Capitol Alert

Introduce a bill and pay a fee, says proposed ballot measure

The California and American flags fly in the courtyard at the Gold River Discovery Center.
The California and American flags fly in the courtyard at the Gold River Discovery Center. The Sacramento Bee

California lawmakers are considering upping the price of direct democracy by increasing to $2,000 the decades-old $200 fee to file a ballot measure.

Assembly Bill 1100 was inspired by a divisive failed initiative to sanction the killing of gays and lesbians, which has generated its own $200 spoofs.

On Thursday, another Californian with $200 to burn stepped forward with a proposal that would raise the price of indirect democracy.

Bart C. Gilbert of San Diego pitched the long-shot Preservation and Modernization of California Direct Democracy Act, or, informally, the “What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander Act.”

Basically, it would require that legislators pay a filing fee ($200, or, $2,000 if they successfully raise the price) to propose or sponsor a bill. The money would come from their personal funds, and would be placed in a trust. Lawmakers would get a refund if their bill was signed by the governor or became law.

Otherwise, the money would be deposited into the state general fund.

Gilbert may have personal interest in maintaining the $200 threshold. His group, Sovereign California, has a lot of ideas they want put on the ballot, including proposals to levy a five-cent tax on each ounce of bottled water; issue “residence permits” to qualifying unauthorized immigrants and ban certain political contributions from out-of-state donors.

Sovereign California also wants to replace the title “governor” with “president;” require the flying of the state flag “in the position of first honor” when displayed with the United States flag; and, wait for it, creating an expert panel to study “establishing California’s autonomy from the United States.”

#hiramjohnson #neverchange

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago