“Court of Appeal Rules Legislature Violated The Constitution Last Fall When It Passed a Spot Bill To Put The Governor’s Tax Measure At The Top Of The Ballot “

by - January 22, 2013

Last Friday afternoon the California Court of Appeal in Sacramento unanimously concluded the Legislature acted illegally when it passed the state budget, and then used what is known as a spot bill to pass a statute by majority vote placing the Governor’s tax measure, Proposition 30, in a preferred position at the top of the statewide ballot. In doing so, the Court rejected the Legislature’s use of “spot bills”-blank bills with an assigned number but no substance-to take advantage of exceptions to the 2/3 vote requirement needed to approve appropriations and have them take effect immediately, contained in 2010′s Proposition 25.  Nielsen Merksamer filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of the California Chamber of Commerce, supporting the successful legal challenge.

Prior to the adoption of Proposition 25 in 2010, all appropriations were required to be passed by a 2/3 vote of both houses of the Legislature. And a 2/3 vote was required to adopt legislation that would take effect immediately; otherwise, such legislation takes effect on January 1 of the year following that in which the bill is adopted. Proposition 25 provided exceptions to these rules for the annual Budget Bill and for “other bills providing for appropriations related to the Budget Bill.”

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