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Eerie Quiet
Silence in Sacramento...

[John Campbell] 10/21/05

The California State Legislature adjourned in September for the year. We will not reconvene until after New Year's Day. This period is commonly called the "interim." Normally during the "interim" period, committee chairs hold a number of hearings on this matter or that in order to gather information or support for a legislative idea. Normally, legislators would be meeting to discuss bills that are so-called "2-year bills" which have until January 31, 2006, to pass or fail. Normally, working groups would be created to analyze certain complicated matters like transportation or health care with the intent of coming up with a consensus on how to create progress on the issue.


John Campbell (R-Irvine) is a California State Senator representing the 35th District in Orange County. He represents the cities of Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach and Cypress. He can be reached through his Senate website and through the website for his California Senate campaign. [go to Campbell index]

But this is not a normal year. And it is not a normal interim. Very few committees or meetings or working groups are going on. The hallways in the capitol in Sacramento have an almost eerie quiet and emptiness.

Why? First of all, it was a relatively quiet year. The legislature's unwillingness to embrace even one of the Governor's major proposals left this as a year with very little legislative activity of any note. So, if there was not much going on when we were in session, there is even less afterwards.

But the specter of the November 8th special election is also having its effect. Everyone, it seems, is either waiting to see what happens with the Governor's 4 major initiatives (propositions 74, 75.76 & 77) or they are engaged in trying to pass them or defeat them.

If the redistricting initiative (Prop. 77) were to pass, for example, the capitol will go into self-preservation mode with legislators trying to determine the prospects for their political futures. If the Paycheck Protection initiative (Prop 75) were to pass, the reduced power of government union bosses could completely reshape legislative agendas going forward.

If the Governor were to get a clean sweep (4 for 4) Democrats will have renewed fear/respect for him, which may translate into more cooperation. If the Governor were to be swept (0 for 4) then he would need to assess how to accomplish anything in the face of an emboldened opposition. At this point anything could happen. Most legislators are waiting to see what the voters decide.

So, don't expect much noise out of Sacramento until after November 8th. Then, we shall see what forces the voters have unleashed.
But there is lots going on in Washington, DC. I will be there next week. And next week, I will report to you from the nation's very active capitol. CRO



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