The Supermajority and the Merry Go Round

Special elections mean supermajority will come and go

by Brian Leubitz

You would need a supercomputer to keep up with the supermajority these days. But perhaps the better question is what that means for the state.

With the recent Los Angeles elections, the Assembly will certainly lose Bob Blumenfield, and the May run-offs could mean that Curren Price will need a replacement for his Senate seat. The LA Times attempts to break it down:

Blumenfield, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, won’t leave state office until July 1. But his planned departure is among a handful of resignations in both houses that have set off a round of musical chairs for the Democrats who dominate the Legislature.

Their numbers in the Assembly will dip below the supermajority threshold they achieved in November if two members move to the Senate in special elections that start Tuesday. The numbers will fall again when Blumenfield leaves. (LAT)

Got that? Well, that’s not really all of it. Two Senate seats are scheduled to be filled in heavily Democratic districts for now Congress members Gloria Negrete McCloud and Juan Vargas. Then Michael Rubio of Chevron will be replaced by a special election in May. And then Price and Blumenfield…

You get the picture. Whatever the reason, what it does mean is that votes on serious reform measures will wait until a sure supermajority is in place. That means that the few modest reforms that Leadership is looking at right now, while not really stuck per se, they are in a state of limbo.  That being said, there aren’t any 2/3 votes that are strictly time-sensitive coming up anytime soon. Revenue isn’t really on the table, except in the long-term 2/3 reform sense.  If that waits another few months, well, it waits a few months.

The other question is whether this will continue to be normal. State legislators will always jump at non-term-limited Congressional seats. That much will never change. However, with the new term limits laws, we are likely looking at the last generation of Assembly members that will be looking to hop to the Senate. Sure, it’s a bit smaller, but why bother when you can just ride incumbency. And reducing some of that turnover is a very, very good thing, beyond the question of the supermajority.