Part-time California legislature proposal fails

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Backers of a proposal to create a so-called “citizen legislature” in California say they’ve failed to qualify their measure for the November ballot.

The measure would have created a part-time state legislature that would have met for a maximum of 30 days in January and 60 days starting in May. Right now, the state senate and assembly meet about 130 days a year.

The proposal also would have slashed lawmakers’ salaries in half.

Citizens for California Reform backed the measure. It describes itself as interested in a more limited and transparent state government. The group's President Cynthia Holt said the proposal would have led to more “every-day citizens” and fewer “career politicians” in the legislature, in the interest of breaking the “stranglehold of special interests.”

But the group couldn’t afford to pay people to gather signatures for the initiative, and it failed to collect the 700,000 names it needed.

Holt said the group will focus instead on supporting candidates who back a part-time legislature.