By Joel Anderson
San Diegans are particularly aware of the incredible sacrifices that brave men and women have made to protect our freedoms. Our veterans are an important part of San Diego’s history and our social fabric. Veterans are our heroes, our family, our neighbors, and our friends.
And it saddens me that I have to explain to my veteran friends and neighbors that Sacramento’s majority party used them as political pawns.
“Trailer bills” are often used in the budget process for the purpose of implementing the policy changes necessary for the main budget bill to work. Unfortunately, the trailer bill process has too often been abused. The super-majority has used trailer bills to implement sweeping policy changes unrelated to the budget or make political power plays and avoid the scrutiny most bills experience as they work through the normal legislative process.
Senate Bill 96 is a trailer bill that passed the Senate on June 15 and may have been the most egregious abuse of them all.
SB 96 contained elements that were important to our veterans which I wanted to support. Those elements included the prioritization of disabled veterans for admission to veteran homes.
In secret, leadership tucked into SB 96 last minute language that significantly changed the 110-year-old rules for recall elections in California. The changes were designed to benefit a sitting Democrat Senator from Orange County who is the target of a recall initiated by voters in his district over his support of the recently passed gas tax.
Here’s how the Sacramento Bee’s reporting on June 12 described the changes: “The proposed changes… would add months to the existing timeline of certifying a recall election for the ballot. The measure would virtually assure that any recall election would be held at the regularly scheduled June 5, 2018 legislative primary election… Regular election turnout historically is much higher than turnout for special elections, which helps Democrats.”
Our veterans are always foremost on my mind. Since I began in the legislature, one of my top priorities has been to ensure that California kept its promise to those who signed up to protect our liberty and it’s been an honor to partner with our state’s most prestigious veterans organizations on many different pieces of legislation throughout my career. But I had no choice but to vote against SB 96.
The way these recall process changes were inserted into a bill for veterans is an insult to those who have put their lives on the line to defend our freedom and democracy. Further, by changing the century-old rules for recalls to advantage the party in power, SB 96 minimizes the importance of elections, shields powerful politicians from voters who wish to hold them accountable, and undermines the very freedom that our brave men and women have fought to protect.
What no foreign country has been able to take through force thanks to the service of our brave veterans, the super-majority party has attempted to steal from the people. SB 96 shifts power from the people to the legislature and insulates powerful politicians from being recalled.
And it was done on the back of those same veterans.
SB 96 should be vetoed by Gov. Brown, and a clean veterans trailer bill sent back to him with no election shenanigans hidden in it. If you agree, visit my website to sign the petition asking for the Governor’s veto: senate.ca.gov/Anderson
State Sen. Joel Anderson represents portions San Diego County including Lemon Grove, El Cajon, La Mesa, Santee, Poway, Escondido, San Marcos, Lakeside, Valley Center, Rancho Santa Fe, Julian, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Bonsall, Borrego Springs and Fallbrook.
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