Home>Articles>After Banning Senate Republicans From State Capitol, CA Senate Pres. Fast Tracking Gutted Bills, Limiting Debate

Senator Toni G. Atkins. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

After Banning Senate Republicans From State Capitol, CA Senate Pres. Fast Tracking Gutted Bills, Limiting Debate

Abuse of power, opportunism, or outright corruption?

By Katy Grimes, August 31, 2020 10:08 pm

Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins has decided there will be no more committee review for bills, meaning that all bills will go directly to Senate floor, the California Globe has learned from sources at the California State Capitol.

Under the new rules, bills that have been gutted and amended with all new language and purpose, and are legally required to pass a committee hearing before heading to the Senate floor, are now fast tracked without committee analysis, expert review, public due process and questioning, and  go straight to the experts on the floor. This is particularly egregious because there is only one political party present to debate since Republicans are remote voting and not participating in the debate.

The Assembly is still following standard rules and holding committee hearings for bills that qualify because of amendments.

Senate President Toni Atkins has also decided to now limit all discussions on bills on the floor two only two members, with no other members allowed to speak.

With Republicans banned from being present in the Senate – ostensibly due to one member testing positive to COVID – nearly 11 million California constituents are without representation because of the shut out.

Sen. Melissa Melendez Tweeted about it: “Senate Democrats just voted to limit the number of speakers on a bill to only two speakers. This silences the voices of millions of people so democrats have enough time to pass their crappy bills before midnight. This is outrageous and is COMPLETE BULLSHIT.”

That’s an apropos description.

As California Globe reported in 2019:

One of the controversial occurrences during the annual California Legislative Session is so-called ‘gut-and-amend bills.’ According to the Legislative Counsel, these measures are defined as “when amendments to a bill remove the current contents in their entirety and replace them with different provisions.”

“The controversy is the second part of the process – replacing the bill’s contents with a subject which is unrelated to the original contents of the bill. Such amendments raise the issue of legislative issue “germaneness,” which refers to whether a proposed amendment is relevant to the subject matter currently contained in the measure.”

Capitol Legislative Counsel have weighed in numerous times on “gut and amend” bills, however the Presiding officer has ultimate say.

There seems to be a lot of this type of abuse of office taking place in California currently; Gov. Gavin Newsom will not lift his State of Emergency coronavirus order, despite the drastically decreasing COVID illnesses. His goal is political – to keep California businesses and employees locked down. It is political science – not medical science.

Sen. Pres. pro Tem Toni  Atkins and Gov. Gavin Newsom appear to be on the same page, as if they are getting their obstruction marching orders from the same source.

The Globe sent several questions to Pro Tem Atkins’ office last week following a Zoom video conference with media which provided more questions than answers:

  • Republicans offered to meet at another location in the Capitol building during session but were not allowed. Why?
  • There was an Appropriations committee last Thursday, floor session Thursday and Monday. What about contacts then?
  • What public health officials were consulted? Epidemiologists? Virologists?
  • Who conducted the contact tracing investigation?
  • In July 2 members tested positive and the protocol was a 14-day shutdown to keep people safe. Why not now? Why change the procedure?

We still have not received a response or answers to any of our questions, even after follow up requests.

Sen. Melendez summed up the absurd proceedings appropriately: “If I hear the phrase ‘this isn’t a perfect bill’ one more time…”

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6 thoughts on “After Banning Senate Republicans From State Capitol, CA Senate Pres. Fast Tracking Gutted Bills, Limiting Debate

  1. Our state government is now controlled by one party with Pelosi calling the shots. The Republican party has been neutered and it appears they don’t even care. Maybe the whole thing is just a “good cop bad cop” scenario. There are very few Republicans fighting back against this tyranny. If not for the Globe there would be no reporting of these criminal acts. As long as we the people let them get away with these shenanigans, this will continue.

  2. This ridiculous mega-majority Democrat legislature has descended into Theater of the Absurd. It has become very difficult to take it in or make sense of anything these Democrats do anymore. Some enterprising person should put together a documentary — CA citizens wouldn’t even believe it if they saw it.

    Those who read The Globe and Katy Grimes (thank you!) and see the photos and follow the activities of these cartoonish but destructive people have a pretty good idea now of what goes on up there without actually having to sit through it ourselves. I know I’m not the only one who breathes a sigh of relief when these people are not in session. It’s like a huge weight off of our shoulders.

  3. This kind of action is why people are leaving California in droves. I live in a small cul de sac less than a dozen homes. In the past year 6 families have moved to Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Idaho. When there is no one left to pay, this state will be comprised of Progressive Democrats and the peasants demand free circuses and bread. And when that happens it will all be on the dims who are completely in charge. BTW I’m one of those calling up the moving trucks. I’m moving to a state that has real school, church and restaurants. Buh bye

  4. Please enlighten us how shutting down the opposition by removing them physically is following the state or Federal Constitution, Sir…

    And resorting to projection and name calling clearly tells everyone which party you align with…

    Is this “going high” as Mrs. Obama declared???

    Well played, Sir….well played….

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