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A drive to convert the California Legislature to part-time won't make it onto the ballot this year.

The campaign will continue to collect voter signatures, however, in hopes of placing the issue before voters in 2014, said Ted Costa of People's Advocate, a co-leader of the drive.

Costa said the petition drive has collected between 200,000 and 300,000 of the 807,615 voter signatures needed to qualify the constitutional amendment for a California ballot.

The deadline for gathering signatures is July 2, but that would be too late to qualify for this year's elections. The secretary of state's office recommended that signatures be submitted by April 20 for the November ballot.

Costa said that other campaigns have driven up the price for signature-gathering this year, hurting his drive, which has been bankrolled by relatively small donations rather than by a wealthy investor or major political party.

Costa characterized his campaign as in a "fall back, regroup and charge ahead" mode. The effort is spearheaded by Costa and by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield.

Signature-gatherers for various other initiative drives should be off the streets in a week or two, which should create more opportunities for the part-time Legislature campaign, Costa said.

His measure calls for lawmakers in the nation's most populous state to meet three months per year, and for lawmakers' pay to be cut from $7,940 per month to $1,500 per month -- or $18,000 annually.

Steve Maviglio, a Democratic political consultant helping to lead opposition to the part-time Legislature initiative, said that he is not surprised that the measure won't qualify for the November ballot because it was not popular with voters or potential donors.

"First of all, there was no money behind it whatsoever," Maviglio said. "And it's something that sounds good on right-wing talk radio, but when voters think about it, they realize it makes little sense. You don't solve the problems of the Legislature by cutting down the amount of time they're here."

* Updated at 4:45 p.m. to add comments from Steve Maviglio, leader of a group opposing the initiative proposal.



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