A bill that would immediately give the secretary of state $1.6 million to work down a six-week backlog of business filings held by the state cleared the California Senate this morning on a 25-10 vote.
Assembly Bill 113 takes money from this year's budget to pay for overtime and temporary employees through the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year. They'll work on processing business forms, many with filing-fee checks attached.
Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled Legislature reduced the secretary of state's funding over the last few years. Still, they took a keen interest in the business form backlog problem and locked arms with business interests to push the bill after The Bee reported on the delays last month.
Republicans voted against the measure this morning, asserting that lawmakers can't legally tinker with this year's budget law and that AB 113 rewards government inefficiency by throwing more money at a mismanaged agency.
Legislative leaders have said they intend to follow up with an additional $6 million to $8 million appropriations in 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years specifically to get the backlog down to between five and 10 days by the end of November, then keep it there until the state brings an automated filing system online in 2016.
The bill needs to clear one more vote of the Assembly before it heads to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk.
PHOTO: The California State Capitol. Rob Ferris / Sacramento Bee 1996 file