"Live free or die." —The official motto of the U.S. state of New Hampshire, adopted by the state in 1945. 

We the People...

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ON THE NEIGHBORHOOD LEGISLATURE


Website:

http://neighborhoodlegislature.com/


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For information on backer John Cox, click on the below link:      http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2013/03/neighborhood-legislature.html


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Promoter John Cox explains the concept of "The Neighborhood Legislature":


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01/20/14

Dear Neighbor,

Don’t forget that you’re invited to join us this evening from 7-8PM (PST) for our “Tele-Town Hall”. You will be on the line with hundreds of other volunteers from all over California who are eager to bring genuine legislative reform to our state.

Dial in Number: 712-432-3022 / Code: 821143 

Please don’t miss this unique opportunity to chat with me and your fellow neighbors who are eager to get special interest money out of legislative elections and bring genuine change to the way politics is done.

It’s time to fix California!

John Cox - Founder, Neighborhood Legislature Initiative 

     
Paid for by: Committee for the Neighborhood Legislature
Reform Act - #13-0028. Major funding by John Cox. FPPC ID #1361653

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01/15/14

Dear Neighbor,

Our revolutionary reform of the California legislature continues to build real momentum through dedicated grassroots efforts from individuals like you.

We want to keep that momentum growing exponentially!

In order to accomplish this and keep with our neighborhood centered vision, we’d like to invite you to a "Tele-Town Hall” meeting this Monday, January 20.

This phone call will give us a chance to share the most recent campaign activity and updates with you. Neighborhood Legislature Founder John Cox will be heading up the call, so you will have a chance to hear from him and ask questions.

Come prepared to hear the latest exciting news on the campaign front and be ready to ask any questions you may have.

Again, the dial-in number is 712-432-3022 with conference code 821143. We look forward to hearing from you on Monday, January 20 from 7-8 p.m. PST.

Let’s take our legislature back!

     
Paid for by: Committee for the Neighborhood Legislature
Reform Act - #13-0028. Major funding by John Cox. FPPC ID #1361653

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01/07/14

Last week, the Wall Street Journal ran an article on the chance that Neighborhood Legislature gives to “restore grassroots democracy” and help prevent “the too-powerful influence of special interests” in our state government.

Will you help us seize the opportunity to radically overhaul government? Will you volunteer to adopt your neighborhood for the Neighborhood Legislature, and collect 200 signatures to place our initiative on the November 2014 ballot?

“If this passes, this would be the greatest transfer of power since 1776, because what it means is that special-interest money won’t control the state legislature,” businessman John Cox said in his interview with the Wall Street Journal. “It will be real people in the neighborhoods.”

Will you please sign up today to adopt your neighborhood and help guarantee the success of this revolutionary political reform?

We will send you an official packet that will equip you with everything you need to collect signatures in your area. We only have a few months to garner enough support and get our initiative on this year’s ballot!

You’re not in this alone. Please join the thousands of other volunteers who have already committed to chip in a spare afternoon or a few dedicated hours a week in order to get the job done.

Together, we will transform government in California by putting the power back into the hands of the citizens, not special interests.

   

Paid for by: Committee for the Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act - #13-0028. Major funding by John Cox. FPPC ID #1361653

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12/18/13

California’s Secretary of State today gave the Neighborhood Legislature initiative the green light to begin gathering signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2014 election ballot.

That means we have 150 days to collect enough signatures to qualify this initiative for the ballot in 2014.

Currently, we have more than 8,000 supporters ready to go knock on their neighbors’ doors to bring this initiative to the ballot. If you aren’t yet among them, click here to Adopt Your Neighborhood and become part of the movement that will truly change California politics.

Our window of opportunity is completely open—but it’s important we take action now, before it starts to close. 
 
www.neighborhoodlegislature.com
 

Paid for by: Committee for the Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act - #13-0028. Major funding by John Cox. FPPC ID #1361653

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1
12/17/13

Our initiative is dedicated to toppling the powerful special interests that have taken control of our state's politics. With the Neighborhood Legislature, we can return power back to the people of California.

However, the Neighborhood Legislature initative can't succeed unless we have help from everyday Californians just like you.

Please, sign up today to volunteer. We'll send you everything you need to advocate for our campaign and collect signatures throughout your neighborhood.

Paid for by: Committee for the Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act - #13-0028. Major funding by John Cox. FPPC ID #1361653

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Neighborhood Legislature could restore accountability

March 27, 2013

By Katy Grimes

Big spending on California politics has become one of the state’s largest industries. But the return on investment is lousy.

