Does California Need Full-Time Representation?

By Manuel Martin | August 22, 2013 California’s experiment with a full-time legislature began in 1966, 47 years later and with Cal...



By Manuel Martin | August 22, 2013

California’s experiment with a full-time legislature began in 1966, 47 years later and with California’s economy,  it’s safe to say our full-time legislature has failed the people. Our democratic form of government only works when people are properly represented and our representatives are forced to adhere to the people. The truth is our system is broken, we cannot think sending a good representative to a bad system will lead to virtuous results. 

California needs to once again work for the people. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, California is only one of four states that have a full time legislature. I constantly hear people’s concerns that their politicians are not accountable or they are unreachable. I feel their sentiments; no longer will your representative be enclosed in Sacramento all year long. We need to make them accessible, my plan calls for them to work the first two weeks of the month, and then spend the remaining month home in the district.The people of California are the worst represented constituents in the nation; we have one Assembly representative for every 466,000 people.  I want to shrink the size of the district in half to 233,000 constituents per district. Even with this increased representation, Californians would still have the largest districts in the nation; this is the first step towards proper representation. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University conducts an annual study of the most free states within our union. The average number of constituents per assembly district of the four freest states is 26,000 constituents per representative. The four least free states on the list, of which California comes in as the 49th least free state, average 210,000 constituents per representative. I want to preserve and protect your liberties; an essential step is to shrink the size of the assembly districts, and bring your politician closer to you. Corresponding to proper representation, the four freest states have an average unemployment rate of 4.3%, while the four least free average a 7.3% unemployment rate.

Your California state legislature passes anywhere from 2,000-3,000 new bills each year. The governor signs into law 750-800 new bills a year. Under current “limitations” the legislature can propose a combined 6,600 bills a year. We must stop to ask ourselves, is it conducive to our liberty and our economy to have our government passing over 750 new bills each year?

I maintain it’s absolutely frightening to your liberty to give your representatives that amount of flexibility to wield the law without any restraints. Likewise, it’s treacherous for our economy to have our regulatory environment and taxes fluctuating wildly year after year. My plan calls to make our government pass a two-year budget which will provide stability for our economy. With this stability our entrepreneurs can forecast further into the future and decide where to allocate their capital. My plan joins eleven other states who currently limit the amount of bills their legislators can propose. Under my plan each legislator is limited to proposing 5 bills each, and I reduce their pay to $60,000 per year. With smaller districts and our assembly members being closer to the people, it will be easier for the people to hold their legislator accountable if they waste those five bills on the interest of the lobbyist, rather than the well being of the people. 

California has strayed a long way from our founding principles. As a result the people have grown ever smaller in the eyes of their representatives. The representatives we send to Sacramento are surrounded by special interest groups while the average citizen is at work trying to provide for their family. My plan for a part-time legislature seeks to empower the people and increase their influence at the expense of the power of the politician. This is the first step to making California the place for business. This plan is a bipartisan common sense measure that puts the people first.

Manuel Martin is a Republican candidate for California's 9th Assembly District. More information on his platform is avaialable at  www.manuelforassembly.com



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12 comments

Gregory Jones said...

Sooo -- the answer to the problem of a full time legislature is to replace them with twice as many part-timers?

I really gotta think that one over.

The Dems Have It! said...

So double the bodies and double the dysfunction? Never gonna happen.

Mr. Martin will have a tough time in Elk Grove, but good luck to him anyway.

The top two coming out this primary will be Jim Cooper and Darrell Fong.

Capt. Benjamin L. Willard said...

While I agree with Mr. Martin's assertion that having fewer constituents per assembly member is desirable.

However I doubt doubling the number of assembly members and reducing their pay would have the desired effect. Rather it would likely increase cost in terms of more staff, field offices and facilities in Sacramento.

Anonymous said...

