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State Senate leader proposes more initiative power for lawmakers

April 19, 2012 |  6:16 pm

The leader of the state Senate proposed Thursday that the Legislature be allowed to put tax measures on the ballot with a majority vote rather than a two-thirds majority.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) offered a trio of proposals to improve the process for putting measures before voters.

"How maddening it was way, way back in 2011 to have a new governor and Legislature make $14 billion worth of cuts and then not allow the people the right to vote to extend existing  taxes," Steinberg said during a speech to the Sacramento Press Club.

He also proposed that once a group submits signatures to qualify an initiative, the Legislature and governor, with the concurrence of the group, should be allowed to change or replace the ballot measure.

That proposal, he said, would give state elected officials and initiative proponents time "to try and solve the underlying problem together."

Steinberg also proposed that the Legislature and the governor be allowed together to amend or repeal any statutory initiative after 10 years.

"It sounds obvious to say it, but needs and priorities change from one decade to the next," he said.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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