The Editor's Back Fence
A reader has forwarded a disturbing article by Lauren Rosenhall in Monday's Sacramento Bee, which implicates Berkeley Senator Loni Hancock in the disreputable practice of "gut-and-amend", which allows bills to be passed in Sacramento with essentially no public process. Here's the top of the story:
"It was after midnight on the last day of the legislative session last month when the state Senate took up a controversial bill concerning election laws for the very first time.
Most bills go through a months-long process of hearings, negotiations, amendments and votes. Not this one.
Senate Bill 202 was written about 24 hours earlier, when Democrat Loni Hancock of Berkeley deleted the language in a bill about filing fees on voter initiatives and replaced it with a highly political proposal to change the state's election laws in ways that will favor Democrats in 2012.
'The lack of process in this bill is inexcusable,' Sen. Ted Lieu of Torrance told his colleagues that night. 'We as Democrats should be ashamed at how this came to the Senate floor.'
Hancock's bill was the most extreme example this year of the Legislature's penchant for writing new laws at the last minute – but it was by no means the only one."