Lawmaker Wants To Get Rid of 2/3rds Vote Budget Rule

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(Sacramento, CA)
Monday, February 23, 2009

The way California lawmakers approve a state budget is being challenged.
Fed up with the legislative battle over the just passed budget…a senator and some citizen groups are urging voters to change the two-thirds rule.

Democratic senator Loni Hancock of Berkeley is introducing a bill that calls for only a simple majority of 50-percent plus one.  That would replace the two-thirds vote now needed in the legislature to advance a budget to the governor. 
Hancock says the super majority process has led to budget stalemates year after year…and its time for reform… 
“It takes away good will, it takes away accountablilty.  It leads to very bad decisions and cuts to social service programs such as health care and education and it’s just not right…”
Hancock says her measure asks voters to throw out the old budget rule by amending the constitution in an upcoming special election.
But, she acknowledges that legislators probably won’t pass her measure and it has a better chance as an initiative. 
Currently there are two voter petition drives underway to change the budget process.   Some republican legislators want to keep the two-thirds rule as it is.  They say assures the minority party has a say in budget making.