California’s political system has become so heavily manipulated by labor unions and other big money interests that the system is broken. Legislators have become professional fundraisers instead of managing public policy. And the individual voter no longer has much voice or influence.

It may sound farfetched, but the only way to fix this system is to expand it. California needs more lawmakers.

For democracy to work, it must be representative democracy. It must be a government of, by and for the people.

The Neighborhood Legislature

Last year Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, pushed an initiative for a part-time Legislature. She succeeded in bringing much needed attention to the broken system. And while it may not be the right fix for a state as large as California, Grove started many people thinking seriously about doable reforms.

One person is doing something about it as well. I met John Cox at the California Republican Party convention March 1. Cox, a businessman, radio host from Illinois and former Cook County Republican Party Chairman, is promoting a proposed ballot initiative to create a “Neighborhood Legislature.”

Approved for circulation in California for the November 6, 2012 ballot, the Neighborhood Legislature sponsors did not submit any signatures by the deadline. But they are working diligently on it again for 2014.

Under a Neighborhood Legislature, each of California’s 120 current legislative districts would be broken into 100 smaller districts. This would give California 12,000 legislative districts.

In each of the small districts, Cox said the neighborhood legislator would know most of his or her constituents. “Campaigns in the Neighborhood Districts would be door to door, face to face, voter by voter,” he said. “Social media, email and Internet campaigns will be key, and fundraising will be almost non-existent and of little effect.”

This could be the reason so many of California’s political elites aren’t crazy about the idea. Political consultants would be virtually unnecessary for legislative seats, and the current crop of political elites would have their power and influence greatly diminished. While this is appealing to liberty-loving Californians, those now controlling the state would lose out.

Changing the system would mean that each Neighborhood Legislator would be elected by only a few thousand voters — his neighbors — instead of 500,000 to 900,000 voters for the current districts.

Two tier system

Cox explained that, by using this two-tiered system, the actual number of lawmakers who serve in the Legislature in Sacramento would remain the same. And the 100 newly elected Neighborhood Legislators within the 12,000 districts would caucus and select one person to serve in Sacramento.

But there would still be plenty of accountability back home. 

California: “Live free or die”

California’s current population is 38 million, represented by only 120 state legislators: 40 state senators and 80 Assembly members.

Compare that meager representation with New Hampshire. The “Live free or die” state is small, with only 1.3 million residents. However, New Hampshire has 424 elected legislators. Known as the General Court of New Hampshire, it consists of two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are 400 Representatives and 24 Senators.

Each member of the New Hampshire House, their version of our Assembly, represents only about 3,170 people, as opposed to the 465,000 in California state Assembly districts. Chances are, New Hampshire elected officials know most of their constituents.

Yet New Hampshire legislators review more than 1,000 bills every legislative session — and do it for $100 in pay and a mileage reimbursement. Granted, the state is smaller than California.

So what’s wrong with California?

It’s all about control. The fewer representatives California elects, the more control and power they have. Even within the legislative body, only a few of the 120 members are actually part of the elite, controlling class.

Far too few wield a big stick for a state the size of California. And that could explain why California is poised on the brink of disaster. Yet our Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown are increasing speed.

What real outreach looks like

The surest way to guarantee outreach to the many different ethnic and cultural communities in California is to increase the size of the Legislature. The Republicans keep talking about Latino outreach, but have been ineffective thus far. Latinos are voting more heavily Democratic than ever. Yet Latino legislators themselves are frustrated, especially on education reform, as the powerful Assembly and Senate leaders are heavily influenced by the public-employee unions and other special interests.

As long as too few legislators are elected to represent this growing state, the California Legislature will continue to be dominated by professional career politicians, who use the advantages of their offices to perpetuate their positions of power.

California voters tried to deal with this by voting to impose term limits in 1990. But in the ensuing years, the political class has done a work-around. Legislators instead merely move from public office to political appointments, and state boards and commissions. Many are even going back to their communities and running for local offices, proving that they cannot leave public office.

The concept of career politicians has become a very big problem in California. The question of who seeks to become a member of the Legislature in the first place anymore should make the voting public wary and take notice. The Legislature is no longer comprised of private citizens who work in the private sector.

California would be best served by an elected body composed of citizens who served out of a sense of civic duty — who then went home at the end of their terms to live their lives in the private sector, as they did before serving in the Legislature.

It’ll never work…

Cox says the nay-sayers claim special interests could overwhelm small districts with community organizers. “But candidates can follow them door to door, making their own case and telling the truth,” Cox said. And neighborhood candidates would know their neighbors and the neighborhoods. Cox said they will be able to arm themselves with persuasive policy arguments instead of the usual trite slogans and sound bites.

