California Should Reduce Legislature to Part-Time

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

Photo courtesy Franco Folini, flickr

When the Legislature finally adjourned at the end of August, it again screamed the need for a return to part-time operations. The “reform” of the late 1960s that imposed a full-time gathering of busybodies in the Capitol was one of the state’s biggest mistakes.

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Misguided voters passed Proposition 1A in 1966, the same year they put Ronald Reagan in the governor’s chair. The first thing the new full-timers did was pass a massive tax increase. Reagan had campaigned against any tax increase. He broke that pledge and signed $1 billion in higher taxes, equivalent to something like $20 billion more today, the highest state tax increase in history.

Fast-forward to 2016 and the Legislature passed one absurd bill after another, many supposedly “helping” the poor, but actually hurting them. The farm worker overtime bill has been covered by my colleagues and I here at Fox and Hounds.

Another one was the cap-and-trade deal, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, which would “spend $900 million on programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions …. The money will go toward subsidies for electric cars, new park space and pedestrian-friendly affordable housing. California’s 4-year old cap-and-trade program raises money from businesses that purchase permits to pollute.”

Supposedly the “program” dedicates the money toward such allegedly pollution-reducing actions. But in government, all money is fungible. With legislative legerdemain, it would be possible to switch the $900 million to pay, for example, for some of the $250 billion in the state’s unfunded pension and medical care liabilities.

It also is absurd to think the state can reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” when, according to the Guardian, “1,500 new coal plants are in construction or planning stages around the world,” although only half might be built. “However, 84GW of plants (about 85 stations) were built in 2015 and new plants are being commissioned at five times the rate that old plants, such as those in the UK, are being retired.”

The electric car subsidies largely go to rich Tesla drivers, with the cost picked up by poor people forced to drive long distances in old cars because housing is cheaper away from the expensive, job-rich areas along the coast.

New parks might be nice, but why not let localities decide that? And how will the money be spent? Remember the parks scandal where the director, as AP reported, “sat on nearly $54 million in surplus money for years while parks were threatened with closure over budget cuts”?

But the most absurd part of the cap-and-trade flim-flam was “pedestrian-friendly affordable housing.” Where will poor people park their cars? Once again: Because coastal areas are prohibitively expensive, poor people either bunch up in homes, often illegally; live far from jobs and drive long distances; or sleep on park benches.

If the “pedestrian-friendly affordable housing” is erected in coastal areas, and the homes are nice, that’ll be another manipulation of housing prices – which always means overall higher prices. Take New York City – please. Massive subletting has led to spying on tenants. One supervisor just was fired for refusing to spy.

If the Rotten Apple just would end all rent control, money would flow in to build new apartments, the greater supply then would reduce overall prices. Oh, and rent control there was a “temporary” expedient during World War II. City politicians haven’t heard that Hitler blew his brains out 71 years ago.

Back to the part-time Legislature. An initiative last was advanced in 2012, but never made it to the ballot. And before that, in 2009, an analysis by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor found, “Potential annual state savings of tens of millions of dollars.”

As they say in Hollywood: Time for a reboot. Ideal time: November 2018 ballot.

Longtime California journalist John Seiler’s email is:

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily


  1. Amen to a part time legislature. Along with that, reduce their salaries and benefits accordingly. California can no longer afford all the nonsense a full time legislature can inflict on its citizens.

  2. We should look to Texas for inspiration:
    14 legislative days per two-year session.
    Disclaimer: Some in Texas believe that the writer’s of their constitution got their numbers transposed when they put that provision in, and it was supposed to read “2 legislative days per 14-year session”.

    • UpChuck Liberals says

      I’m all for a very part time legislature, with zero benefits besides a small stipend decided by the voters every 10 years. Also with the provision that THEY are not immune from the laws that they write. Also any time they go against their oath of office, they’re hung by the neck until dead. THAT is change I can believe in.

  3. …..and back to Jerry the Incompetent’s “cap and screw” boondoggle. There are hundreds of things that contribute to “warming”, not just carbon. Mankind is responsible for only 6% of the atmospheric CO2 which makes up a staggering .039% of the atmosphere. Now .006 X .039 is .0000234% of the atmosphere produced by say 200 countries. And Jerry’s little fiefdom is only one State out of one of those 200 countries. Tell me Jerry, how much CO2 are we saving with your stupid cap and screw program? Just another liberal tax scheme.

    • I figure Jerry’s insane figuring (climate change—) is CHANGE to jingle into the pockets of those who pay to play on the CA board of cheat and win.
      We can call it –TAX AND POCKET-because the way they shuffle the funding around -secretly at that -then we the voters whose pockets are picked for the for the elected spenders never do get the truth until it is JUST TOO LATE! REduce the legislature to PART-TIME!

  4. Freedom Lover says

    Excellent idea!!! These fools are just making more and more aggravation for the taxpayer – who’s paying for their shenanigans and illegal activities.

  5. All you attacking our “representatives”, to you “Whoey!” I checked recently and learned that their pensions, health care benefits, salaries, vacations and expense reimbursement accounts were intact and fully protected…Hey! Why did they become legislators in the first place? I’d say they are doing a heck of a job. These are fast learner types. Ever notice how quick they change when they get elected? That’s because at the time they bought your vote with their promises and “commitments” they hadn’t yet been told by the “good old boys and girls” what their real job was. Full time? Absolutely, the issue now likely is “Can’t we work from home, boat, or airplane? Committees can meet by smart phone, email, on Facebook or the latest social media fad, don’t you know.” Voters, grow-up! You are fighting the “new norm”…everything is free and you can all share, all you need is to work for the government. It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it….full time, don’t you know.

  6. Those cow farts are killin’ us, I tells ya, KILLIN’ US! LOL

  7. If we return to PT legislature, great benefits will accrue. Legislators will have to work at their regular job most of the time, where co-workers will have access daily to correct them when they go wrong. T hey will bump into constituents daily at IHOP or Walmart; if they are saying or doing stupid things they will get yelled at regularly. Their close friends will continue to be folks at home, not other legislators and lobbyists. Much of the bad stuff going on under the dome now would be reversed if we go back to PT legislature.

  8. LOL… What’s the difference between a part-time prostitute and a full-time prostitute? The work hours. Same with the pols in Sacramento.

  9. There are a lot of people that want big government so that it will take care of them. Then there are people that want to “get government off my back.” I like Thomas Jefferson’s quote: “The best government is the least government.”

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