Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, said this morning that she believes the SEIU Local 1000 contract needs to be passed, but she also left open the possibility the governor might need more concessions if California's economy continues to slide.
During an hour-long conversation with Bee Capitol Bureau reporters this morning, Bass talked about AB 964, which failed to pass an Assembly floor vote last week when Republicans refused to put up a single supporting vote.
Roger Neillo, R-Fair Oaks, urged colleagues to vote against the bill or abstain to give Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger some leverage by holding out on the contract approval as long as possible so that the SEIU State Council doesn't mount a major attack-ad campaign on May 19 ballot propositions he favors, such as 1A.
Here's what Bass said about putting the bill up for another vote before the May 19 election: I think that the governor negotiated a contract and both sides made major concessions and that was negotiated in good faith. Whether we put it up again (before the May 19 election), I'm not sure. We might. I'll have to evaluate that.
On why the bill was put up for a vote when it looked like Republicans wouldn't support it: It wasn't entirely apparent (that Republicans would unite against AB 964). We were receiving mixed messages, so it was important to push for it.
On whether the governor could make further cuts I think that the contract should move forward and it should be ratified. Now having said that, the contract does not limit the governor from ever going back, it does not say he can never go back. Obviously, if the recession gets deeper, sure, you have to go back and look...But I do not believe that should be used as an excuse to not ratify this contract.