Aug 25, 2012
Promoted by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield), and conservative icon Michael Reagan, the Citizen Legislature Initiative is collecting signatures to help return the Legislature to part-time status.
Here is what Michael Reagan and Shannon Grove are proposing in the part-time lawmaker plan for the 2014 ballot:
- Annual salary slashed from $95,000 down to $18,000.
- Staff and travel eliminated.
- Legislative sessions reduced to 90 days per year.
- Two-year state budgets.
- State government jobs and lobbying banned while in office (and for five years afterward).
The latest study by the state Legislative Analyst's Office shows that California could save tens of millions of tax dollars every year by slashing salaries and getting rid of staff and travel expenses.
Michael Reagan, 67, eldest son of Ronald Reagan, says that his effort to replace California's full-time legislature with part-time lawmakers would correct something his father regretted about his governorship of California.
"I think it's great that his son is saying 'Wait a minute. I'm going to chair the effort to take this back to a part-time Legislature, and try and get this state back in some fiscal sanity," said Reagan.
Michael Reagan is Chairman of the Citizen Legislature Initiative, which has already collected 400,000 signatures toward getting the measure on the November 2014 ballot.
The California Legislature is the highest-paid in America at $96,000 per year plus extra tax-free cash, which angers California voters, including Michael Reagan.
"They can make up to $50,000 a year in per diem, which means it's non-taxable," Reagan declared. "So they can make $146,000 a year, $50,000 of which is non-taxable. Don't you wish you had that deal?"
"Last year I think they passed something like 3,000 bills; signed over 800 bills into law," Reagan continued. "You can't wake up in California without breaking a law, and these state legislators are bankrupting this state."
A part-time legislature would meet no more than 90 days in Sacramento between January and June (with exceptions allowed for emergencies called by the governor).
"It's about time that we get back to a situation where people who are serving us do it as a part of who they are. It's not a career to become a politician. Your job should be a career." Reagan emphasized. "Being a politician, you should be a citizen giving up your time and not looking at it as a way to get wealthy, as so many do."
Michael Reagan pointed out the popularity of the part-time Legislature initiative with California voters.
"Democrats, Independents, Republicans, anybody in the state that we go up and talk to is signing this petition, said the conservative activist. "Everybody who comes up to you is signing it. They want this state to change."
While many Californians are insisting on a Michael Reagan for Governor 2014 campaign, Reagan is presently focused on promoting the Citizen Legislature Act, and seeing it become the California Citizen Legislature Law.
Critics strongly object to the part-time lawmaker plan.
They say a part-time Legislature will just create a conflict of interest as a lawmaker would be more loyal to another full-time job that pays more than $18K. Plus, they question how a part-time Legislature could really work when the governor and lobbyists work full-time.
However, for all the tax dollars spent on current full-time legislators, their approval rating is at a low 22 percent, according to a recent Field Poll.
The part-time lawmaker measure needs more signatures to get on the November 2014 ballot. Supporters of the Citizen Legislature Initiative are urged to visit the Citizen Legislature website.
Michael Reagan Speech on Part-Time Legislature