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DeSaulnier Introduces Bill Calling for Constitutional Convention

Press Release

Location: Sacramento, CA


Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution 3, proposing that voters determine whether to open a constitutional convention for the State of California.

According to the California Constitution, the Legislature must vote by two-thirds to place the question on the ballot at the next statewide general election. If a majority of Californians votes yes on the question, the Legislature has six months within which to prepare for the convention.

"A constitutional convention may be considered by some as throwing up our hands and starting over. Some may fear that it might usher in unintended consequences, but our system is largely that constructed in the 1800s with propositions cobbled on top," said the newly elected Senator.

"The initiative process in California—while important to government for the people and by the people—has created a Winchester House of budget constraints that don't connect. Meanwhile we've allowed the legislative minority to wield a position of power over the budget process that is unequal to their elected numbers or their popular support," commented DeSaulnier.

"Ultimately, what we need is a major overhaul of the structure of state government. A careful, targeted constitutional convention might provide the tools we need," concluded DeSaulnier.

A constitutional convention has not been called since 1878, at which time the state's population amounted to less than 1 million people. Today, California stands as the eighth largest economy in the world with a population of nearly 40 million.

By comparison—Illinois, Hawaii and Connecticut put the question of a constitutional convention to vote every 10 to 20 years.

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