Has the Republican minority in the Legislature been
driven into irrelevance by the passage of Proposition 25? It has – if you
believe the pundits and politicians, who have marked the advent of a
new age of majoritarianism.

After all, starting now, the Legislature may pass a budget bill and any
spending bill identified in the budget with a simple majority vote. It may pass
with a majority vote any substantive bill that implements the state budget and
that takes effect immediately (which incidentally immunizes that bill from a
citizen referendum). And any regular statute may be passed, as before, by a
simple majority vote.

So where can legislative Republicans find their
influence, now that these levers of governance are operated exclusively by
Democrats? I can think of four opportunities.

First, if you believe the Democrats themselves, the
Legislature must still pass state tax increases by a two-thirds vote. Any
budget solution that contemplates tax increases must still involve Republicans.

Second, the Legislature may prefer to avoid voting
directly for tax increases and instead ask voters to decide, as promised by then-candidate Jerry Brown. But
in most cases, ballot measures may be placed before voters only by a two-thirds
vote of the Legislature, which would include Republican votes. The only
exception would be to place a measure on the ballot amending previous voter initiatives,
which I discuss here.

Third, the Legislature may need to suspend certain
provisions of Proposition 98, the constitutional school
funding guarantee, to balance future budgets. Such an action would require
assent by legislative Republicans.

Finally, the Legislature must
place any new state general obligation bond proposals
on the ballot
by a two-thirds vote. New infrastructure investment may or may not be tied to a
budget deal, but in any case offers opportunities for Republicans to insist on
consideration of their priorities.

may abjure from all of these policy mechanisms to avoid dealing with Republican
demands. But in doing so they would severely crimp their ability to finance
their ambitions.