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The dangers of one-party government

Blank legislation, veto-proof bills, absolute power: why the supermajority has to go

California's government, like any government, needs checks and balances to prevent one person or a group of people from abusing power.

With a two-thirds supermajority in both the state Assembly and the state Senate, one political party can ram through tax increases, regulatory schemes, and wild spending sprees. Even the governor can't stop an out-of-control legislature that has the votes to override a veto.

In the Assembly, two seats would be enough to break the supermajority and put a stop to abusive practices like spot bills -- blank legislation passed with nothing written on the page except a bill number and the words, "To be filled in later." At some later point, something is written on the bill by lobbyists and staffers in a closed room, and then the bill comes back to the floor for an up or down vote -- no amendments, no debate, no hearings, no public comment. Spot bills. Why is this even legal?

Another abusive practice is "gut-and-amend." This is the legislative trick of bringing an uncontroversial bill to the floor, stripping all the language out of it, and replacing the uncontroversial bill with something entirely different, then voting immediately to pass it.

Whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, an independent or a member of another political party, I think we can all agree that our government should be transparent, responsible, and cautious when making laws that affect the lives and finances of all Californians.


Susan Shelley for Assembly
FPPC ID #1355796
20121 Ventura Blvd., Suite 206
Woodland Hills, CA 91364