Opening Day, part two – with bills to track

There were also on the order of two hundred and fifty bills introduced yesterday.

Some bills to pay attention to (a hardly exhaustive list):

HR 23 (introduced by Rep. David Valadao, R-CA) “to provide drought relief in the State of California”
HR 196 (introduced b Rep. Michael Simpson, R-ID) to split the 9th circuit into two
HR 22 (introduced by Rep. Ted Poe, R-CA) “to provide for operational control of the international border of the US”

HR 24 (introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-KY) “to require a full audit of the Federal Reserve”
S 16 (introduced by Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY) to audit the Fed

HR 36 (introduced by Rep. Trent Franks, R-AZ) “to amend 18 USC to protect pain-capable unborn children”

HR 25 (introduced by Rep. Bob Woodall, R-GA) “to promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the IRS, and enacting a national sales tax”
S 18 (introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran, R-KS) “to promote freedom, fairness, and economic opportunity by repealing the income tax and other taxes, abolishing the IRS, and enacting a national sales tax”

HR 29 (introduced by Bob Goodlatte, R-VA) “to terminate the internal revenue code of 1986”
HR 30 (introduced by Richard Hudson, R-NC) “to repeal the federal estate and gift taxes”
HR 21 (introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA) to change US code to allow the Congress to use a single vote to reject all of the Obama administration’s late-term regulations in a single action.
HR 26 (introduced by Doug Collins, R-GA) to change 5 USC 8 to say that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless approved by both houses of Congress
HR 31 (introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC) to periodically review the need for federal agencies and abolish them if there is no public need
HR 33 (introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot, R-OH) to amend 5 USC 6 to ensure “complete analysis of potential impacts on small entities of rules”
HR 74 (introduced by Rep. Tom Marino, R-PA) to amend 5 USC to postpone the effective date of high-impact rules pending judicial review
HR 76 (introduced by Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-TX) to amend 5 USC to ban Chevron deference and instead require deference to Congressional interpretation

HR 80 (introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-TX) to suspend admission of refugees in order to examine the costs of allowing them in
HR 81 (introduced by Rep. Brian Babin, R-TX) to suspend and then terminate the admission of “certain refugees”
HR 83 (introduced by Rep. Lou Baretta, R-PA) to prohibit federal financial assistance to sanctuary cities

HR 133 (introduced by Rep. Tom Cole, R-OK) to abolish taxpayer financing of presidential campaigns

HR 140 (introduced by Rep. Steve King, R-IA) to amend the immigration and nationality act to deny birthright citizenship to children born to parents in the country illegally

HR 232 (introduced by Rep. Don Young, R-AK) to allow states to acquire national forest land

HJR 2 (introduced by Rep. Tom Cole, R-OK) to authorize military action against ISIL

Opening Day

The Congress is off to a busy start; the House passed 14 bills on its first day, the Senate passed 5.

The Senate’s were entirely pro forma:

S. Con. Res. 1: A concurrent resolution extending the life of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
S. Con. Res. 2: A concurrent resolution to provide for the counting of the electoral votes
S. Res 1: A resolution informing the President that a quorom of each house has assembled
S. Res 2: A resolution informing the House that a quorom of the Senate has assembled
S. Res 3: A resolution fixing the hour of daily meeting of the Senate
So were most of the House’s:

H. Con. Res. 1: grants the Speaker and Majority Leader the power to ask the Congress to assemble outside DC if they believe the public interest warrants it (apparently this is almost always HCR1, and the power is never actually used)
H. Res 1: electing the officers
H. Res 2: informing the Senate that a quorom has been assembled, and of the officer election results
H. Res 3: authorizing the Senate to notify the President that Congress has assembled
H. Res 4: authorizing the Clerk to inform the President of the officer election results
H. Res 5: adopting the rules for the session
H. Res 6: electing members to standing committees
H. Res 7: electing other members to other standing committees
H. Res 8: naming employees of the minority caucus
H. Res 9: fixing the daily hour of meeting
S. Con Res 1: extending the life of joint congressional committee on inaugural ceremonies
S. Con Res 2: authorizing the counting of electoral votes on Jan. 6
But there were two non-pro-forma bills passed. The text is not available online yet.

