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Initiative would make Legislature part time, slash its pay

 

Sens. Anthony Cannella, left, Bill Emmerson, Tom Harman and Sam Blakeslee talk budget in Sacramento last year. A colleague in the Assembly wants to make the Legislature part time.

A proposal by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) probably won't make her many friends among her colleagues. She wants to reduce the Legislature to part-time status and cut its pay from $95,000 annually to $1,500 a month.

Grove is one of the organizers of an initiative that was approved Monday to begin circulating petitions toward qualifying for the ballot. The constitutional amendment would limit regular legislative sessions to 30 days each January and 60 days starting each May. In odd-numbered years, the legislative sessions would be devoted to budget issues.

In addition to slashing lawmakers' pay, the measure would limit employment while they are in office. State financial officials say it could cut lawmakers' salaries, travel and living expenses and staff costs by tens of millions of dollars annually.

"Since switching to a full-time body in the 1960s, the Legislature has steadily deteriorated, infiltrated by professional politicians, beholden to special interests, and has sunk to a 'whatever it takes' gang -- where anything goes to remain in power,'' Grove said.

Proponents have 150 days to collect 807,615 signatures of registered voters to qualify the measure for the ballot.

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--Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Republican state Sens. Anthony Cannella, left, Bill Emmerson, Tom Harman and Sam Blakeslee talk budget at the Capitol last year. One of their colleagues, Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, wants to make the Legislature part time. Credit: Associated Press

 

 

 

 
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