(Editor’s Note) Those of you who read PublicCEO early in the morning may have noted that on Friday, I erroneously opined that the Assembly acted responsibly and rejected AB 1692. While I had watched the Assembly session on Thursday and watched the bill fail to reach a majority vote, I didn’t watch the second, third, and even fourth time the question was called. On the fourth vote, it unfortunately passed. I apologize to anyone whom the article misled, but below you will find an *updated version of my original editorial.
The California Assembly acted failed to act responsibly on Tuesday when it decided to reject approve AB 1692 – the legislative-unraveling of last year’s AB 506. When Asm. Bob Wieckowski asked for the bill to be reconsidered, they refused to change their mind acquiesced and again stood up for against the rights and respect of the state’s local government “partners.”
The introduction of AB 1692 put a title to the oft-adversarial relationship that foments between local governments and state-level officials. The passage would have codified another nasty chapter of a two-faced relationship from the State.
In the 2011 legislative session, local government officials and organizations came together to oppose a bad bill. In its original form, AB 506 was an affront to local government authority. However, by working with state legislative leaders and the governor’s office, AB 506 was transformed. It became a tool for local governments.
But Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski never intended to adhere to the negotiated terms of AB 506. He wanted more. So he introduced AB 1692 that would walk-back the compromises of the previous year.
During Thursday’s debate, Assemblyman Wieckowski said on the floor of the Assembly that his bill sought “modifications to the AB 506 neutral evaluation process.” What his modifications would have amounted to is the evisceration of neutrality and the supplanting of a ‘process’ with an obstacle.
His bill opted for stonewalls and obstructions in the path to reform over progress and cooperation.
Unfortunately, the responsible action taken by the Assembly just two days before was reaffirmed overturned the fourth time the bill was reconsidered on reconsideration. Just Eventually, more than the required 41 members of the State Assembly stood up and cast a ‘Yea’ vote to undo the very agreement they approved last year.
The issue isn’t dead yet, however.
Despite two failed attempts at passage, the author pulled his bill after the question was called, leaving it on life support as he struggles to wrangle an addition 10 ‘Yea’ votes. Now is the time to engage with your Assembly member and urge them to vote no.
The question of municipal bankruptcy now advances to the Senate, where with any luck wisdom and honor in one’s word will prevail, unlike in the Assembly. Now is the time to engage with your Senator and urge them to make a strong no vote when the issue is presented.
PublicCEO is a local government news and resources website. We are also an avenue for raising awareness and recognizing the good or bad. In this case, we would like to chastise those in the Assembly who voted to undermine a good-faith negotiation. And we hope that in the future, when the state makes a deal, they stand by it.