As Gavin Newsom takes a sledgehammer to representative government, the California Legislature is once again his willing accomplice.
Ghost Voting is coming to the State Assembly.
After 12 weeks of hibernation, our legislative branch is slowly awakening. But with a catch: Legislators don’t have to show up, even remotely. Some can just hand their vote button over to “leadership.”
For months the Assembly Speaker maintained that Ghost Voting is unconstitutional. Then on Thursday he announced we’re going to go ahead and do it anyway.
That sums up how our state’s political leaders see the Constitution: optional.
Of course this epiphany, that physical presence isn’t required for legislating after all, came only after the Legislature neglected its work for 3 months because physical presence was deemed unsafe. In that time, Gov. Newsom became a de facto monarch, changing 400 laws while bungling our COVID response.
With a functional legislative branch, the haphazardness with which California was closed, reopened, and now reclosed might have been avoided. Rarely has a ball been so momentously dropped.
The concept of ghost or “proxy” voting is simply incompatible with representative government. My constituents expect me to vote for them, not give an extra vote to someone they’ve never heard of.
It’s a step towards nullifying representation altogether, with leadership just collecting votes and putting them in whichever box special interests point to.
And it’s becoming a pattern: Just three weeks ago the Assembly tried to get rid of public testimony on bills. Fortunately, the Speaker backed down when we announced a Resolution to reverse him.
Now we have yet another fight on our hands to preserve some semblance of democracy in California.
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