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CLRA of 1996 aka SCA 31

Our first legislative measure was The California Legislative Reform Act of 1996. The CLRA was introduced as Senate Constitutional Amendment 31 by State Senator Haynes on Feb. 29, 1996. This legislative constitutional amendment was authored by Andy Ramirez and co-authored by Dr. Tony Fellow. Our sincerest thanks to The Honorable Ray Haynes, CA State Senator, 36th District who has served as our Honorary Chairman since 1995.

Legislation Summary

The following is the official staff analysis of the Senate Committee on Rules, than chaired by Senate President Pro-Tempore Bill Lockyer. SCA 31 was heard by the committee June 17, 1996 and was held by the committee chairman.

_______________staff analysis
1995-96 Regular Session

AUTHOR: Sen. Haynes
Amended: 3/26/96
SUBJECT: State officer compensation: legislative regular session: Budget Bill

SOURCE: Californians for an Accountable Legislature

DIGEST: This constitutional amendment, among other things, requires that any adjustments in the salary of state officers and elected officers of cities and counties be subject to voter approval; provides that Legislators' term of office begin January 1; makes specified changes in regular session; excludes costs of meals from definition of living expenses and prohibits expenditure of public funds for cost of providing a vehicle for any Member and employee; and makes extensive changes in the Budget Bill process. (see analysis for details.)


California Citizens Compensation Committee
Existing law created a seven-member California Citizens Compensation Commission, appointed by the Governor, to establish the annual salary and benefits of state officers. "State officer," is defined as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer, Member of the State Board of Equalization and Member of the Legislature. Currently, Members of the Legislature make $75,600. The minority and majority leaders of each house make an annual salary of $83,160. The Senate Pro-Tempore and Speaker each make an annual salary of $90,720. (*Note: 1995-96 Session Salary). SCA 31 would provide that the annual salary of each Member of the Legislature be $52,500. SCA 31 would continue to authorize the California Citizens Compensation Commission to propose adjustments in the annual salary of Members of the Legislature and other state officers. Any recommended salary adjustments would then be submitted to the voters at the next statewide election. The Commission would continue to establish or adjust the benefits of state officers.

County and City Charters - Provisions
Existing law permits cities and counties to adopt local charters; which, among other things, prescribes compensation for elected officials. SCA 31 would require that proposed adjustments in the salary of any elected officer of cities, counties, or other local governmental bodies be subject to approval by the voters in the jurisdiction in which that officer is elected.

Senate and Assembly - Membership
Existing law requires Members' terms to begin on the first Monday in December following their election. SCA 31 provides for their terms to commence on January 1 following their election.

Legislative Sessions
Existing law requires the Legislature to convene in regular session at noon on the first Monday in December of each even-numbered year. Each session of the Legislature shall adjourn sine die at midnight on November 30 of the following even-numbered year.

SCA 31 provides:
1. The Legislature would convene in regular session at noon on January 3, if that date is not a Saturday or Sunday.
2. During each regular session, the Legislature may adjourn in joint recess for a period not to exceed 30 days.
3. During the portion of the regular session following the recess, no bill would be introduced in either house without the consent of three-fourths of the membership of that house, nor would any member be allowed to introduce more than five bills after the recess.
4. The Legislature would not meet in regular session after July 2 except to reconsider, on or before July 31, bills returned by the Governor.
5. Each session would adjourn sine die at midnight on November 30.

Legislators -- Traveling and Living Expenses
Currently, there is no constitutional definition of "living expenses". SCA 31 defines "living expenses" to mean lodging and incidental expenses, but does not include any costs incurred for meals. Currently, each Member, upon request to their respective Rules Committee, is furnished an automobile of which Rules pays up to $450.00 of the monthly cost. Members and one staff person of Members with a multi-county district may request a monthly assigned pool car. SCA 31 provides that no public funds would be expended for the cost of providing a vehicle for the use of any Member or employee of the Legislature. Currently, the Constitution is silent relating to limitation of the cost of remodeling a Member's Office. SCA 31 provides that public funds may be expended to pay the cost of remodeling an office occupied by any Member of the Legislature only once during any term of office to which that Member is elected.

