The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

December 11, 2009
Ballot intiative aims to end two-thirds budget vote rule

'Tis the season to be collecting signatures.

A ballot measure that would change the two-thirds legislative vote requirement to pass a state budget to a simple majority has entered the circulation phase. Here's the official title and summary:

CHANGES LEGISLATIVE VOTE REQUIREMENT TO PASS A BUDGET FROM TWO-THIRDS TO A SIMPLE MAJORITY. RETAINS TWO-THIRDS VOTE REQUIREMENT FOR TAXES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Changes the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority. Provides that if the Legislature fails to pass a budget bill by June 15, all members of the Legislature will permanently forfeit any reimbursement for salary and expenses for every day until the day the Legislature passes a budget bill. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Unknown changes in the content of the state budget from lowering the legislative vote requirement for passage. Fiscal impact would depend on the composition and actions of future Legislatures. Minor reduction in state costs related to compensation of legislators in years when the budget bill is passed after June 15.

The proponents, James C. Harrison and Thomas A. Willis, are partners at Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, which has long represented Democratic politicians and causes. The firm's Web site, which you can view by clicking here, says,

For over 20 years, Remcho, Johansen & Purcell has specialized in election law, campaign finance advice, public policy, and constitutional litigation. The firm has extensive litigation experience in fields ranging from education law to the initiative process. In addition, the firm has advised elected officials, candidates, organizations, and individuals involved in the political process.

The measure needs signatures from at least 694,354 registered voters to qualify it for the November 2010 ballot. The deadline for collecting the signatures is May 10.

The Secretary of State this week approved two other ballot initiatives of particular interest to state workers. Those measures, which we reported in this blog post, would change the state constitution and state law regarding public employee political funding.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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