Understanding Is Always Eased by Well-Defined Terms

For those Californians who think their tax dollars are squandered or ill-spent, visit the “Glossary of Legislative Terms” at www.leginfo.ca.gov/guide.html#Appendix_B.

It’s Appendix B but deserves far higher billing.

Among it’s “Across the Desk” to “Voice Vote” listings – no legislative terms worthy of inclusion apparently begin with W, X, Y or Z – is “lobbyist.”

For which the glossary says to see “legislative advocate.”

A “legislative advocate” is “an individual (commonly known as a lobbyist) engaged to present to legislators the views of a group or organization.

“The law requires formal registration with the Secretary of State if an individual’s lobbying activity exceeds 25 contacts with decision makers in a two-month period.”

Elsewhere, “hijack” is also defined. In the insular world of the Legislature, it has nothing to do with cars or airplanes.

Instead it is the “adoption of amendments that delete the contents of a bill and insert provisions on a different subject (see Germaneness). May occur with or without the author’s permission.”

Regularly referenced by former state Sen. Newt Russell, a Pasadena Republican, “germaneness” is defined as “the legislative rule requirement that an amendment to a bill be relevant to the subject matter of the bill as introduced.”

(Are there rules that don’t require something?)

Further: “The Legislative Counsel may be asked to opine on germaneness but the matter is subject to final determination by the full Assembly or the Senate Committee on Rules.”

A “Casting Vote” is different than a “casting couch” although both lead to consummation of a sort.

In the Legislature, a “casting vote” is the deciding vote the lieutenant governor provides to break a tie in the 40-member Senate.

“Lay on the table” is more than a command or an action involving napkins and cutlery.

It is a “motion to temporarily postpone consideration of a matter before a committee or the house, such that the matter may later be brought up for consideration by a motion to ‘take from the table.’ 

COLA, a reader learns, is not a soft drink but an acronym for “cost-of-living-adjustment.”

The glossary does not note that “adjustment” is a synonym for “increase” in legislative parlance.

Of course that would change the acronym to “COLI” which, unpleasantly, is all too often prefaced by “E.”






Filed under: News, Venting

1 Comment »

  1. A little more effort, and you could pass for Ambrose Bierce!
    Keep it up!

    Comment by Clay Jackson — 12.15.2011 @ 3:25 pm

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