Another argument against the Neighborhood Legislature is finding anyone to do the job for little or no pay. “Nonsense,” said Cox. “In a state of 38 million residents, we should be able to fund 12,000 interested citizens who are civic minded, and interested.”

Finally, Cox said constituent services and legislative staff cuts supposedly would be threatened by the Neighborhood Legislature. But Cox was quick to answer, “Instead of small numbers of district offices staffed by interns in a huge district, constituents will have access to a legislator they know and have a personal relationship with.”

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INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE SUBMITTED TO VOTERS

SECTION 1.  DECLARATION OF FINDINGS

            A.        Our state Legislature does not serve the interests of the citizens.  The Legislature only serves the special interests. Prior attempts at reform have all failed.     

            B.        The problem is that our Legislative districts are too big and cost taxpayers too much money.  Our Legislators represent too many constituents.  The average assembly district in the other 49 states has approximately 50,000 citizens.  The average assembly district in California is nearly 10 times larger – approaching nearly 500,000 citizens. 

            C.        It is no wonder that most citizens have never even met their legislative representative, much less been asked their opinion on an important policy issue.  We should not be surprised that our Legislators are not our neighbors and do not share our concerns about the future.

            D.        The primary concern of our current Legislature is staying in office as long as possible and appeasing the special interests that donate to their campaigns that keep them in office. 

            E.         Our system of representative government requires a citizen Legislature.  

SECTION 2.   STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

            A.        The size of legislative districts must be reduced so that Legislators represent the interests of their neighbors and not the special interests.

            B.        At the same time, the Legislature must function effectively and cost taxpayers less money.  Procedures must be enacted to provide for the effective administration of legislative business and to protect taxpayers.

            C.        Therefore, the people hereby enact “The Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act.”  

SECTION 3.  THE NEIGHBORHOOD LEGISLATURE REFORM ACT

Section 1, 2, 6, and 7.5 of Article IV are hereby amended and section 9.5 of Article IV is hereby added to read as follows (additions shown in underline type and deletions shown in strikeout type):

 

Sec. 1. The legislative power of this State is vested in the California Legislature which consists of neighborhood representatives elected to the Senate and Assembly, but the people reserve to themselves the powers of initiative and referendum.

Sec. 2. (a) The Senate shall be comprised of representatives from neighborhood districts, as provided in section 6. has a membership of 40 Senators shall be elected for 4-year terms, 20 half to begin every 2 years. No Senator may serve more than 2 terms. 

The Assembly shall be comprised of representatives from neighborhood districts, as provided in section 6.  has a membership of 80 members Assembly members shall be elected for 2-year terms. No member of the Assembly may serve more than 3 terms.

Their terms shall commence on the first Monday in December next following their election.

(b) Election of members of the Assembly shall be on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of even-numbered years unless otherwise prescribed by the Legislature. Senators shall be elected at the same time and places as members of the Assembly.

(c) A person is ineligible to be a member of the Legislature unless the person is an elector and has been is a resident of the legislative neighborhood district for one year, and a citizen of the United States and a resident of California for 3 years, immediately preceding the election.

(d) When a vacancy occurs in the Legislature the Governor immediately shall call an election to fill the vacancy.

(e)  The Senate Working Committee shall be comprised of 40 Senators, chosen from among the neighborhood representatives elected within each Senatorial District. The Assembly Working Committee shall be comprised of 80 Assembly members chosen from among the neighborhood representatives elected within each Assembly District. One Member of the Working Committee shall be elected by majority vote of the neighborhood representatives from each Senatorial and Assembly District in an open meeting held pursuant to section 3(a). When a vacancy occurs in a Working Committee, the vacancy shall be filled by the neighborhood representatives from a Senatorial or Assembly District, as appropriate. The Senate and Assembly may remove a member of their respective Working Committee upon a rollcall vote entered into the journal, two thirds of the membership of the house concurring.

Sec. 3. (a) The Legislature shall convene in regular session at noon on the first Monday in December of each even-numbered year for the purpose of choosing which neighborhood representatives will serve in the Working Committees of  and each house and each Working Committee shall immediately organize. Each session of the Legislature shall adjourn sine die by operation of the Constitution at midnight on November 30 of the following even-numbered year.

(b) On extraordinary occasions the Governor by proclamation may cause the Legislature or both Working Committees to assemble in special session. When so assembled it has power to legislate only on subjects specified in the proclamation but may provide for expenses and other matters incidental to the session.

