Does California Want A Constitutional Convention?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A constitutional convention is gaining momentum in California.  Supporters held a summit in Sacramento today (Tuesday 2.24) to outline their goals…get the public excited about reform and to vent a little about the state’s political system.   
It’s been a century since California’s last constitutional convention.    Although there have been more than 500 amendments to the state constitution since 1849…some policy makers say  we’re ready for a major overhaul… 
“The time is right to deal with major fundamental flaws in the current California Constitution…
California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi is among those pushing for reform.  And, he’s running for governor.  Garamendi says lawmakers should be able to serve longer than current term limits. 
He even wants to get rid of the state senate and assembly and instead create a “single” legislative body: known as “unicameral” governing… 
“If you did a unicameral legislative body of 120 people…same number of legislators we have today…but not in two houses but one house…makes sense to me…”
Voters would have to weigh in on the idea of a constitutional convention and make changes as a result.

“the mood of the public in this state is about as negative as it has been in decades…”
That’s David Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates.  The research firm recently conducted a poll gauging the public “mood” about constitutional change… 
“Most voters are upset with the way state government is fuctioning and they are eager to improve it…reform it and make it operate more efficiently.  The idea of a constitutional convention…though not surprisingly is one they are mostly unfamiliar with…”
But, Metz says most voters are ready for change.  His survey indicates people in California are pretty fed up with the 2/3rds legislative vote required to pass a state budget.  And, he says the open primary question that will appear on next year’s ballot…is getting support by more than half of those polled.
A constitutional convention wouldn’t be cheap.  The legislative analyst estimates it would cost taxpayers about 23-million dollars.