Clearly this plan is genius. If our current system is not working (and we ALL know it isn't), then obviously something drastic needs to happen. I don't see how any persons could be against a system that would provide them with better representation. Mr. Martin's platform allows for your representative to be more accessible by bringing them into the district part of the time, and helps the constituents feel some bit of ease knowing that when the representatives are in Sacramento they are limited with the amount of bills they can propose, therefore preventing them from infringing on our liberties further more than they already have done so.

Anonymous said...

Why are there always so many democrat trolls online posting simple brained attacks. The comments here opposing this plan have no logic or reason behind them. Manuel provides statistics, the trolls need to get educated.

Don Draper said...

I admire the comments above in defense of Manuel Martin.

Alas, Mr. Martin's supporters need to realize political campaigns in the last 50 years are more akin to an advertising campaign. People don't vote for a candidate based on facts, rather they vote based on emotion.

Facts will only get your base vote. The effective campaign will tap into the deeper needs of the voters and those needs are not driven by fact, rather they are driven be subjective emotions.

Silent Dogood said...

I disagree with the above poster about the top two being Cooper and Fong. There are already four Democrats running and you will probably get 1-2 more. There are enough registered Republicans in this district that with 4-5 Democrats splitting that vote that one Republican will move on to the November election.

My predication is it will be Fong.

Kevin Rose said...

It is absolutely mind boggling to hear that each representative in our Assembly speaks for 466,000 people. Our brains can't even comprehend a number that large. Cutting the districts in half obviously wouldn't be the solution, but it's a hell of a start.
These comments seem to either dismiss the idea because of increased "disfunction" or they go on about partisan politics. This is not a partisan issue and I would hardly call 750-800 new bills a year disfunction. Immoral, yes but disfunction no.

Kevin Rose said...

It is absolutely mind boggling to hear that each representative in our Assembly speaks for 466,000 people. Our brains can't even comprehend a number that large. Cutting the districts in half obviously wouldn't be the solution, but it's a start.
These comments seem to either dismiss the idea because of increased "disfunction" or they go on about partisan politics. This is not a partisan issue and I would hardly call 750-800 new bills a year disfunction. Immoral, yes but disfunction no.

John Hammond said...

Right now, we have a system where the only way to run for assembly is to be at least somewhat wealthy and own a business. Campaigning requires a full-time commitment and a whole plethora of expenses and even then, if it's your first time, chances are you will lose. It is virtually impossible for an average joe, or a Mr. Smith, to actually become a representative. The bigger and more numerous the district is, the more money and time it takes to win. Having smaller districts means that someone that isn't making a 6 figure income or more has a chance to compete.

If I am to give Mr. Martin's plan any criticism, I would say it doesn't cut the assembly down enough. Representatives would still be paid $60,000 a year for a part-time job and the size of the districts would STILL be the largest in the nation. California is such a diverse state with so many people from different races and cultures, it really show be one of the smallest in the nation. That being said, this is a much more realistic proposal that is more likely to get support should Mr. Martin be elected and have the opportunity to present the bill and I am 100% behind it.

If you think the assembly will hurt from having half the size of districts and more representatives than you might as well support abolishing the legislature and giving all legislative and executive power to the governor's office. Then we can have our own California dictatorship with out all those pesky different views from different walks of life getting in the way!

Anonymous said...

Our founding fathers believed at the FEDERAL level that there should be 1 rep for every 30,000 people! We currently have 1 for over 700K people! Complete tyranny! The legislative branch is supposed to be vast and the executive branch small! With legislative branches so small and executive branches so large it's no wonder we are in the mess that we are in. This was the most important issue to George Washington. But in this generation we have no concept of what things are suppose to be like. We need more attention and debate on this often misunderstood issue and I'm glad to see Mr. Martin doing just that!

Anonymous said...

You all don't understand. The reason we got away from dictatorships and the small ruling elites is to have a fair government. California is screwed right now with the small amount of reps we have. The more reps we have, the less power each one wields. Pay goes down. Bribery more difficult. We want 13,000 arguing about what taxes to raise and how we spend our money versus 80. Think about it. This is a representative government and 80 cannot represent 30 Million of us.

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