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County Supervisor Antonovich recalls last Assembly supermajority

November 15, 2012 |  8:00 pm


Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich knows what Republicans in the state Assembly are feeling right now, staring at the prospect of a session where Democrats have a two-thirds majority.

Antonovich was Assembly Republican whip during the 1977-78 session, the last time the Democrats held a supermajority in the lower house. He said Republican members face a challenge in such circumstances in getting their voices heard.

"I’d encourage them to work harder and smarter," Antonovich said. "The Democrats’ tax and spend agenda continues to send jobs out of the state, and the Republicans need to provide constructive alternatives on how you can bring jobs back to California and grow the economy.’’

This time both houses will have supermajorities, which makes it possible for the Democrats to raise taxes without Republican votes. In 1977-78, the Democrats fell one vote short of a supermajority in the Senate, according to Brian Ebbert, assistant chief clerk/parliamentarian for the Assembly. In June 1978, a backlash by voters led to the passage of the tax limitation measure Proposition 13, and the next election saw the Democratic supermajority lost.

Antonovich said he was able to get bills passed despite the Democratic supermajority by forging relationships and dealing with issues that transcended party lines, including measures that increased penalties for those who kidnap children or hold dog fights.

"You can’t go up there and just sit there and look out the window," he said. "You have to be constructive, attend the committee meetings, offer alternatives."


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times.