Tag Archives: John Myers

Fractions Is Hard

I’ve been thinking about this one for a couple days, and the most recent Capitol Notes podcast just brought it up, as reflected in John Myers’ Twitter feed.  First, the equation:

2/3 of 39 = 26.

See, right now there are 39 State Senators.  Mark Ridley-Thomas’ seat is vacant until a special election.  Under 2/3 rules, a full Senate would need 27 votes to pass a budget or a tax increase.  The state Constitution requires 2/3 of “the membership” for passage, which is very consistent throughout the document.  Percentages of “the membership” is always the language.  Here’s an example:

(d) No bill except the budget bill may contain more than one item of appropriation, and that for one certain, expressed purpose. Appropriations from the General Fund of the State, except appropriations for the public schools, are void unless passed in each house by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two-thirds of the membership concurring.

And if “the membership” is defined as the current membership, then only 26 votes are necessary in the State Senate as currently composed.

So is it really the case that the legislature sat through marathon weekend sessions with still no resolution because everybody forgot to do the math?  Can that really be?

I think Steinberg might as well send the parts of the bill with 26 votes to the Assembly or to the Governor for signage, and if anyone pouts about it we can go to court.  The originalist interpretation is clearly that just 26 votes are needed.

Update by Robert: Unfortunately this may not be workable according to Article IV Section 2(a) of the Constitution:

The Senate has a membership of 40 Senators

I too liked the idea of pushing 26 votes, but the Constitution seems clear on defining “membership” as 40.

Update by Dave: Robert’s argument is compelling, but Anthony York’s article cites a law professor who says it’s not entirely clear.

Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution says the “Senate has a membership of 40 Senators…”

But if there is a vacancy, does that change the membership for legal purposes?

“It certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibilty that would be considered a valid interpretation of Article IV,” said Floyd Feeney, a law professor at U.C. Davis. “Courts make interpretations like that every day of the week.”

Feeney said he was not sure if there were other provisions in state law that might contradict, or supplement, the language in that section of the Constitution.

“Clearly, I’d want to do a lot more research before I sign an advice letter on something like that,” he said. “But there certainly would be an argument.”

Of course, getting this adjudicated would likely take longer than even this interminable process….

Arnold sits down with John Myers

Arnold Schwarzenegger sat down with KQED’s John “The Last Honest Reporter in Sacramento” Myers. In a wide ranging interview, the Governator talked about prisons, his campaigns, and health care.  You can listen to it at KQED’s California Report site.

Frank Russo of CPR pulled out a bunch of interesting quotes. Notable on the prison front, Myers asked Arnold how he felt about the fact that he’s paroled more prisoners than Gray Davis.  His response:

“I’ve always said to our Democratic leaders and to our Republican leaders, I said: We should put everything on the table–which is building more prisons, which is looking at parole reform, and also at a sentencing commission. I’m willing to talk about all of those things, but we should always be clear that we should not release people out of prison and put them back out on the street just because we run out of space. It won’t happen.

He simply refuses to come off the “Tough on Crime” high horse. If we truly want to solve these problems, he can’t talk about putting all options on the table, and then remove them.  So, will the Governor fully fund Prop 36 to reduce drug offendor populations in prison? Or better yet, make Prop 36 treatment funding more widely available. Drug offenders, and society, are not served well by putting drug offenders behind bars over and over again. It just doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, check out KQED’s California Report site and Frank Russo of CPR .

Legislative Roundup on KQED Forum…Dan Walters’ ignorance

KQED’s Forum is currently airing a legislative round-up with John Myers and Dan Walters along with some other people.  You can listen live on the web, or go to their audio archive after the program concludes at 10AM.

UPDATE: I also need to point out Dan Walters ignorance on global warming issue.  After labelling Al Gore’s move “Inconvenient Propaganda”, he goes on to say that there isn’t enough evidence, calling himself an “agnostic” on the issue.  Well, Dan, perhaps you just haven’t read enough on the subject.  If you claim to be an opinion journalist, you should at least provide an informed opinion.  Dan, the thousands of peer-reviewed scientific articles (and even the great environmentalist Arnold Schwarzenegger) have come to a conclusion.  That you have not does not make you superior, or moderate, or what not.  It just makes you ignorant.