Another Interesting Twist with SB 202

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

We
know that SB 202 was a gut-and-amend bill that was introduced the last day of
the legislative session to move initiatives from the June ballot to November
largely at the behest of the public employee unions who believe they have a
better chance of defeating the Stop Special Interest Money Initiative.

We also
know that SB 202 included a provision to move from the 2012 ballot to 2014 the
rainy day fund measure (ACA 4) agreed to by the legislature during the 2009
budget deal. The reason was to stall the measure opposed by the unions who
don’t want spending capped. Whether the stall is for one election cycle or if
it becomes an annual vote by the majority to put off the measure remains to be
seen.

Another
possibility is that the Democrats, if they secure a two-thirds vote in the
legislature, would simply vote the measure out of existence before the people
get a chance to vote on it at an election.

In
moving ACA 4 to 2014, SB 202 eliminated the legislatively authored title and
summary that was part of the bill (AB
1619
) that originally set the rainy day fund measure for the 2012 ballot.

The bill
told the Secretary of State that the title should read: “STATE BUDGET.
CHANGES CALIFORNIA BUDGET PROCESS. LIMITS STATE SPENDING. INCREASES ‘RAINY DAY’
BUDGET STABILIZATION FUND.” The bill that included this language and set the
original date for a vote on ACA 4 was passed in a bipartisan way, 24-4 in the
Senate, 67-7 in the Assembly. 

One can
imagine the phrase: LIMITS STATE SPENDING would be a powerful incentive in
these times for the voters to say, “Yes.”

Now it
is gone. If the measure ever does come to the ballot, the Attorney General will
compose the title and summary. The question is: Will LIMITS STATE SPENDING
still appear in the title? That’s something to watch for.

As to
the intent of the legislature in removing the title and summary with SB 202 –
a recent court decision prohibits the legislature from writing titles and
summaries for the ballot. In this case, the legislature was following a court
order. 

However,
with all the shenanigans surrounding SB 202, you wonder if in this instance the
majority party followed that court directive gladly.

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