First Assembly Constitutional Amendment of the New Legislative Session a Non-Starter

The first constitutional amendment in the Assembly introduced in the two-year legislative session that began December 3 won’t be appearing on the state ballot.

First, a two-thirds vote is required to place it on the ballot. That’s great if the author were a Democrat who hold super-majorities in both the Assembly and the Senate and, should they wish to, can palce anything they want before voters without a single GOP vote.

Unfortunately, the author of the measure, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Hesperia, is a Republican.

On the off chance Donnelly can escape political reality, the policy change proposed in the constitutional amendment is unlikely to win anywhere near the support he needs to get the measure on the ballot.

Donnelly wants all regulations created by any “state agency” to be approved by the Legislature before they regulations can become effective.

Entities like the Office of Administrative Law already conduct a far more thorough analysis of proposed regulations than the Legislature ever would. As proof, the Legislature’s penchant for routinely passing the statutes that subsequent regulations implement with little or no debate.

Finally, Donnelly seeks to name his change to the state constitution the “Write the Laws Act.”

The constitution already empowers the Legislature to write California laws. Lawmakers have had that power since statehood, 152 years ago.

Confining the deficiencies of Donnelly’s proposed title to its face, California’s laws – and any regulations that follow – are already written down. They are not, nor have they ever been, passed down from generation to generation in, say, the oral tradition of Homer.

Perhaps the constitutional amendment is simply a publicity gimmick – paid for at public expense – to help Donnelly win greater statewide name identification.

Recently, Donnelly formed an exploratory committee to run for governor in 2014. His slogan is “Patriot, Politician.”

In 2011, Donnelly tried to qualify a referendum of a law known as the Dream Act that allows some undocumented immigrants to attend state colleges at lower in-state rates.

Like his constitutional amendment this year, the referendum didn’t get enough support to make it on the ballot.



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