Prop 54 Will Enact Significant and Lasting Reform in the State Legislature

Tom Scott
CA Executive Director, National Federation of Independent Business

One of the oldest political tricks in the book is to claim something does the opposite of what it actually does. But that is precisely what Proposition 54’s small handful of critics do when claiming the measure will give special interests more power. This is the farce Eric Bauman propagated in his commentary, “Prop 54: Too Good to be True?”  Clearly, Mr. Bauman and his allies would prefer to maintain the status quo in Sacramento and keep voters in the dark so they can continue to hammer out bills in secret that favor their own agendas. But California’s voters aren’t so easily fooled. We know too well that creating more transparency in Sacramento doesn’t empower special interests–secrecy does.

Proposition 54 will create more transparency and accountability by leveling the playing field so that no one industry or group will have more power than another to influence legislation, as a select few currently do. Nor will any group have the ability to rewrite legislation and ram it through for a vote at the very last minute – before anyone else, including many legislators, have a chance to read the bill.

By allowing legislators and the public 72 hours to review and weigh in on proposed bills before the final vote, the result will be better laws for our communities, businesses, and families. Online access to all public hearings and granting citizens the right to record their own videos of public proceedings will allow all Californians to have the same access to the legislative process as the lobbyists do.

That is why so many diverse groups representing voters from every walk of life are lining up in support of Proposition 54. This includes Democrats, Republicans, and non-partisans who disagree on many issues but who do agree that our democracy is stronger when more people participate.

The individuals and groups supporting Prop 54 include the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), League of Women Voters of California, California Forward, California Planning and Conservation League, California Chamber of Commerce, the California Taxpayers Association, California Common Cause, California State Conference of the NAACP, California Association of Non-Profits, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, State Controller Betty Yee, and many, many others. Proposition 54 is also endorsed by every major newspaper in California.

Despite what critics would have you believe about one of the measure’s main proponents, Stanford physicist and long-time government reform advocate, Charles T. Munger, Jr., the overwhelming amount of well-respected organizations and individuals in support of Proposition 54 versus the small handful opposed is a true testament to the veracity of the measure itself and its promise to enact significant and lasting reform in Sacramento. Mr. Munger has a long history of supporting good government efforts where he sees a great public benefit being withheld by a narrow faction, as demonstrated by his successful efforts to enact redistricting reform and the top two primary system in California, for example.

Voters can also rest assured that Proposition 54’s language was developed, independently reviewed, and refined by three distinguished attorneys including a constitutional scholar and former judge, in addition to being thoroughly vetted by nationally recognized good government organizations that have dedicated their livelihoods to these issues. We are confident that Proposition 54’s constitutional provisions will withstand any future legal challenges the measure may face.

The time has come for the voters to demand more transparency and accountability from our state legislature, and Prop. 54 provides that opportunity. With one the longest legislative sessions in the country, California lawmakers have plenty of time to create and pass important public policy. Legislators are accustomed to working with deadlines; waiting a mere 72 hours after having two full years to produce legislation shouldn’t be a problem. More time to review laws can only result in more thoughtful and thorough legislation that does not have unintended consequences.

Proposition 54 will finally reduce unchecked special interest power and give voters a voice on legislation that can profoundly impact us, our businesses, our communities, and the jobs of hard working Californians throughout the state. Proposition 54 is the most common-sense, straight forward measure on this November’s ballot and we strongly encourage a YES vote on November 8.

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