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A Republican assemblyman announced Thursday that he will propose a constitutional amendment to require a supermajority vote by the Legislature to pass budget bills and to require the state controller to withhold lawmakers' pay if an approved budget is not balanced.

The measure by Assemblyman Allan Mansoor, R-Costa Mesa, responds to a provision in voter-approved Proposition 25 that allows Democrats to pass a majority-vote budget needing no Republican support.

Proposition 25 also called for docking legislative pay when a budget is not passed by the June 15th deadline. But state Controller John Chiang sparked controversy last year when he withheld pay after concluding that the spending plan initially passed by lawmakers was not balanced.

Democratic legislative leaders, who contend that Chiang illegally intervened in legislative matters, filed suit last month asking a judge to decide whether the controller can punish lawmakers again this summer and in the future for budgets he deems unconstitutional.

Mansoor's constitutional amendment, if placed on the ballot by lawmakers and approved by voters, would settle the matter by requiring the controller to dock pay until the Legislative Analyst's Office certifies that a budget is balanced.

The ballot measure also would make Republicans more relevant in budget negotiations by requiring a two-thirds supermajority in each legislative house to pass a spending plan. Currently, that would require two GOP votes apiece in the Senate and Assembly.

Because Republicans are vastly outnumbered in the Legislature, Mansoor's proposal will be dead on arrival unless he can win support from Democratic colleagues whose party powers would be reduced if the constitutional amendment were to become law.


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