On the morning of November 9th, I’m hoping to wake up to the knowledge that there are 14 or more Republicans in the California State Senate.
Let’s do the math. There are 40 Senators for the State of California. For many bills, a two-thirds vote is required. So 2 times 40 is 80, and 80 divided by 3 is 27 (rounded up). If California has 13 (40 minus 27) or less Republican State Senators, then these two-thirds bills will likely pass. Hence, the term "super majority."
Fox & Hounds covers this dilemma in the piece below. Partisan politics is critical. We need a two-party system. We need checks and balances. That’s why I’m working as best as I can, with my limited time and resources, to help Republicans get elected in this state.
BONUS: Sticking with the partisan theme, my voter guide for Orange Countians for these local positions is provided below.
By John SeilerFormer Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register
Once again, we’re confronted with the possibility of Democrats grabbing two-thirds control of both houses of the California Legislature. As with the U.S. Senate at the national level, because of higher voter turnout Democrats in California generally do better in presidential election years (2008, 2012) than in the non-presidential years (2010, Tea Party time, and 2014).
The last time this happened, after the 2012 election, Gov. Jerry Brown joked to Democrats in the Legislature, “Remember, hug a Republican.” But then Dems had problem leveraging their two-thirds supermajorities because several legislators were promoted to the state Senate or the U.S. Congress, leaving vacant seats. Then special elections sometimes elected Republicans, such as state Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford in July 2013. That election ran up $5 million in campaign costs.
It used to be the two-thirds vote was needed to pass the state budget. That brought up the quasi-undemocratic Gang of Five meetings of the governor and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Assembly and state Senate. Republicans had real clout and could delay passage of a budget for weeks, even months.
All that ended in 2010, when voters passed Proposition 25, allowing a majority vote for passing the budget. Also helping pass budgets by the June 15 deadline have been large new revenues from the economic recovery and the adept moves of a governor now in his fourth term in office.
Today, the two-thirds supermajority only applies to tax increases, putting measures on the ballot and reversing gubernatorial vetoes.
Tax increases likely won’t be on the agenda because two more probably are going to pass on Nov. 8: Proposition 55, the “extension” of Proposition 30 from 2012. And Proposition 56, the $2 a pack increase in cigarette taxes to further impoverish poor and lower-middle-class smokers. Even Democrats have a limit of how much they can increase taxes. (Don’t they?)
Of course, if the economy tanks next year, once again we’ll have $20 billion budget deficits, and howls for higher taxes to pay for the overspending during the recent years of prosperity. But the deficits usually lag the start of a recession by a year or two, bringing us to 2018, another election year, so the increases would just be put on the ballot.
As to putting measures on the ballot, after the 17 mind-numbing initiatives put before voters this year, does anyone really want any more in 2018? How about that “advisory” initiative,Proposition 59, stuck before voters when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 254? It urges California members of Congress to reverse the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that allowed campaign contributions by corporations.
Here’s some advice to the Legislature: Stop putting initiatives on the ballot! Let the people only do so through the signature process.
As to overturning vetoes by governors, the last time that happened was in 1979. If Dems do regain their two-thirds majorities, what’s likely to happen is a repeat of 2013: fighting over open seats interspersed with increased clout for moderate Democrats.
As Capital Public Radio reported in January 2013, “The most important members of the California Legislature this year might not be the two Democratic leaders – despite the two-thirds supermajorities they hold in each chamber. And it almost certainly won’t be the Republicans. They’ve been courted for key votes in recent years but now don’t have the numbers to block any bills on their own. The leverage in this legislative session may well lie with a newly-critical voting bloc: moderate Democrats.”
Republicans’ role? Pretty much what it has been in recent years. They sometimes pair up with Democrats to give bipartisan legitimacy to bills, such as the excellent asset forfeiture bill passed this year. And they put on the eyeshades like state Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, a CPA, and look at the budget numbers.
It’s something. And it’s not likely to change until the return of the Emperor Norton.
Veteran California columnist John Seiler now edits the writejohnseiler
LOCAL PARTISAN OFFICES
Allow me to give you the ground rules for my ballot recommendations. As someone with a long history with the Orange County Republican Central Committee and the California Republican Party State Central Committee, their bylaws only allow me to endorse Republican candidates. Therefore, the candidates identified below are registered Republicans (Rep), unless otherwise noted (Democrat = Dem).
With the passage of Proposition 14 in 2010, the top two vote getters in the Primary move to the General Election in November. There is one race where the top two candidates are registered Democrats, so my recommendation is italicized.
I usually have a grading system. However, I am supporting all of the Republicans who have been voted to the November General Election and they are in bold. It’s called team play. Normally, the structure is Bold = Endorsement; Italics = Good second choice; and Regular = On the ballot. Note: ** = Incumbent
|United States Representatives|
|RYAN DOWNING||38th District||Rep|
|ED ROYCE **||39th District||Rep|
|MIMI WALTERS **||45th District||Rep|
|LOU CORREA||46th District||Dem|
|ANDY WHALLON||47th District||Rep|
|DANA ROHRABACHER **||48th District||Rep|
|DARRELL ISSA **||49th District||Rep|
|CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATIVE OFFICES|
|LING LING CHANG||29th District||Rep|
|JOHN M.W. MOORLACH **||37th District||Rep|
|PHILLIP CHEN||55th District||Rep|
|YOUNG KIM **||65th District||Rep|
|STEVEN S. CHOI||68th District||Rep|
|OFELIA VELARDE-GARCIA||69th District||Rep|
|TRAVIS ALLEN **||72nd District||Rep|
|WILLIAM (BILL) BROUGH **||73rd District||Rep|
|MATTHEW HARPER **||74th District||Rep|
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