We share the view adopted by The Fresno Bee:
The California Legislature has repeatedly shown that significant reform proposals have no chance of passing in a political system dominated by special interests. That's why the voters had to implement a top-two primary system and create a citizens redistricting commission to draw the maps for legislative and congressional districts changes that are effective this year from initiatives passed in 2010.
Now the voters have another chance to improve state government, this time by passing Proposition 31 on the Nov. 6 ballot. There are many reasons that this measure is needed. A major one is requiring transparency in a legislative system that does its significant business in secret.
Proposition 31 would require that all bills, except those responding to a disaster, be available to the public 72 hours before they are voted on. That would stop the "gut-and-amend" practice of taking a bill in the final hours of the session and inserting new language.
Lawmakers, let alone California residents, often don't have a chance to read the bills in their entirety before voting. They just do what their legislative leaders tell them.
It's too bad that this provision must be included in the state Constitution, an already bulky document, but the Legislature refuses to do its business openly. Unfortunately, a transparent government must be mandated in California.
Proposition 31 is sponsored by the political arm of California Forward, which has been promoting major changes in Sacramento since its founding in 2007.
There are many important provisions, including shifting from a one-year budget to a two-year budget cycle, pay-as-you-go budgeting and creating a system for counties, cities and school districts to develop a "regional collaborative plan" to provide services.
Legislative leaders have it in their power to reform state government, but they like the secretive, cumbersome process that we have today. They control the system, and fear that will change if state government is reformed.
It's time to go over the heads of legislative leaders and make the reform case directly to California voters.
Proposition 31 will be a big step in improving the fiscal oversight of the state, and allowing the public to actually see what is occurring in the Legislature. Vote "Yes" on Proposition 31 on Nov. 6.