Measure Would Put Officials on the Spot in English Style

Times Staff Writer

Taking a page from old English tradition, California governors would meet with the state Senate three times yearly to answer lawmakers’ questions under a proposed ballot measure (SCA 40) by Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara).

State legislators would also be required to hold public forums in their districts to answer constituents’ queries under the measure.

Hart said he got the idea after watching British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher appear before Parliament, which she does on a regular basis. “This would allow the public an opportunity to better understand the issues of the day and where their heads of state stand on those issues,” he said. “Likewise, the public needs to have greater and more regular access to their elected representatives.”

A 3-2 vote of approval was given to Hart’s plan by the Rules Committee. It now goes to the Constitutional Amendments Committee. ASSEMBLY


Committee Action

Pickup Trucks: The Ways and Means Committee approved a bill (AB 2561) by Assemblyman Eric Seastrand (R-Salinas) to prohibit the transportation of people in the open backs of pickup trucks without safety belts. A 12-4 vote sent the bill to the Assembly floor.

Taxes: The Ways and Means Committee also approved a bill (AB 2917) by Assemblyman Johan Klehs (D-Castro Valley) to grant a 10% state tax credit for Social Security taxes. A 13-8 vote sent the bill to the Assembly floor. The $2-billion cost of the tax credits would be paid for with a 5% increase in state income taxes for individuals earning more than $110,000 and couples earning more than $220,000. SENATE

Floor Action

Corporation Probation: Passed and sent to the Assembly on a 29-5 vote a bill (SB 2500) by Sen. Gary K. Hart (D-Santa Barbara) to allow the courts to place corporations on probation after felony and misdemeanor convictions, in addition to imposing fines or other punishment.

Insurance: Rejected on a 22-15 vote a bill (SB 2777) by Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Tarzana) to require car insurers in the assigned risk program for drivers with bad records to continue accepting drivers who cannot afford the high cost of insurance provided by regular carriers. Robbins said assigned risk rates are actually lower than normal rates for certain young drivers. The bill required a two-thirds majority, or 27 votes, for passage.

Committee Action

High-Alcohol Wine: The Revenue and Taxation Committee rejected a bill (SB 2686) by Sen. Milton Marks (D-San Francisco) to boost the tax on high-alcohol wine often purchased by street people. A 4-3 vote was cast for the bill, but five “yes” votes were required for approval.

Legislators: The Rules Committee sent to between-sessions study a constitutional amendment (SCA 39) by Sen. John Seymour (R-Anaheim) to automatically remove from office a state legislator who is convicted of a felony. The vote was 4 to 0. It now requires a two-thirds vote of the House to remove a lawmaker. Former Sen. Joseph Montoya (D-Whittier) recently resigned after being convicted on political corruption charges.

Helmets: The Transportation Committee rejected a bill (AB 55) by Assemblywoman Bev Hansen (R-Santa Rosa) to require motorcycle riders under age 21 to wear safety helmets. A 6-2 vote was cast for the bill, but seven “yes” votes were required for approval. Capital Fact

Lobbyists outnumber legislators by almost an 8-1 margin in the state Capitol, according to the secretary of state’s office. There are 910 registered lobbyists and 117 lawmakers, with three Assembly vacancies.