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Campaign for part-time lawmakers continues to stall

June 5, 2012 |  2:42 pm

Assembly floor

The campaign to make serving in California's Legislature a part-time job will probably have to completely reboot as its effort to gather support stumbles.

The proposed initiative already fell short of being placed on the November ballot. Now it’s no longer paying people to collect signatures needed to qualify for the next ballot in 2014.

"We stopped the paid signature gathering," said Ted Costa, a conservative activist. "But we’re still collecting signatures."

To qualify for the ballot, initiative campaigns need to collect enough signatures -- in this case, almost 808,000  -- within 150 days of their initial filing. The deadline is July 2, and the campaign has collected only between 300,000 and 400,000 signatures so far.

So if Costa and his allies want to place the proposal on the ballot in 2014, they'll have to refile their proposal and start collecting signatures all over again. 

Costa worked on the initiative with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield). If approved by voters, lawmakers would serve only three months out of the year.

"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 when the campaign began collecting signatures.


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Photo: The California Assembly floor in 2008. Credit: Robert Durell / Los Angeles Times