The Deck is Stacked against Republicans in California’s Legislature
Elected Republicans represent nearly a third of California’s legislators and represent almost 40 percent of the voters who cast ballots in the last election. Despite this, only 18 percent of their bills are passed for eventual consideration by Gov. Jerry Brown. A few revealing statistics about the outcomes for 2,550 new bills introduced during the recent 2017 session in the California Legislature point out that Democrats introduce and pass more legislation than their Republican counterparts thanks to the supermajority held by the Democrats. If the system were fair, Democrats would write and introduce about two-thirds of the bills, and about the same percentage of their bills could expect to make their way to the governor for approval or veto. In this same fair system, Republicans should produce about a third of the bills, and a similar number of those that pass and are sent to the governor should be Republican sponsored bills.
The data shows that Democrats introduced 74 percent (three quarters) of all the bills in the Assembly, while the Republicans introduced only 26 percent (about a quarter) of the legislature’s output. In the State Senate, it was almost the same with Democrats introducing 75 percent of all the bills, while the Republicans introduced only 25 percent of the bills. The numbers are worse for Republicans when it comes to actually passing legislation. Democrats passed 382 (30 percent) of the overall 970 bills in the Assembly, while Republicans passed just 90 of theirs (20 percent). In the Senate, Democrats passed 202 (33 percent) of the overall 514 bills, while only 41 (20 percent) of the bills introduced by Republicans were passed.
In 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown received 715 total bills from the Legislature. Democratic bills represent 584 (82 percent) of the total, while only 131 (18 percent) were from Republicans. It is surprising that nearly a third of our state’s elected representatives are achieving legislative success of 18 percent in passing bills for eventual consideration by the governor, despite the fact that they represent nearly 40 percent of voters who cast ballots in the last election. As of this month, Gov. Jerry Brown has approved about 16.5 percent of Republican bills, while Democrats have had 83.4 percent of their bills signed into law. We will have to see how the rest of the year goes for Republicans.