Experts Expound

Experts Expound

“On the theory that the less time you’re here, the less damage you can do: Is it time for a part-time Legislature?”

 I don’t suppose doing away with Democrats is a possibility.

That is the $41-billion question. And the answer, in all likelihood, is directly proportional to the number of hours spent in futile debate. And in a cruel irony for Republicans, the same voters who like their no-tax pledge will be the base for a part-time Legislature measure.

Yes, but only if it is tripled in size and made non-partisan.


No. It would further empower non-electeds.

Yes, or at least to have limits put on the length of sessions.  The Legislature is a classic case of the old saying: If you give a guy a simple job to do, and give him all day to do it, he’ll take all day.  There should be something on the order of six-month sessions every year, with a certain adjournment date.

States like Oregon and Wyoming manage well with a part-time legislature. California’s size and economy requires a full time body. However it needs a functioning one!

The silliness of the last several days is the strongest evidence yet  of the need for a part-time legislature. Rather than wasting untold  hours posturing and bickering, members on both sides of the aisle would benefit immensely from more than occasional exposure to their  constituents.

That’s the same kind of thinking that brought us term limits. Look at how that’s turned out. If you want to limit the number of silly laws, cut down the number of bills each legislator can put forward each year, create a higher standard for passing new spending programs, or better yet, run for governor. If you’re in favor of a part time Legislature, your idea of “silly laws” probably includes things like worker protections, minimum wage increases and environmental regulations.

Checked any members’ calendars recently? We already have one.

As long as they keep a fulltime staff.


Unfortunately, that might be the best solution, short of a constitutional convention and starting from scratch.

But the fact is California is the 8th largest economy in the world, it is a complicated and crowed state and its problems – including that it may be on the verge of not paying its bills and defaulting on its bonds – are huge. Term limits did away with any possibility for the Legislature to become experienced and educated. The unintended effects of term limits are that the bureaucrats (and our friends in the third house) are now in charge and no one in the Legislature has a long enough institutional memory to understand when the bureaucrats are being – shall we say – less than forthright in their interaction with the Legislature.

So rather than do away with a full time Legislature, how about we do away with term limits?

Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Elizabeth Ashford, Mark Bogetich, Barry Brokaw, Morgan Crinklaw, J Dale Debber, Peter DeMarco, Jim Evans, Kathy Fairbanks, Jeff Fuller, Rex Frazier, Ken Gibson, Evan Goldberg, Deborah Gonzalez, Sandy Harrison, Bob Hertzberg, Jason Kinney, Mike Madrid, Nicole Mahrt, Steve Maviglio,  Adam Mendelsohn, Barbara O’Connor, Bill Packer, Kassy Perry, Jack Pitney, Adam Probolsky, Tony Quinn, Matt Rexroad, Matt Ross, Roger Salazar, Dan Schnur, Will Shuck, Ralph Simoni, Sam Sorich, Ray Sotero, Garry South, Kevin Spillane, Rich Zeiger.

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