One of the Legislature's worst practices is rushing through bills at the last minute, giving the public and even Capitol observers little chance to comment or know what is going on.
Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto, has proposed a constitutional amendment to prevent these late night gut-and-amend deals. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 will be heard in the Assembly Budget Subcommittee 6 at 1:30 p.m. today. It should be approved by the committee and then by the full Assembly.
Olsen's proposal and an identical bill by Democrat Sen. Lois Wolk, Senate Constitutional Amendment 10, would require that legislation must be in print at least 72 hours in its final form before it can be approved by each house. The legislation provides for exceptions in the case of emergencies.
Adding this to the state constitution would require a vote of the people, but we're confident this is the kind of proposition that citizens would support. Lawmakers need to recognize how much they are distrusted. This is a step toward openness and therefore credibility.