June 10, 2020
|By Katy Grimes, California Globe
Are lawmakers jealous of Gov. Newsom’s unchecked emergency powers?
ACA 25 puts the U.S. Constitution in a lockbox.
Critical of Governor Gavin Newsom’s unchecked emergency powers during his declared State of Emergency and statewide lockdown, ostensibly for coronavirus, California Assembly members have authored a Constitutional Amendment to allow the California Legislature to also work in secrecy during any declared state of emergency – any kind of a state of emergency could be named.
Wildfires, mudslides, another virus – any excuse would be used to suspend the Constitution, and work in secret.
Assembly Constitutional Amendment 25 by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), was introduced recently to allow remote attendance and proxy voting at legislative proceedings during declared states of emergency.
“ACA 25, if adopted by the voters in November, would permit state legislators to remotely attend and vote in any official legislative proceedings, or even to vote by proxy if either the Assembly or the Senate adopts a rule to permit proxy voting,” California Globe contributor Chris Micheli reported. “Remote attendance and voting could occur during the pendency of a state-declared or a federally-declared state of emergency.”
It is surprising lawmakers are taking this approach after all of their handwringing over the governor’s unchecked powers and decision-making in secrecy during the current state of emergency. Gov. Newsom has issued more than 40 executive orders, and unilaterally changing 200 laws spanning most sections of the California code,” Assemblymen Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) and James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) explained recently.
Questions need to be asked of these lawmakers who signed on to this legislation:
- What do you contemplate doing in secret?
- Are you planning on doing the bidding of your special interest groups?
- Why would anyone want a piece of legislation crafted and passed in secrecy?
This would cut everyone off from the legislative process: lobbyists and the public. Only chosen special interests would have access. Lawmakers would not have to take calls from anyone they would rather not hear from.
The bill language says:
This measure would permit Members to remotely attend and vote in a legislative proceeding, or to vote by proxy in a legislative proceeding if permitted by their house, during the pendency of a state of emergency declared by the Governor or the President of the United States, under specified conditions. The measure would provide, among other conditions, that a Member attending remotely would be included in the determination of a quorum.
This is more than a power grab, and employing the coronavirus “pandemic” does not justify this.
This is perhaps even more ironic given that the California Legislature has largely abdicated their authority and oversight of state agencies.
Agencies like the California Air Resources Board, the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the California Coastal Commission, and CalEPA are just a few of the rogue state agencies operating without any legislative oversight.
ACA 25 will be heard in the Assembly Rules Committee Wednesday. Members of the public can still Listen to this hearingor attend in person. Chris Micheli reminds us: “Constitutional amendments proposed by the Legislature require a 2/3 majority vote for passage in each house, but they are not presented to the Governor for signature.”
Notably, it is curious why Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron would sign on to this legislation as an author, why Republican Jordan Cunningham would, or any of the moderate Democrats including Assembly Rules Committee Chairman Ken Cooley.
Where is the pressure for this Constitutional Amendment coming from?
ACA 25 was Introduced by Assembly Members Mullin, Ting, Cooley, and Waldron
(Principal coauthors: Assembly Members Bonta, Chiu, Gipson, and Low)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Aguiar-Curry, Berman, Bloom, Cunningham, Daly, Eggman, Kalra, Levine, Nazarian, Quirk, Quirk-Silva, Reyes, Luz Rivas, Blanca Rubio, Smith, and Wicks)
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Katy GrimesKaty Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California’s War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?