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Proposition 54


Another one of the 18 propositions before California voters this November is Proposition 54, which is called the Public Display of Legislative Bills Prior to Vote Proposition.

Currently, the Senate and Legislature propose bills, discuss them, and then consider them. Sessions are open to the public and video of the sessions are available online.

However, the legislative body can vote on the proposed bill at any time.

Under the new proposition, a bill and any changes to it would have to be available on the Internet for at least 72 hours before the Legislature could pass it.

In addition, the Legislature would have to ensure that all of its public meetings were recorded and posted on the Internet within 24 hours.

And the videos must be available for download for at least 20 years.

It also would allow recordings of legislative proceedings to be used for any legitimate purpose without payment of any fees to the state.

All of this would apply except for in cases of Capitol security.

The fiscal impact of this bill is expected to be an initial $1 million to $2 million to set up the procedure, and another $1 million annually to record the legislative meetings and make the video of those meeting and put it on the Internet for California citizens to view.

There appear to be a great variety of organizations that support the proposed bill, including the League of Women Voters of California, the California NAACP, the First Amendment Coalition, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Black Chamber of Commerce, and many others.

Supporters say Proposition 54 would not cost taxpayers any new money since the existing budget would cover the costs of the measure, and that the proposed new bill would increase transparency in state government.

One key point supporters believe is that Proposition 54 will stop the practice of gutting and amending legislation.

In opposition of the proposed bill… only two organizations, which are the California Labor Federation and the California Democratic Party.

Those opposed say the proposition would introduce unnecessary restrictions on the law crafting process; that it would hinder legislators ability to develop bipartisan solutions; and that it would give special interests too much power in regards to the legislative process.

Breaking it down

A YES vote on this measure means: Any bill (including changes to the bill) would have to be made available to legislators and posted on the Internet for at least 72 hours before the Legislature could pass it. The Legislature would have to ensure that its public meetings are recorded and make videos of those meetings available on the Internet.

A NO vote on this measure means: Rules and duties of the Legislature would not change.