HR 27: Amend 38 USC to require the VA Secretary to retain a copy of any reprimand or admonishment received by an employee of the Department in the permanent record of the employee
HR 28: Amend 38 USC to require the VA Secretary to adopt and implement a standard identification protocol for use in the tracking and procurement of biological implants by the VA

Both were agreed to by a voice vote.

Yes on 67; No on 65

Time is running out, for which I apologize.

Proposition 67 is the one true referendum on the ballot this year, and Proposition 65 is a strange measure which interacts with it.

—What do I mean when I say Proposition 67 is the one true referendum?—

In California law, there is a distinction between an *initiative* and a *referendum*.

An *initiative* is a new law proposed by the voters. It is placed on the ballot after a member of the community drafts a law, pays a fee to the Attorney General to prepare petitions, and gets enough signatures via those petitions. A ‘yes’ vote on an initiative adopts the new law; a ‘no’ vote keeps the status quo.

A *referendum* is a *voter objection to a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor*. The legislature passes a law, the governor signs it, and then displeased voters take out a petition to force the law to (a) be suspended until the next election and (b) only go into effect if the voters approve it. A ‘yes’ vote on a referendum *keeps the law as written by the legislature*; a ‘no’ vote *overrules the legislature and returns the law to the way it was before the legislature acted*.

Proposition 67 is the only actual *referendum* on the ballot this year: it’s a law passed by the legislature in 2014 and immediately suspended by voter outrage.

—-What does Prop 67 do?—-

* it prohibits covered grocery stores from providing single-use carryout bags to customers for free, but allows the sale of reusable bags and the sale of recycled paper bags for at least $.10/bag.

* it requires stores to provide recycled paper bags or reusable bags for free to people using a payment card or voucher issued by the supplemental food program for WIC

* it allows stores to give away compostable bags for free, if the local jurisdiction allows it

The policy reasons causing the legislature to vote to this were that single-use bags generate a lot of waste, at least some of which ends up in storm drains and therefore in the ocean; restricting them will reduce waste and pollution.

The policy reasons stoking the referendum were that this is in effect a hidden tax and an inconvenience. The argument in the ballot handbook portrays it as opposition to a giant corporate giveaway (because the evil grocery stores keep the money), but that’s not the reason the referendum was circulated; the referendum was circulated because people object to being forced to pay for grocery bags.

This is a bit bizarre for me, as I live in SF, and before that lived in Palo Alto; much of my time is spent in jurisdictions which already have a variant on this rule, and it’s … fine. So I’m really confused by the opposition.

It’s a regressive tax, to be sure, AND at the same time, it’s a de minimis tax, and you pay it once (buying the reusable bags) and then are done; it strikes me as being a reaosnable way of achieving a cultural behavioral shift – not by banning something, but by taxing it *just enough* to induce the change.

—-What does Prop. 65 do?—-

Prop 65 says that if Prop. 67 passes, or if the state or a local jurisdiction ever pass a rule similar to Prop. 65, the grocery stores are not allowed to keep the money they charge for the bag. (It’s not clear if that just refers to the $.10 charge or if it refers to, say, the entire cost of a reusable bag; I can summon arguments both ways and suspect a court will decide). Instead, it directs the money to the state, where it gets dropped in a fund for environmental protection including drought mitigation, clean drinking water, parks, beach cleanup, and wildlife habitat restoration.

The argument for this is that the fee for grocery bags amounts to a raiding of the public for the benefit of kleptocratic grocery stores, and that it’s better to use the money for environmental preservation purposes. This seems unlikely to me; grocery stores run on razor-thin margins, and they’re hardly kleptocratic profit centers.

