Skip to comments.Legislative mischief on 'trailer bills' becomes easier
Posted on 03/28/2012 9:01:10 AM PDT by SmithL
Two years ago, when unions and Democratic politicians sponsored a ballot measure to reduce the required legislative vote on the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority, this column and others raised the possibility of ancillary mischief.
Proposition 25's vote change applied not only to the budget itself, but other bills containing "appropriations related to the budget bill," known in the Capitol as "trailer bills."
We pointed out that trailer bills had morphed from technical vehicles making minor adjustments in law into political Christmas trees that were often written in the dead of night and hastily enacted without their provisions being fully known, even by those casting the votes.
If they could be passed without supermajority votes, we expostulated, they could be used even more to slam through stuff that otherwise might not survive a fully public process of hearings, committee votes, etc.
The other day, both legislative houses voted along party lines for several dozen potential trailer bills that contain virtually no words, thus placing them in position to be amended and then fast-tracked into law at a moment's notice.
Republicans objected, but with the passage of Proposition 25 they have become just spectators on the budget, not participants.
(Excerpt) Read more at sacbee.com ...