Op-Ed: Put Voters First – Yes on 54

From dark money to unparalleled time in front of legislators, special interests have almost unchecked power on the political process at the expense of everyday citizens. It’s easy to understand the public’s frustration with our government.

As president of the UCSD College Republicans chapter, I want to see our government be accountable to all and put voters first, not special interests. It’s time our government worked for us again and not just powerful special interests. This is why I am proud to endorse Proposition 54 on this November’s ballot, which has broad, bipartisan support.

Proposition 54 the California Legislature Transparency Act will bring our State Legislature into the 21st century by requiring three simple things.

Proposition 54 will require all legislation be posted online and be in print for 72 hours prior to a vote. This will allow legislators and their staff sufficient time to analyze legislation while preventing last-minute amendments to bills that can completely change the intent of a bill.

Most importantly, posting the legislation online will allow Californians to follow bills and track their changes. Constituents will be able to express educated opinions to their state representatives on how a bill will impact them. When legislators have time to hear from their constituents, they will fully understand bills’ implications to their district and vote accordingly.

As many of us San Diegans know, there is no easy way to get to Sacramento. We can either sit in Los Angeles traffic or spend a few hundred dollars for a roundtrip flight. If there is legislation we care about, it is difficult to follow its progress without significant investment of time and money. Millions of other Californians share our problem. Thankfully, Proposition 54 will bring the legislative process to us.

Proposition 54 will require all committee hearings open to the public to be recorded and posted online. While some committees are streamed online, hundreds are completely unrecorded. Proposition 54 will bring the committee process into the light and hold our legislators and special interests accountable. Californians can follow this critical step from the comfort of their own homes.  

Finally, Proposition 54 will overturn an outdated rule banning legislative hearings from being recorded. Under Proposition 54, any individual will be able to record hearings and post freely.  This will offer citizens a new avenue to stay informed and also allow Capitol visitors a chance to document and share their experience. Hundreds of local cities and counties already allow the public to record their meetings. It’s time the Legislature catches up!

Proposition 54 will finally bring the Legislature into the 21st century and encourage all Californians to be involved in the legislative process. If you believe our Legislature should be more open, transparent and accessible, then I encourage my fellow students to join me in voting “Yes” on Proposition 54 this November.