California: I am so down with this

**Posted by Phineas

It’s never just one thing that sets a polity on the road to decline, but for several years now I’ve felt that one of the paving stones of California’s own road to ruin was the transformation of the legislature from a part-time body to full-time. (1)

This change created a class of professional legislators, career politicians who, to justify their (until recently) six-figure salaries and abundant perks, feel they have to pass law after law, whether or not they’re needed or even sensible.

And what have we gotten in return for creating a playground for professional pols? A sclerotic economy, a regulatory regime that sends businesses screaming in the other direction, the destruction of our manufacturing base, an energy and resource-development policy that gave us rolling blackouts, and nanny-state that feels it can regulate even the way we light our homes.

One legislator, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), feels it is time to fix that long-ago mistake and return the legislature to part-time status:

A proposal by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) probably won’t make her many friends among her colleagues. She wants to reduce the Legislature to part-time status and cut its pay from $95,000 annually to $1,500 a month.

Grove is one of the organizers of an initiative that was approved Monday to begin circulating petitions toward qualifying for the ballot. The constitutional amendment would limit regular legislative sessions to 30 days each January and 60 days starting each May. In odd-numbered years, the legislative sessions would be devoted to budget issues.


“Since switching to a full-time body in the 1960s, the Legislature has steadily deteriorated, infiltrated by professional politicians, beholden to special interests, and has sunk to a ‘whatever it takes’ gang — where anything goes to remain in power,” Grove said.

This would go a long way toward ending the mischief in Sacramento and returning the legislature to what it should be: a body of citizens who gather periodically to tend to the state’s basic business. The professional progressive oligarchs currently lounging under the Green Dome will have to look elsewhere for a “career.”

Grove and her allies have to gather over 800,000 signatures in the next five months to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. I have but one question.

Where do I sign?

RELATED: It’s not all happy news. Read how California’s branch of the Party of Stupid screwed up and allowed the Democrats to hijack the citizens redistricting commission, and how they then flushed $2,000,000 down the drain, money that could have been used to capture legislative seats. Argh.

(1) Yep. Ballot initiative. This was the people’s own-goal. We’re one of ten states with a full-time legislature.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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