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California amendment may slow down ‘gut and amend’ political tactics

by AirTalk®

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What would happen if lawmakers no longer used gut and amend practices? Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) and Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto) are proposing amendments to the California constitution to slow down “gut and amend” political strategies.

Here’s how gut and amend works: Right before legislature is about to vote on a bill that’s gone through discussion and revisions, politicians switch out the bill’s original language and replace it with new language. This allows the new language to escape the public, and sometimes lawmakers, watchful eyes. On the other hand, it also enables lawmakers to act quickly on political will - without as much interference from lobbyists.

The Sacramento Bee reported that 48 bills were gutted and amended in the last three weeks of the 2011 session.

The proposed amendments to the California Constitution, The proposed amendments to the California Constitution, ACA 4 in the Assembly and SCA 10 in the Senate, would require all non-emergency bills to be published for 72 hours before voting is allowed. California would not be the first state to enact this law because New York and Florida already have similar legislation, according to the Sacramento Bee.

What would happen if the gut and amend process was forced to go in slower motion? How could this change the political process? Would public interest groups be more active in monitoring proposed legislation?


Phillip Ung, Spokesperson, Common Cause described as good governance accountability group - Sponsors of ACA 4 and SCA 10

Steve Maviglio, Democratic Strategist and Former Legislative Staffer

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