Taft becomes first city in state to support return to part-time legislature
Council Grove endorsement
The Taft City Council became the first city in the state to endorse Assemblymember Shannon Grove's proposal for a part-time state legislature,.
The council gave and emphatic 5-0 vote of support for the proposed ballot initiative, called the “Citizen Legislature Act.”
Co-authored by Grove (R-Bakersfield) and Ted Costa, founder of The People's Advocate, if passed, the proposal would end nearly a half-century of a full-time state legislature and members of the assembly and state senate would serve only 90 days a year at dramatically reduced salaries.
Grove wanted to be in Taft Tuesday to personally discuss the proposal with the council but got called back to Sacramento.
Representative Javier Reyes spoke on her behalf.
He urged the council to take the lead.
“This is the city of Taft's declaration of independence from this legislature,” Reyes said.
Councilman Dave Noerr then launched into an impassioned speech supporting the proposal.
The state is in such sorry financial shape, Noerr said, that this may be the only way to save it.
“Radical change is necessary and its necessary now to save this state,” he said.
Noerr spoke at length in favor of Grove's proposal and against the current state of the state's government.
“If California was a private business, it would be seized by the SEC (Securities and exchange Commission),” Noerr said. “They would take what ever assets they have and the principals would be prosecuted.”
Noerr got unanimous support from Mayor Randy Miller and councilmen Orchel Krier, Paul Linder and Ron Waldrop.
The proposed measure would amend the California Constitution to roll back the clock to the pre-1966 legislature.
Before then, legislature met in limited session and passed two-year budgets every other year.?The Citizen Legislature Act would reverse the amendment that established a full-time legislature.
Under the proposal the legislature would meet for 30 days eachJanuary and start a 60 day session in May.
It could also reconvene for up to 5 days to vote on legislation vetoed by the governor.
Many other states use part-time legislatures, proponents say, and do much better than California.
Noerr said it works well in Texas.
“(The legislators) have to deal with the laws they pass,” he said. “They have to go out on those same mean streets and make a living.”
Noerr said a part-time legislature would bring a different attitude.
“They will come up there with the attitude that 'We have to do the people's business, we have to pass a budget and then we have to go back to work.”
Waldrop is gathering signatures at his business to place the proposal on the ballot for this November's general election and said he already has “10 pages full with signatures.”