Among the myriad propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot is one we feel we should weigh in on.
Proposition 54, the California "Legislature Transparency Act" Amendment, may not sound nearly as interesting as others. However, this has the potential to transform the way our state legislature operates and gives the press and the public access to information they should have had all along.
The 17 state measures include a wide array of topics including gun control, marijuana legalization, condoms and the death penalty. Proposition 54, the California "Legislature Transparency Act" Amendment, may not sound nearly as interesting. However, this has the potential to transform the way our state legislature operates and gives the press and the public access to information they should have had all along.
Ultimately it would remove the veil of secrecy and "We The People" will actually know what is written in the bills the elected representatives are voting on -- and so will the elected representatives.
The amendment would require bills before the legislature, except in cases of public emergency, to be published on the internet in their final form at least 72 hours before a vote. It also requires the legislature to post video of its proceedings online.
The manner in which some bills are passed is shameful.
Last-minute changes and rushed middle-of-the-night votes can and have led to votes on bills that have radically changed from inception, with little knowledge of what is actually being voted on -- certainly by the public and the press, but even by the legislators.
Prop 54 would give elected representatives a chance to read and understand what they are voting on, and give the public and the press an opportunity to do the same.
The ability to know what is included in a bill shouldn't even be questioned in a democracy, and it is frustrating this hasn't been mandated before now. The California League of Women Voters, California NAACP, California Chamber of Commerce, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the First Amendment Coalition are among the groups backing the proposition.
It seems the only group opposing the measure is the California Democratic Party, stating it, "provides special interests like tobacco, oil, and drug companies with new powers to block timely legislative action on key issues facing our state." We are hard-pressed to imagine a public emergency involving special interest groups like the ones mentioned, or a situation when three days becomes a "block" instead of a necessary "breath."
We support Proposition 54 because it will allow people and the press to participate in the democratic process if they so choose. More importantly, it will increase transparency in the legislative process and allow voters -- the people who are ultimately affected by legislation -- to hold their representatives accountable.