California Democrats control both legislative chambers in the state. New legislation sponsored by them increases the already-high gas tax by 12 cents. Democrats are claiming that the bill will fund green initiatives and infrastructure repair, but the leftists are in hot water after they refusedto turn it into a referendum, instead forcing it into law in April.
Golden State citizens are fighting back by hurting their state legislature at the voting booth. The voter rebellion is taking the Democrats by surprise.
State Senator Josh Newman of Fullerton is facing a recall vote in his district from angry constituents who were disappointed with his support of the gas tax hike. The recall has reached over 30,000 signatures, clearing the path for a special election.
Instead of bending to the will of the voters, though, California Democrats are doing what they do best when they cannot win. They are altering the rules.
The Los Angeles Times reports that left-wing lawmakers hid a change in the laws governing recall election that will specifically benefit Newman specifically and the Democrats more broadly.
An official from the office of Democrat Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León of Los Angeles said, "Recalls are designed to be extraordinary events in response to extraordinary circumstances – and it's in the public’s overwhelming interest to ensure the security, integrity and legitimacy of the qualification process.”
According to the LA Times:
The bill would effectively give people new ways to block recall efforts by allowing a 30-day window for any voters who signed the petition to change their mind and have their signature be removed. Elections officials would then have 10 days to update their tally, and each signature would have to be verified manually. The proposal would then give lawmakers 30 additional days to review the financial impact of a recall election.
In total, all of that could delay any special election to remove a lawmaker by more than two months. And the language of the legislation makes the change apply to the current effort to recall Newman.
Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill at the end of the month.
Opponents of the proposal are claiming that the bill gives Newman an unfair advantage as his constituents seek to remove him from office.
Carl DeMaio, a local radio host, former San Diego city councilman and supporter of the recall effort, said, “They can't simply rewrite the rules.” He added, “They want to push this election off for as long as possible.” DeMaio hypothesized that if Brown does sign the proposal, that a lawsuit will be filed to prevent the recall directives from taking effect.
Newman blasted those pushing the recall effort against him, saying, “What we're seeing in my case is how susceptible this system is to manipulation, to distortion.” He claimed that the recall attempt wass sabotaging the gas tax hike.
Republicans are standing in opposition to the proposal. GOP Assembly Leader Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley said, "The Democrats know the gas tax is toxic and Newman will likely lose." He added that the Democrats have resorted to "rigging" the system to hold onto their majority.