Morrell Introduces State Budget Transparency Bill

Renews push for 72-hour public availability of budget before legislative vote
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

SACARAMENTO – To promote transparency and increase citizens’ accessibility to their state government, Senator Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, introduced Senate Constitutional Amendment 3 to require that the state budget be available to the public and posted online at least 72 hours before any vote of the legislature.

“During my time in office, I’ve seen too often that the public doesn’t get a fair chance to review the final budget before it’s approved,” said Morrell. “Even my fellow legislators and I have not always been privy to the details until just hours before we vote. It’s no way to run our government. I’ve made government transparency a priority of mine since day one in Sacramento and will continue to fight so that the process is accessible to everyone.”

As an Assemblyman, Morrell introduced AB 998 (2011), AB 1437 (2012), and AB 70 (2013), all of which would have required the state budget to be in print and posted online at least three days before a vote of the legislature. Whereas these previous measures would have been laws self-imposed by the legislature, SCA 3 would require a vote of the people to write the requirement into the state constitution. Unlike laws passed by the legislature, constitutional changes must be made by the people.

“What we have in place now leaves the door open for backroom deals and other mischief,” continued Morrell. “That’s how last year’s budget ended up including a provision capping the amount of money school districts are allowed to hold in emergency reserves. But time and again, legislative Democrats have rejected what the citizens want. Taxpayers deserve better and that’s why I’ve authored this measure for a fourth time.”

SCA 3 will be referred to committee and set for hearing in the spring.