The argument against is that it amounts to theft from the grocery stores because bags cost money; but this rings hollow for me because *the stores were giving the bags away for free before* and they’re no more expensive now than they were then.

—-How am I going to vote?—-

I’m voting yes on 67; I think it’s a reasonable way to enact a policy of this sort – a small fee that shifts behavior and has a large positive result.

I’m voting no on 65; I don’t see any reason to confiscate this money from the stores, and I resent the anti-big-grocery rhetoric of the argument for.

No on 59

Proposition 59 is an advisory measure that expresses the sentiment of the public without being binding law.

The measure, if passed, would express the desire of the public for our elected officials to “use all of their constitutional authority” to “overturn Citizens United” and “to allow the full regulation or limitation of campaign contributions and spending” as well as “to ensure that all citizens, regardless of wealth, may express their views to one another” and “to make clear that corporations should not have the same constitutional rights as human beings.”

The official argument in favor of the initiative says that we should vote yes to help get big money out of politics and to correct the Supreme Court’s incorrect ruling in Citizens United. The rebuttal points out that the initiative does nothing because it has no force of law.

The official argument against says that the measureis a big waste of time and taxpayer dollars because (a) it has no legal effect and (b) asks California’s members of Congress to tinker with the first amendment. The rebuttal castigates the “misleading scare tactics” of the opponents and then warns that passing proposition 59 is essential to “PREVENT CORPORATIONS AND WEALTHY SPECIAL INTERESTS FROM BUYING OUR ELECTIONS”, the capitalization of which strongly implies that it’s a scare tactic.

——-

_Citizens United_ is a Supreme Court decision which held that the first amendment protects the right of corporations and labor unions to spend whatever they want on political campaigns, as long as those campaigns are not coordinated with official candidate campaigns. The abbreviated form of the argument is: the right to free speech and the right to freedom of the press *include* the right to buy advertising and to pay people to speak on your behalf; a limit on independent campaign expenditures is a restriction on the ability to speak, and is unconstitutional.

If you agree *as a policy matter* with the outcome of that decision, then you should vote ‘No’ on Proposition 59, as it’s a clear call for the state’s elected officials to do anything in their power to overturn it.

If, on the other hand, you disagree as a policy matter – whether or not you agree with the interpretation of the first amendment – the initiative looks tempting; the Supreme Court took the policy discussion off the table, and this initiative calls on the state’s elected officials to do what they can to amend the US constitution to put the policy issue back on the table.

That said, there are two strong reasons to *not* vote for this initiative even if you *do* despise _Citizens United_ and its outcome:

(a) it’s an advisory measure with no legal force which does nothing other than bring about political pressure;

(b) taken at face value it asks the elected officials of California to call an Article V constitutional convention, whose exercise of powers cannot be constrained.

——-

Looking at the two reasons to vote against, in order:

(a) it’s an advisory measure. It has no legal force. The constitution of California does not allow the voters to require its Legislators to vote a certain way, and the Constitution of the United States does not allow the voters of any state to direct federal officeholders in how to carry out their duties as such.

It has *moral* and *persuasive* authority, but probably only on those who were already inclined to behave in accordance with its provisions and who need political cover to do so in districts where they aren’t certain to be re-elected.

California has historically not used the initiative system for this kind of advisory measure; initiatives have always been actual laws or constitutional amendments. If we pass *this* advisory measure, it seems likely that there will be more, and the initiative system will become a method to poll for opinion rather than a way for the people to enact and disapprove of laws.

I think it’s a bad change to the initiative system, and would support an initiative to ban such advisory measures; it’s tempting to vote against this just on those grounds so as to send a clear “do not do this kind of thing” message to the legislature.

But (b) is more important.

——

The plain text of the measure calls upon all of California’s elected officials to use “all of their constitutional authority” to overturn Citizens United. This includes calling upon the Legislature to use its authority to call for a Constitutional Convention.

Under Article V of the US Constitution, one of the ways to amend the constitution is for 2/3 of the states to ask Congress to “call a convention for proposing amendments”.

