally irresponsible legislation that solely benefits public employees at the expense of public education, public health and effective government. If DeSaulnier were a true reformer, he’d ‘fess up to his irresponsible vote as county supervisor in Oct. 2002 to shower overly generous retroactive benefits on public employees, a move that is nearly bankrupting the county. However, DeSaulnier has done nothing to correct his unforgiveable error. DeSaulnier also deserves some of the blame for the scandalous “pension spiking” with unused vacation pay by county employees that is discussed in the front page article in today’s Times. More important, DeSaulnier refuses to support repeal of S.B. 400, the irresponsible 1999 state law that created the ridiculous 3% at 50 pension scheme for state employees. The 3% at 50 pension scheme should’ve been repealed for new employees, at least, early in the state’s fiscal crisis, but state firefighters, CHP officers and prison guards have bought off Gov. Brown and most legislators. It’s much easier to close schools in poor cities than to force retired public employees to “get by” with $95,000 a year pensions instead of $100,000 pensions. Marky Mark, cry me a river with your crocodile tears over your failed “reform effort.”

  • Elwood

    Marky Mark is a puppet of the unions and the dimmiecrat leadership.

    When one of them says JUMP Marky Mark says “How high?”.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    This bill takes a fly swatter to fight off a dive bomber. The initiative system needs drastic reform if not abolition. As for telling apart concerned citizens from paid hacks, a minute or two spent chatting should make the difference fairly obvious.

  • Patty O’Day

    I am one of the volunteers that often stands in front of Safeway and asks for signatures to put propositions on the ballot. I see absolutely nothing wrong with having paid signature gatherers, as long as they behave and are not inappriately agressive. I do not get paid for what I do, but I don’t mind if they do. Paid signature gatherers work for both sides, you know.

    I think this bill was a stupid waste of time, money and energy. I understand that now, some in the Assembly are trying to pass a bill that says that AFTER signature gatherers get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the state can then go in and CHANGE the wording of the proposition! We have an initiative process in California. These politicians are trying to take away the voters rights.

  • John W

    Re: #4

    What RR said. Every word of it. Amen!

    One thing I’ve always wondered, however. If we abolished the California initiative system, or significantly reformed it with higher standards and hurdles, what do we do about lousy initiatives already on the books. By what means do we get rid of those.

    At the very least, any law passed by initiative (including constitutional amendments that really should be statutes) should have a sunset.

  • Emil Lawton

    It is rediculous to have a mere MAJOITY wrie an amendment into the conststution for the state whereas in the US gov. it is so much more difficult.

  • For Liberty

    I applaud Brown’s vetoes this week.

    With all the time spent on those bills that ultimately were vetoed for good reasons chosen by Brown, suggests the need for a part-time legislature, as we see in other states.

  • Elwood

    “the need for a part-time legislature, as we see in other states”

    Amen to that!

  • John W

    I don’t think the Sacramento “bill mill” is so much due to the full-time legislature as it is a byproduct of term limits. You end up with first termers in key leadership and committee positions, lacking the experience, institutional knowledge and power to exert strong leadership and manage the agenda. So you end up with every man for himself, trying to come up with some easy-to-pass feel-good legislation, so that he or she can put legislative “achievement” points on the board.