Constitutional Convention Panel
Citizens Oversight (2009-08-01) Raymond Lutz
This Page: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M813
Media Link: http://youtu.be/AF-ixYXZpRU
Fact: The California Constitution is one of the longest constitutions in the world, exceeded in length only by that of Alabama and India.
This panel considers the proposal to convene a "Constitutional Convention" to revise, rewrite, and amend the California State Constitution. Many feel that the inability of the legislature to reach agreement on a budget, coupled with the fact that only about 7% of the budget is available for adjustments anyway, results in a "broken government". A constitutional convention would take a number of months to complete their work, and would cost the state about $30 million. However, each day that the budget is late costs the state $40 million. Just fixing that problem would be worth the trouble.
The problem, of course, is constructing a procedure that will not be hijacked by special interests to make the problem even worse. Matt Regan of the Bay Area Council (http://www.BayAreaCouncil.org
) has been driving this initiative and he suggests that the best way to decouple this from special interests is to use the jury selection process to select convention delegates to perform the work on the constitution.
All social issues, such as marriage rights, abortion rights, etc. that are not related to the operation of government are off the table. However, all other issues, such as Proposition 13, 2/3 voting requirements, and many "sacred cows" are on the table. The initiatives to start the convention would require 2/3 vote to start the convention but the result of the convention would be approved by majority vote.
Part 1: Statements by Presenters
Part 2: Q & A