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Wednesday, September 07, 2005


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Matthew Shugart

Re: the more recent "will" as expressed through elections to the sitting governor and legislature, compared to a more dated will expressed through a popular initiative...

I believe that Kip's argument would be valid in any state that has an initiative process other than California. There are 30-some states that allow popular initiatives, and among them only California constitutionally bars the legislature and governor from amending a law enacted by initiative without another vote of the people. (Exceptions can be made if the text of the initiative itself allows legislative amendment, as a few do.)

So, in California, an initiative passed at any time in the history of the state always takes precendence over acts of the legislature and governor that conflict with it.

Moreover, the "wills" expressed through the legislature and through the governor in this case are in direct conflict, which means (assuming there is no override of the veto) that the status quo prevails. The status quo is Prop 22.

(Note here that I am not entering into a debate about the merits of the claim that the bill passed by the legislature conflicts with Prop. 22. I'm assuming there is such a conflict, but I don't know if that is right. I am not an attorney, either.)

California Yankee

Kip, I'm not a California lawyer, but it seems to me that precedence should be given to a statute approved by a majority of citizens over a statute adopted lawmakers.

The California Constitution provides, at Article 2 Voting, Initiative And Referendum, And Recall:

Section 1. All political power is inherent in the people.
Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit,
and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good
may require.

[. . .]

Section 10. (c) The Legislature may amend or repeal referendum statutes. It
may amend or repeal an initiative statute by another statute that
becomes effective only when approved by the electors unless the
initiative statute permits amendment or repeal without their


And why should legislators, or a governor, elected by "the will of the people" care about the "will of the people" who passed Prop. 22? Doesn't the more recent "will of the people" outweigh the more dated and therefore obsolete "will of the people"?

California is becoming, with cause, the laughingstock of the country.

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