28 states have currently done so. This measure asks the California Legislature to become the 29th. In theory, many of the 28 states are only asking for *a specific amendment*, and so too would California be; but there *is no mechanism to enforce that*.

A constitutional convention, once called, can propose *any* amendment it chooses. Those amendments must be ratified by the states, it’s true, but the last time a constitutional convention was called, it *explicitly changed the rules for ratification* and the new rules went into effect *as soon as the new rules were followed*.

A constitutional convention, in other words, cannot be constrained; it has the power to do anything it wants.

It is, therefore, a very bad idea. It is a potential revolution unconstrained by any existing rules — and, as a general rule, it’s only good to support a revolution if the current situtation is so untenable that ANYTHING would be better, or if you have real certainty that the outcome of the revoluution will be what you want and the revolutionaries will not be led astray.

I am voting no. Even though I dislike the *policy outcomes* of _Citizens United_, I don’t want to risk the potential of an unconstrained constitutional convention.

Unsure and maybe on Prop. 55

Proposition 55 is ballot measure to extend part of a temporary voter-approved tax for another twelve years. Presumably there will be another vote to extend at that time.
—-
In 2012, voters approved Proposition 30, w hich did two things: it increased the state income tax for individuals making more than $250,000 (adjusted for inflation) ($500,000 for couples), and it increased the sales tax. Both the sales tax and the income tax were set to expire in 2018.
Proposition 55 extends the *income tax increase* to 2030 and allows the sales tax increase to lapse.
Compared with the situation if the measure isn’t passed, the Legislative Analyst’s Office thinks that the measure will result in $4-$9 billion more in revenue a year, half of which is allocated to schools, $0-$2 billion of which could be diverted.
—-
The text of the ballot measure takes up a lot of space in the ballot pamphlet, but a huge chunk of that is reproducing the embedding context for the change – Article XIII,  Section 36 of the state Constitution is reproduced in its entirety. From what I can tell from reading it, the measure makes these actual changes to state law:
(a) it extends the income tax increase until 2030 (and extends some accounting provisions similarly)
(b) it changes the rules for the income tax increase to allow some of the money to be diverted from education to health care programs.
(c) it changes the overall budget rules to say that, if general fund revenue exceeds both the amount Proposition 98 requires the state spend on schools AND the total cost of programs in place on 1/1/2016, half of the excess is required to be spent on Medi-Cal.
The middle point requires some explaining.
Under the terms of Proposition 30 (and generally required by state law), half of the money raised by the income tax increase is allocated to education (with much of the rest going to local public safety programs). Proposition 30 would allow some of the money allocated to education to be diverted to health care “in order to enhance the ability of all California school children and their families to receive regular, quality education and thereby minimize school absenteeism due to health-related problems.” The diverted funding “shall be used only for critical, emergency, acute, and preventive health care services to children and their families.”
Money can be diverted if, and only if, Proposition 30 causes general fund revenue exceeds both the school spending required by Proposition 98 *and* the total cost of general fund revenues
—-
The official argument for the initiative, written by the President of the state PTA, argues that this is required to avoid devastating health care cuts. The rebuttal complains that extending a temporary tax makes it not temporary, that there won’t be education cuts if the measure doesn’t pass, and that extending the tax will kill jobs, close businesses, and hurt the economy.
The official argument against the initiative, written by the President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, argues that temporary should mean temporary, that the presence of a budget surplus means we don’t need higher taxes, that the measure targets small businesses and will kill jobs, and that the untrustworthy politicians and special interests are just trying to feather their nests. The rebuttal argues that the measure doesn’t raise any taxes, prevents cuuts, and is immune to corruption.
As usual, both sets of arguments set my teeth on edge.
—-
The proponents of the initiative have a point: the expiration of a temporary tax increase *must* result in a reduction in spending unless either (a) a replacement source of revenue is identified or (b) the state is allowed to use its budgetary reserve fund to supplement. The presence of a surplus, contrary to the disingenuous argument of the HJIA, doesn’t change this – the surplus was deliberately constructed so as to *allow* the growth of a budgetary reserve fund, largely as a result of policies the HJIA pushed for, and wise fiscal stewardship would not allow either cutting into the surplus OR cutting into the budgetary reserve. So opponents are *lying* when they say there will be no cuts if the measure fails to pass; there will be.
