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Republicans Say California Legislature Needs Updating

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen speaks to the Sacramento Press Club on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

Katie Orr, Capital Public Radio

Assembly Minority Leader Kristin Olsen says her caucus is putting forward several measures intended to update the legislative process.

One of the bills proposes switching the state to a two-year budgeting cycle. Olsen says this would refocus the Legislature.

"The first year would be dedicated to the sole purpose of making sure that we have clear priorities in the state budget," she says, "and that we are reviewing the various departments and agencies that are ultimately responsible for implementing the services and the programs that the Legislature creates."

Another proposed measure would gradually reduce the number of bills Assembly members can introduce over a two-year session from 40 to 20.

A third measure would require bills to be in print for three days before the Legislature can vote on them. Olsen says this would eliminate the practice known as gut-and-amend, in which a bill's original content is removed at the last minute and replaced with something entirely different.

"The most egregious example I can remember is when I received a bill 15 minutes after the vote," she says. "That is unacceptable."

The measure would also allow policy committees to take up bills 15 days after they're introduced. Currently committees must wait 30 days. Olsen says the current law dates back to 1911 when the state printer needed time to physically publish the bill.