Governor's Veto -- Bill Introduction in Biennial Session
Existing law provides that any bill, other than a bill which would establish or hange boundaries of any legislative, congressional, or other election district, passed by the Legislature on or before the date the Legislature adjourns for a joint recess to reconvene in the second calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session, and in the possession of the Governor after that date, that is not returned within 30 days after that date becomes a statute. Any bill passed by the Legislature before September 1 of the seconds calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session and in the possession of the Governor on or after September 1 that is not returned on or before Sepetmber 30 of that year becomes a statute. SCA 31, instead, provides that any bill presented to the Governor that is not returned within 12 days becomes a statute. Existing law provides that "(c) any bill introduced during the first year of the session that has not been passed by the house of origin by January 31 of the second year may no longer be acted upon by the house of origin. No bill may be passed by either house on or after September 1 of an even-numbered year except statutes calling elections, statutes providing for tax levies or appropriations for the usual current expenses of the State, and urgency statutes, and bills passed after being vetoed. (d) The Legislature may not present any bill to the Governor after November 15 of the second calendar year of the biennium of the legislative session.
SCA 31 would delete parts (c) and (d) contained in Article 4, Section 10 of the State Constitution.

Governor's Budget - Budget Bill - Other Appropriations
SCA 31:
1. Requires the Budget Bill to be passed by midnight on May 15, and would require forfeiture, in any year in which the Budget Bill is not enacted before midnight on May 31, of any salary or reimbursement for travel or living expenses for the Governor and each Member of the Legislature until the Budget Bill is passed by the Legislature.
2. Provides that total General Fund expenditures authorized by the Budget Bill and any other statute, combined with all Fund reserves authorized by the state for that fiscal year and any General Fund deficit from the preceding fiscal year, shall not exceed the total of all revenues and other resources (including prior year reserves) that are estimated to be available for General Fund purposes for that fiscal year. Requires that the total amounts of General Fund expenditures and expenditures and reserves authorized by the Budget Bill and any other statute for that fiscal year, as of the date of enactment of the Budget Bill, and the total amount of revenues and other resources, including reserves, estimated to be available for General Fund purposes for that fiscal year, shall be expressly set forth in the Budget Bill.
3. Requires that the Budget Bill contain a budget adjustment plan to reduce appropriations during the fiscal year as necessary to eliminate any imbalance of more than 10% as identified by the Legislative Analyst. The budget adjustment plan must specify the extent to which appropriations are to be made from the reserve to eliminate the General Fund budget imbalance.
4. Requires upon the conclusion of each of the fiscal year quarters ending September 30, December 31 and March 31, the Legislative Analyst to report to the Legislature and the Governor on the condition of the General Fund
5. Requires the Legislature to enact for each fiscal year one or more bills that identify the conditions under which the Governor is required to implement the budget adjustment plan and make statutory changes to implement the plan and provides that the Budget Bill shall not become operative before these bills become operative.
6. Exempts General Fund appropriations made in the Budget Bill from the two-thirds requirement. Provides that bills enacted to make changes in law necessary to implement the budget adjustment plan shall go into effect immediately upon enactment and are exempt from the two-thirds vote requirement, except that changes in taxes for the purposes of increasing revenues shall be subject to the two-thirds vote requirement.
7. Provides that a statute enacting the Budget Bill shall go into immediate effect upon enactment. Provides that the budget adjustment plan shall not become operative prior to the operative date of the bill/bills making changes in law necessary to implement the budget adjustment plan.

Public Finance: State Indebtedness
SCA 31 provides, that except as to any indebtedness approved by the voters, the Legislature shall not create in any fiscal year any debt or liability, unless the debt, is repaid during the same fiscal year. Definition of "debt" or "liability" means an obligitation for which an appropriation is made from anticipated funds, but does not include borrowing between state funds.

SUPPORT: (Verified 6/14/96)
Californians for an Accountable Legislature (sponsor)

ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT: According to the sponsor, cutting the size and scope of government would create a savings for the taxpayers of California.


SCA 31 results in unknown net savings to the state, probably millions of dollars annually.
*Source: CA Repubican Legislative Caucuses, June 1996

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