On the other hand, the opponents have a point: Proposition 30 was sold as a *temporary* increase, and so is Proposition 55. But Proposition 55’s presence on the ballot in 2016 strongly suggests that the Governor and his allies were lying in 2012 when they said Proposition 30 was temporary, and also strongly suggests that the proponents of Proposition 55 are lying when they say *it* is temporary; the temporary tax provides revenue to education and other important programs, the programs in question use the revenue to underwrite ongoing costs rather than on one-time costs, and the expiration of the tax causes a panic about the potential side effects of losing the revenue on which they have become dependant – causing a ballot measure to extend the tax. So why portray it as temporary?
The cynical answer is that the proponents think that portraying it as temporary increases the likelihood that the voters will approve it; but if the proponents know, as they must, that a temporary tax increase creates a dependence on revenue which creates pressure to extend the tax, then they are being intentionally misleading in portraying it as temporary — even if the temporary nature is written into the law.
On the other other hand – the opponents claim that this tax *increase* will kill business is difficult to believe, because it’s not an increase at all, but rather an extension. The businesses which would be killed are *already* paying the tax, and so if paying the tax would kill the business, it would already be dead. The claim makes a bit more sense if it is limited to those businesses which have been surviving paying the tax but have been dependant for that survival on the tax vanishing at the end of 2018 — but that’s not going to be very many, if any at all.
It’s this kind of thing, where both campaigns are fundamentally based on misleading me, that leaves me tempted to throw up my hands and refuse to vote. I won’t, because I have a responsibility to do so, but it’s *tempting*, and the campaigns make me angry.
—-
That said, I don’t know how I’m going to vote on this one.
On the one hand, this measure contains a provision specifically allocating revenue to a specific program, which is generally a bad idea because it deprives the legislature of flexibility to respond to emergencies or changing priorities, and makes the overall business of budgeting more complicated and difficult than anyone wants it to be. There are cases where I’ll put that aside – I’m most likely to do that when it forces people to internalize costs they are currently imposing on someone else – but the specific allocation of a broad-based income tax isn’t one of them.
On the other hand, this measure extends an already existing tax and, if that tax expires, things which are currently paid for will no longer be paid for. The 2012 electorate held a figurative gun to the head of the 2016 electorate and is threatening to shoot us if we don’t extend the tax.
I wasn’t a California voter in 2012; I don’t know how I would have voted on that measure then. But today, I resent the 2012 electorate, and the politicians who wrote and campaigned for Proposition 30, for not having the courage to sell a permanent tax. The bill for that is due, and we are paying it.
I dislike the politics of ransom. I dislike the situation where a currently existing program is going to expire unless the voters compromise and pass the bill in front of us regardless of its flaws.
And yet: here we are. However much it’s true that paying a hostage-taker simply encourages the taking of more hostages, and however much it’s true that voting to extend this tax just increases the likelihood of the same obnoxious technique being used in the future, the fact remains that the public schools *will be hurt*, and local public safety programs *will be hurt*, if this measure does not pass.
By how much, I do not know.
One way out is to note that this isn’t the last shot we have; we can vote this down, demand the Legislature produce a better initiative, and vote on it again in 2018. But, unless I believe the 2018 initiative will not contain the same “allocate money to specific programs” flaw that this one does, that’s just postponing the problem and kicking the can down the road. I’m still going to have to make the same decision – vote against the measure because of its flaws, or accept that politics is about compromise and vote for the compromise under duress.
It would help if I had a good notion of how bad the damage would be, if the measure is defeated; but I don’t, because the activists pushing the measure proclaim DOOM and the activists opposing the measure make the ridiculous claim that no harm will be done. I don’t have the time, skill, or inclination to obsessively research state education spending, so at the moment I’m spinning my wheels on this initiative, unsure of where I’ll fall.