(c) The Senate or Assembly may convene upon petition signed by twenty-five percent (25%) of the members for the purpose of removing a member of their respective Working Committee pursuant to section 2(e), or to provide direction or input to their respective Working Committee regarding any legislative matter.   

(d) Except as provided in section 9.5, all legislative power provided for in this Article shall be exercised by the Senate and Assembly Working Committees and any reference to “Senate,” “Assembly,” “Legislature,” or “house,” herein means the Senate and Assembly Working Committees.

(e)  The provisions of section 4(a), 4.5, 5, 13 and 15, including the provisions regarding ethics, and conflicts of interest, shall apply to all members of the Legislature, including the Senate and Assembly Working Committees.

(f)  Notwithstanding section 8 of Article III, the compensation for each Senator and Assembly member shall be one thousand dollars ($1,000) per year, however, compensation for a member of the Senate and Assembly Working Committees shall be thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) per year.  Notwithstanding section 4(b), neighborhood representatives shall be reimbursed for his or her actual travel expense attending legislative sessions and members of the Senate and Assembly Working Committee shall be reimbursed his or her actual travel and living expenses, not to exceed two hundred dollars ($200) per day.  The Citizens Compensation Commission may adjust the salary and per diem of members based on the Consumer Price Index for California.

 

Sec. 6. For the purpose of choosing members of the Legislature, the State shall be divided into 40 Senatorial and 80 Assembly districts to be called Senatorial and Assembly Districts. Each Senatorial district shall be further divided into neighborhood districts of populations of approximately 10,000 persons, as nearly equal as is practical. choose one Senator and each Each Assembly district shall be further divided into neighborhood districts of populations of approximately 5,000 persons, as nearly equal as is practical. choose one member of the Assembly.

 

Boundary lines for Senatorial, Assembly, and neighborhood districts shall be drawn pursuant to Article XXI. 

 

Sec. 7.5. In the fiscal year immediately following the adoption of the Neighborhood Legislature Reform Act this Act, the total aggregate expenditures of the Legislature for the compensation of members and employees of, and the operating expenses and equipment for, the Legislature may not exceed an amount equal to nine hundred fifty thousand dollars ($950,000) per member for that fiscal year or 80 25 percent of the amount of money expended for those purposes in the preceding fiscal year. whichever is less. For each fiscal year thereafter, the total aggregate expenditures may not exceed an amount equal to that expended for those purposes in the preceding fiscal year, adjusted and compounded by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the appropriations limit for the state established pursuant to Article XIII B.

 

Sec. 9.5.  Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, except for urgency bills pursuant to section 8(d), a bill, including the budget bill, passed by both the Senate and Assembly Working Committee’s shall not be presented to the Governor unless the bill has first been presented to and approved by each house of the whole Legislature by the appropriate vote required for enactment of the bill.  No amendment to a bill so presented may be offered, considered, or approved by either house of the whole Legislature.  The whole Legislature may be convened for this purpose, or to override a veto pursuant to section 10, upon at least ten (10) days notice at any time by a joint resolution passed by both Working Committees.

 

SECTION 4.   EFFECTIVE DATE

This Act shall go into effect immediately upon its adoption by the voters and shall become operative as follows:

            (a) Within 6 months, the Citizens Redistricting Commission that served in 2011 shall draw boundary lines for neighborhood districts based on the Senatorial and Assembly Districts approved in 2011.  If no Senatorial or Assembly District was approved or enacted by the Citizens Redistricting Commission, the Supreme Court shall draw boundary lines for neighborhood districts pursuant to section 2(j) or section 3 of Article XXI.  

            (b) Elections shall be conducted and the Legislature convened pursuant this this Act in 2014.  Any Senator serving an unexpired term in 2014 shall be deemed the neighborhood representative for this neighborhood district in which he or she resides without an election.  If two or more Senators reside in the same neighborhood district, the Citizens Redistricting Commission shall assign each Senator to represent a neighborhood district nearest to his or her residence for the remainder of the term, without an election.

SECTION 5.   SEVERABILITY/CONFLICTING MEASURES

(a) If any part of this measure or the application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications which can reasonably be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

 

(b) This measure is intended to be comprehensive.  It is the intent of the People that in the event this measure or measures relating to the same subject shall appear on the same statewide election ballot, the provisions of the other measure or measures shall be deemed to be in conflict with this measure.  In the event that this measure receives a greater number of affirmative votes, the provisions of this measure shall prevail in their entirety, and all provisions of the other measure or measures shall be null and void.

(c) If the voters amend the limitations on terms provided for in Section 2(a) of Article IV in June, 2012, then the limitations as amended shall apply to this Act.

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Page last updated 01/15/14