Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday said Assembly lawmakers “don’t have the guts” to make cuts to the state prison system, criticizing them as politically motivated for stalling on a plan that would reduce the number of inmates to save money.
“The Assembly legislators, for them it was easier to go and make the $10-billion cut in education, but it is impossible for them to make the $1-billion cut” for prisons, he said in a webcast interview with the co-founders of Twitter in San Francisco.
The state Senate approved a Schwarzenegger-backed prison package last week, without any GOP votes. Democrats in the Assembly -- some of whom are seeking higher office -- have balked. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) has deleted some of the most controversial elements in the package. Her spokeswoman Shannon Murphy said in an e-mail: “The governor, who has vetoed prison reform legislation in the past, should spend less time rattling his rhetorical sword and more time producing Republican votes for his public safety proposals.”
-- Michael Rothfeld