Tuesday, July 4

4th of July Political Fireworks

Today's a good day to talk politics. We're going to hear from California State Assemblyman, Ray Haynes, who wrote this yesterday in his Monday Morning Memorandum:

Rules? What Rules?

"I have tried on many occasions to explain to people exactly what happens in the legislative process, that is, how committees are organized, how they vote, who influences those committee outcomes, and how the legislative rules actually work. Usually, by the time I am finished explaining how the Legislature really works, most people look at me with a dull, blank stare, and say “that can’t be happening, you must be lying. You are just a partisan hack.”

"I may be a partisan hack, but that doesn’t change reality, and this week demonstrated just how badly the Legislature can use the rules to subvert the will of the majority.

"SB 1437, by Senator Sheila Kuehl, prohibits schools from using textbooks that “discriminate” against homosexuals, and requires that these textbooks “include age-appropriate study of the role and contributions of … people who are [homosexual]…” The bill was referred to both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Education Committee, both of which passed it out. It passed the Senate Floor on a 22-15 votes (all Senate Republicans voting no).

"The bill came to the Assembly, and was similarly referred to the Assembly Education Committee and the Judiciary Committee. The Assembly Education committee passed the bill out on June 15, and sent it on to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, which set a June 20 hearing. That June 20 hearing was inexplicably cancelled by Senator Kuehl, and on June 26, the Assembly waived its rules requiring a policy hearing in Judiciary, and sent the bill straight to the floor.

"How unusual is this? It has never happened before in my entire 14 years in the Legislature. A bill referred to a committee is heard by that committee before the floor votes on it. If the committee votes against the bill, it dies, no matter how popular it is with the public. In fact, the committees are designed by the Speaker to kill bills popular with the public, but not popular with Democrat constituency groups, like the trial lawyers. My “red license plate for drunk drivers” was hated by the criminal defense lawyers and the ACLU, so it died.

"SB 1437 did not. It was never heard by the Judiciary committee. Why? The rules require it, but it did not happen, because the Democrat majority just waived the rules. They didn’t waive the rules for anyone else. They don’t do that for Republicans. Only Democrats. In the Legislature, we call it the rule of 41, meaning the party with 41 votes makes the rules up as they go along, mostly to benefit their legislative agenda, and to thwart the Republican agenda.

"I have heard more than one person say they would not vote for this or that Republican candidate because the candidate disagrees with them on one or two issues. However, the power to appoint the committees and to waive the rules determines the outcome of thousands of bills each year. If I am pro-life, or pro-gun, or pro-property rights, or anti-tax, my vote for a Republican Speaker of the Assembly guarantees that I have a fighting chance to promote that agenda. A Democrat Speaker, however, will set up the committees to kill those issues in committee, and, if a bill they want is going to die in committee, as the Kuehl bill was about to do, the majority just waives the rules. The bill will be heard on the floor, not because a majority of Californians agree with the bill, but because the Legislature has a Democrat majority willing to violate its own rules without shame.

"The rule of 41 is an important rule to remember next time you vote. Even if you disagree with a candidate on one or two issues, your failure to vote for that candidate could result in a lot of good bills with which you agree being killed in committee. Like it or not, that is the way it works."

As a follow-up, friend Tom Birks says:

"California is a perfect example of a State out of control. This [Haynes' comments] explains why. The media backs the Democrat's so you will never hear the other side. I am a Registered Independent. New York used to vote the same way as California. Where do people from New York retire? In a Conservative State like Florida because they can't afford to retire in their own State. All of the retirees that moved from California to Oregon and Washington because they couldn't afford to retire in California now find themselves in the same situation because they continued to vote Party Line. Gridlock is good for a government. There is no comparison to my freedom as a young kid and the freedom young people have today. Every new law takes away someone's freedom. Taxes also take away freedom."

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