Yes on 54

When people who dislike the initiative system argue that it is a terrible system, my default argument back is that the system was intended as a failsafe by people who had fought for more than a generation to overcome effective control of the legislature by a single particularly powerful special interest, and that the initiative system remains one of the best ways to ensure that the people *always* have the power to push an agenda which politicians, for whatever reason, are unable to get behind. This argument has become somewhat less plausible as the signature collection industry has somewhat been captured by special interests, and as the cost of a statewide campaign has mounted to the point where the citizens cannot easily *pay* for a campaign to persuade one another without reliance on big donors; but it remains a useful power, even if it has been diminished.
It is particularly useful when it comes to things like Proposition 54, a populist reform of *the way the legislature does business*. The legislature would never, on its own, done what this initiative tries to do; it is too revolutionary a change to the working of the legislature for the legislature, absent a throw-the-bums-out style revolution, to pass it without external pressure. (The legislature *did* pass a version of it this year, but only as an attempt to persuade the author of the initiative to withdraw it).
Proposition 54 makes the following changes to the rules governing the legislature:
* it amends the state Constitution to say that any person attending a public meeting of the legislature may record the meeting (with audio or video) and broadcast and transmit the recordings, subject to rules regulating placement of equipment;
* it amends the state Constitution to require that, beginning January 1 2018, the Legislature itself shall record all public meetings and make the recordings available on the internet for no less than twenty years;
* it amends the state Constitution to say that no bill may be passed unless the bill, with any amendments, has been published on the internet (in its final form) for at least 72 hours before the vote on the bill, unless the Governor has specifically said that this bill is necessary to address a declared state of emergency and the legislature concurs with that assessment by a 2/3 majority vote.
* it amends the Government Code to repeal a prohibition against using recordings of the  Legislature for political or commercial purposes.
* it specifically requires the Legislature to continue to comply unless the initiative is declared unconstitutional by an appellate court, and requires the AG to act to preserve standing if the initiative is challenged in court and the AG declines to defend i t.
———–
The legislative analyst optimistically estimates that it will cost the legislature  about $1 million a year to record its proceedings and host the video online. I’m not sure how that was calculated, as I expect the bandwidth use to be large, AND at the end of the day, *cost* isn’t really a reason to vote for or against this measure; even the worst case scenario for costs will render them a rounding error (although given the other constitutional limits on legislative expenses, there *might* be an issue with cost-of-hosting-videos crowding out other legislative expenses).
From what I can tell, there are basically two questions to consider with respect to this initiative:
* does repealing the prohibition on political and commercial use of legislative video run the risk that committee hearings will be selectively quoted out of context in political attack ads, and thereby force politicians to increase theirr tendency to use hearings for political posturing rather than actual work? Relatedly, does the repeal on *commercial* use increase the likelihood of really crass commercialization of floor speeches?
* does increasing transparency overall serve the public good, or does it make compromise more dififcult and thereby produce less good policy outcomes?
————-
Let’s look at the last of those questions first, in the context of a specific provision.
Requiring that the text of a bill be available *to the legislators* for 72 hours before the vote is an obvious no-brainer — right now, the *legislators themselves* aren’t guaranteed to get copies of the text with enough notice to allow them to read the thing before voting on it, a fact which raises real questions about what the legislators are basing their votes on.
Posting it *online*, however, is a different issue. The intent seems to be to provide the public (specifically, watchdog and activist groups who have the time and staff to monitor these things) to read the bills and react to them by pressuring politicians not to vote for them in the window between publication and vote. This will increase the degree to which the legislators are responsive to the policy preferences of the activist groups doing this – whether or not that is a good idea depends on how representative the groups are of the interests of the population as a whole, and on the degree to which these groups believe in compromise in the interest of the public good.
