The Sacramento Metro Chamber serves as the capital region’s primary advocate on issues affecting business, economic development and quality of life. It is on behalf of our 1,700 members representing 200,000 employees that we strongly encourage voters to approve Proposition 54 — a measure that will create more transparency and accountability when it comes to the way laws are passed by our state Legislature.
Proposition 54 will put an end to last-minute deals — like last year’s overnight push to hike up our minimum wage to $15 an hour — that allow a bill to be significantly amended or entirely rewritten at the end of a legislative session and then passed within a matter of hours, before the public and most legislators had a chance to read the new language.
These last minute “gut and amends” often happen without a fair discussion of their impacts and can result in costly mandates on small businesses.
By requiring all bills to be released 72 hours before a final vote in either house of the Legislature, Proposition 54 at least offers a window of opportunity for small businesses to weigh in on how proposed bills will impact their businesses and their employees.
Proposition 54 also requires all public hearings to be video recorded and posted online within 24 hours. Currently, not all public hearings are recorded, nor are they posted online with any consistency. So if a bill is up for consideration in a committee hearing that’s not recorded, only those who attend in person will know what was discussed.
While it is convenient for organizations with legislative staff located in Sacramento to closely monitor such hearings, it’s nearly impossible for small-business owners to take time away to attend a hearing in person when a bill that affects them is up for consideration.
A democracy that allows every citizen an opportunity to participate instead of one where the Legislature chooses which public meetings we may and may not see, will be a stronger democracy, and one that will more effectively contribute to a more vibrant economy and stable jobs.
That is why Proposition 54 has been endorsed by every major newspaper in California and a broad and diverse coalition.
Supporters include the California Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business/California, the California Business Roundtable, the Latin Business Association, the League of Women Voters of California, California Common Cause, the California NAACP, and the Planning and Conservation League, among many others, proving many have an interest in transparency and contributing to the discussion.
Enactment of Proposition 54 will help ensure legislative proceedings are conducted fairly and openly. And it will allow the business community to know what is going on and weigh in on policy that impacts our employers, their employees and our communities. Please join me in voting yes on Proposition 54 on Nov. 8.
Peter Tateishi is CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber
Source: Sacramento Business Journal