They may be seeking a change the rules that would apply to everyone, but the package of bills outlined today by three Democratic members of the Assembly all trace their origin to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's "summer of snafus."
The bills were highlighted in a morning news conference called by Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), Assemblymember Cindy Montanez (D-San Fernando) and Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-SF). Each addresses a sore spot for the Schwarzenegger camp, from the clamor over his multi-million dollar fitness magazine consulting deal to the missteps made with the redistricting initiative Proposition 77.
The reforms would require more specific disclosure of an elected official's assets; require that all constitutional officers place those assets in a blind trust (but not the powerful leaders of either the Assembly or Senate); and require immediate disclosure of any outside business relationship that results in a lawmaker receiving more than $10,000.
One bill also would impose a death penalty on any initiative that was fumbled the way Prop 77 was: initiative backers would now have to formally disclose any problems (like wording changes, etc.) within 48 hours, or the initiative would be disqualified.
Truth be told, these bills face an uphill battle. They are two-year bills (which means they won't be pushed through before next week's legislative deadline), but most importantly they are all amendments to the voter-approved campaign finance law Proposition 34.
That means the bills require a two-thirds vote. And that means these 3 Democrats are going to have to find a few Republicans who don't mind highlighting the governor's missteps in 2006, an election year.