A bill I authored during the 2017–2018 Legislative session, SB 1159, would have given certified public accountants (CPAs) the same ability that attorneys currently enjoy: to receive continuing professional education credits for serving as an elected legislator.
I worked on the bill with U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) who, like myself, is a CPA by training. Implementation in Sacramento, perhaps, would help do the same in Washington, D.C.
We wanted to see more CPAs serving in legislative offices. Not having to obtain 40 hours a year of continuing education would help in the recruitment process. Otherwise, a CPA has to go inactive and cannot put the designation behind his or her name.
We had planned on then-Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, Congressman Sherman’s former district chief of staff, being the author. But, he resigned suddenly, and I took that task on myself.
Although SB 1159 passed through the state Senate, probably due to the Congressman’s lobbying efforts, it never made it off of the assembly’s desk for assigning bills to committees. It was dead on arrival.
The reasoning was precious. Many felt the bill was “self-serving.”
It is with some irony that the supermajority has been approving bills concerning the conducting of recalls of elected legislators and statewide officeholders.
Sen. Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) had voted for the gas tax increase with the supermajority, thus imposing a tax without voter approval on drivers with nonelectric automobiles.
The hurdles the supermajority and former governor Jerry Brown put up to protect one of their own and to stymie the eventual recall of Newman were brilliant tactical maneuvers. But they were self-serving. Newman was recalled in 2018 despite their efforts, but reclaimed his seat during the 2020 general election.
A recent repeal of one provision, not requiring a 30-day period for budgetary review in the recall process, was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom the same day it passed on the floors of both Chambers. This is self-serving in capital letters.
I always joke that if it were not for double standards, the supermajority would have no standards at all.
Due to these very recent legislative abuses, utilizing budget trailer bills to implement policy (a frequent and dishonest method used by the supermajority to cram down nonbudget-related legislation), we now have a Sept. 14 special election date. Many had assumed it would be in November. But gamesmanship is the name of the game.
Former governor Brown pulled a similar cute strategy play many years ago by moving all propositions originating by petition drives to the November ballot.
It’s because more liberal-leaning voters come out for November general elections than June primaries. Only propositions approved by a two-thirds majority of the legislature can now be placed on the June primary ballot. Another double standard.
The real reason is that Brown paid back his public employee union gubernatorial campaign funders, who enabled him to defeat his self-funded billionaire opponent Meg Whitman, by moving Proposition 32 from June to November.
Proposition 32 was anti-public employee union. Polls showed it would pass in the primary, but probably not in the general.
According to Ballotpedia, “A ‘yes’ vote supported banning unions and corporations from contributing payroll-deducted funds to state and local candidates, as well as, banning government contractors from contributing to candidates that may award government contracts.”
Brown’s scheme worked.
Now we’ll have to see if all this self-serving conniving of the past few weeks will work for Newsom, as it did for Brown and Proposition 32. Or not, as the Newman recall was accomplished.
If one were looking for a reason to vote “yes” on Newsom’s recall, the gamesmanship and abuse of power should be it. Hanging onto power, and pursuing desperation maneuvers to keep it, may be good drama for a Hollywood movie. But this nonsense is not good for the political system.
John Moorlach is a former Orange County Supervisor who most recently served as a state senator. He previously spent 12 years as Orange County’s Treasurer-Tax Collector, and helped to lead the county out of bankruptcy.