Secretary of State Alex Padilla last week announced that the proponent behind a new initiative on legislature expansion, legislative process and spending may begin collecting petition signatures.
The initiative increases the size of the Legislature almost 100-fold by dividing current Assembly and Senate districts into neighborhood districts, so that each Assembly member represents about 5,000 persons, and each Senator represents about 10,000 persons, according to the Attorney General’s summary.
The initiative also provides for neighborhood district representatives to elect working committees the size of the current Assembly and Senate, 80 Assembly members and 40 Senators. It gives working committees the legislative power generally – and sole power – to amend bills, but it requires approval by a vote of the full membership in each house in order to pass any non-urgent bill.
The initiative limits legislators’ pay and expenditures. According to a summary of estimate of the fiscal impact on state and local government, the initiative calls for a decrease in state spending by the Legislature by more than $140 million annually. It also allows county election costs to increase– potentially in the range of tens of millions of dollars initially, followed by significantly lower amounts annually thereafter.
The Attorney General prepares the legal title and summary that must appear on initiative petitions. When the official language is complete, the Attorney General forwards it to the initiative’s proponent and to the Secretary of State, and the initiative may then be circulated for signatures. The Secretary of State sets calendar deadlines and notifies the proponent and county election officials.
The Secretary of State’s tracking number for this measure is 1706, and the Attorney General’s tracking number is 15-0045.
The measure’s proponent, John Cox, must collect signatures from eight percent of the total votes cast for governor in the November 2014 general election, in this case a total of 585,880 signatures, in order to qualify it for the November 2016 ballot. He has 180 days to circulate petitions for the measure and gather signatures, and the signatures must be submitted to county elections officials by March 28, 2016. This initiative’s proponent can be reached at (847)274-8814.
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