May 20, 2024

There are few individuals in California that have had a better grasp on Capitol shenanigans than the incomparable columnist for CalMatters, Dan Walters.

GOC has been around as long as Walters has been covering California politics – which is close to 50 years.  He is a straight shooter who calls it as he sees it – and this week his sharp pen honed in on a sleazy legislative ruse that has caught some with their pants down while giving a well-deserved nod to GOC’s late founder, Senator HL Richardson.  If there were ever two folks who have understood the ins-and-outs of legislative crappery, it’s Walters and Richardson.

This is a tale of what happens when the Legislature passes a truckload of bills without reading them.  While it might seem back ass-wards (it is), the reality is that it is done every day – especially at budget time.  And even though it can bite politicians in the fanny, the real victims are all of us – the citizens of California. 

Back in 2022, utility companies wanted to makeover how electric rates were calculated, and so they moved towards charging consumers a fixed rate each month.  This idea was put into a bill that Governor Newsom submitted as part of a sweeping budget revision. In four days, the bill (AB 205) was passed out of an Assembly committee with zero debate, given the thumbs up by the full Assembly and Senate and signed by Newsom. Budget related (trailer) bills go into effect the second the Governor signs them.

Walters points out that this particular bill “was enacted with virtually no discussion – a classic example of how trailer bills have become vehicles for governors and legislators to make major policy changes on the sly.”

Sounds a bit sleazy, eh – it’s made a lot of people mad, and it’s justifiably created a dicey situation for some legislators – especially the Democrats. Although not funny in the “ha ha” sense, it’s relatively amusing to learn as Walters writes, that “many of the legislators who would later criticize the change actually voted for AB 205 without knowing – or caring – what effect it would have.”

Regardless of what one thinks about how new electricity charges will be calculated and billed, we agree that “there’s everything wrong with the way in which the new pricing scheme was enacted.”

And that’s where the wisdom of GOC’s founder comes in.  Check out how Walters closes his piece:

“The late H.L. Richardson was a Republican state senator in the 1970s and 1980s who pioneered the use of technology in political campaigns, with notable success. He also wrote a book, published in 1978, entitled “What Makes You Think We Read The Bills?

The question is as relevant today as it was 46 years ago.”

Walters is right.

The truly frightening thing is that as part of Newsom’s new revised 2024 budget, he has put forth a whopping list of 64 “trailer” bills for the Legislature to pass.  Given that these bills can average between 45 to over 100 pages, what could go wrong?

Understanding that a bunch of left-wing radicals control everything at the Capitol – pretty much from who can go the bathroom and when to what’s in a bill, the likelihood of some nefarious, anti-2A bill being slipped into an obscure paragraph of one of the many budget bills would not be a surprise.  As Richardson said numerous times, “dogs bark, snakes wiggle, jackasses bray, vultures vomit and radical leftists lie. It’s in their nature to do so.”

Seriously now – what makes any of us think they read the bills?

To read Dan Walter’s complete article, which includes some terrific links regarding some of the Legislature’s sneaky maneuvers, click HERE.

 

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