Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R- Modesto) recently submitted a letter to the Assembly Budget Committee requesting a vote on Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1, a bill that would improve legislative transparency by requiring all bills, including the state budget, to be in print for at least three days before being taken up for a vote.
“Californians overwhelmingly support an open and transparent government, so it is disappointing that the Budget Committee has been unwilling to take a stand on ACA 1,” Olsen said. “I remain committed to this effort to help restore the public’s confidence in our system of government.”
ACA 1 would require all legislation, including the State Budget, to be in print for 72 hours before a vote can be taken, and would allow formally-declared emergency measures to move forward at a faster rate. Existing law allows bills to be voted on as soon as they have been printed and distributed to members. In practice, this has resulted in backroom deals being voted on suddenly and late into the night, out of sight of the public’s eye.
The bill – which is Olsen’s fourth attempt at passing legislative transparency legislation – has been stalled in a Budget Subcommittee since its placement on the suspense file last March. The move allowed committee members to avoid taking a vote on a commonsense issue that is popular with the public, said Olsen.
“We are astonished that no movement has occurred on this very important measure, but remain hopeful that the committee will answer the call of Californians everywhere and take the bill up for a vote before the legislative deadline.” said Nicholas Heidorn, Legislative Counsel for Common Cause. “As sponsors of this bill, we are grateful to Assemblymember Olsen for her continued fight for transparency.”
The bill has support from numerous organizations across the political spectrum, including Common Cause, California Forward Action Fund, League of California Cities, and California Taxpayers Association. It has no registered opposition.
Olsen represents the 12th Assembly District in the California Legislature, which covers portions of Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties in the Central Valley, including Oakdale, Riverbank and Escalon.