An initiative just cleared for signature-gathering today that would increase the size of the state legislature by 100-fold. And no, that’s not a misprint.
The measure calls for creating neighborhood-based elected Assembly districts for every 5,000 people and Senate districts for every 10,000 people. Today, a senate district has 1 million people.
Interestingly, analysts say operating the new legislature would cost taxpayers less; the measure includes reduced pay and other costs. But it would drive up election costs by tens of millions of dollars.
I can hear the sound of political consultants rubbing their hands together already.
Read the Secretary of State’s release below.
Legislative Process Initiative Enters Circulation
Legislature Expansion. Legislative Process. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
SACRAMENTO – Secretary of State Debra Bowen today announced that the proponent of a new initiative may begin collecting petition signatures for his measure.
The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that is required to appear on initiative petitions. When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the proponent and to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then provides calendar deadlines to the proponent and to county elections officials, and the initiative may be circulated for signatures. The Attorney General’s official title and summary for the measure is as follows:
LEGISLATURE EXPANSION. LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Increases size of Legislature almost 100-fold by dividing current Assembly and Senate districts into neighborhood districts such that each Assemblymember represents about 5,000 persons and each Senator represents about 10,000 persons. Provides for neighborhood district representatives to elect working committees the size of the current Assembly and Senate, 80 Assemblymembers and 40 Senators. Gives working committees the legislative power generally, and sole power to amend bills, but requires approval by appropriate vote of the full membership in each house for passage of any non-urgency bill. Reduces legislators’ pay and expenditures. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Decreased state spending on the Legislature of over $180 million annually. Increased county election costs, potentially in the range of tens of millions of dollars initially and lower amounts annually thereafter. (11-0067.)
The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1540 and the Attorney General’s tracking number is 11-0067.
The proponent for this measure, John Cox, must collect signatures of 807,615 registered voters – the number equal to eight percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2010 gubernatorial election – in order to qualify it for the ballot. The proponent has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by June 1, 2012.
The initiative proponent can be reached at (847) 274-8814.
To sign up for regular ballot measure updates via email, RSS feed, or Twitter, go to www.sos.ca.gov/multimedia.
To view this and other Secretary of State press releases, go to www.sos.ca.gov/admin/news-releases.htm.