At the level of democratic theory, this is an obvious win: the people have the right to know what their legislators are *going to do* in the name of the people, and have the right to use political pressure to keep the legislators in conformance with the will of the people.
And yet in practice, it may not work out as well as theory says it should. There is some evidence from other contexts that increasing transparency reduces the scope for compromise; and the nature of the 72-hour notice requirement is that it will allow well-funded or well-organized groups to notice and object to things while only *in theory* providing the same benefits to less well-funded and less well-organized groups. It *may* have the result of transferring more effective power into the hands of special interests.
————-
Looking to the first question second: one of the reasons the Supreme Court is adamantly opposed to allowing cameras in the courtroom is that it believes that snippets of recordings of oral arguments will be used, out of context, to mislead people for political purposes, and that this will result in the justices, over time, using oral arguments to posture for political purposes instead of using them as indirect ways of persuading one another. There are ways to reduce the risk of this, and prohibiting the use of such recordings in political advertisements is a good start – but it’s really not clear if such a prohibition would be constitutional; if freedom of speech means anything, it means the ability to make political arguments.
Some of the opponents to Proposition 54 have a similar fear about its effects: by explicitly repealing a prohibition in state law that prevents the use of video of legislative meetings in political ads, the proposition creates a situation where statements can be taken out of context, used to mislead, and used to punish people for making compromises.
The argument on the other side, of course, is that this is simply a way for the people to keep their agents in line, and to use documentary evidence of malfeasance to hold legislative agents accountable.
(In theory, there’s a similar argument about allowing video of legislative action to be used for commercial purposes – some company using video of the legislature to sell its goods or services would be demeaning to the legislature, but it seems unlikely; politicians aren’t held in high enough esteem for such a campaign to be effective. *More likely*, though, is someone using out-of-context snippets from a legislative hearing to attack their competition).
————-
I’m deeply, deeply conflicted about this measure.
I think there’s a real risk that video of legislative debate will be misused in misleading ways, and I think that the 72-hour public notice provision empowers those with the time and resources to keep track of legislation, which is a discrete, already quite priviliged, minority of the population. I think it’s a way for special interests to make it harder for legislators to escape their grasp, and it’s a way to make it easier to detect, and punish, compromise and deviaiton from the party line.
And yet.
Right now, it’s basically impossible for legislators to read what they’re voting on before voting on it (and in some cases, it’s apparently impossible for legislators to even get copies of bills before voting on them). That’s *utterly broken* as a matter of process, and it must be fixed.
So the question is: which is more important? Preventing the problems I see with the initiative, or ending the current system under which, in a very real sense, legislators can’t do their job?
I’m coming down – narrowly – on the side of the latter, and so accordingly I’m planning to vote ‘yes’. But it’s not as clear cut as I thought it was when I first heard of the initiative.

Hello again, Mrs. Fiorina.

Carly Fiorina is running for President.

This is hilarious, considering how badly her run for Senate went.

She is attacking former Senator Clinton quite harshly, hoping (perhaps) to stake out a position as the most anti-Hillary candidate.

But she’s also citing, as one of the reasons to support her, her tremendous success as a leader at HP (where she oversaw a misguided merger with Compaq, introduced mass layoffs for the first time in the company’s history, and was eventually fired by the board of directors – a stint for which she is widely disliked by those in Silicon Valley with long enough memories to remember it).

Her tremendous success as an executive of a technology firm. Her executive leadership abilities.

Which is why her staff failed to secure carlyfiorina.org – a site that, as of this writing, consists of the text

“Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain.

So I’m using it to tell you how many people she laid off at Hewlett-Packard.

It was this many:”

followed by one :{ for every person laid off, and the concluding text:

“That’s 30,000 people she laid off. People with families. And what does she say she would have done differently?

“I would have done them all faster.”
—Carly Fiorina”

Leadership at its finest.