Thirty-five years ago, a California state senator named H.L. Richardson wrote a book titled, "What makes you think we read the bills?"
Sometimes, when a bill is read is at least as important as whether it's read.
In Sacramento, legislative rules require 30 days between introduction of a bill and its first committee hearings — ample time to assess its contents. But at the other end of the process — when bills are brought to the floor for approval — there aren't any guarantees.
That needs to change.
And the state budget is a good place to start.
For the second consecutive year, a Southern California legislator has introduced a bill requiring that the entire budget be posted online for three days before a final vote in the Assembly and Senate.
Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, also wants to apply the rule to the "trailer bills," the accompanying legislation required to implement the state budget.
Three days — 72 hours — isn't an onerous requirement.
Heck, it isn't even an especially high standard for transparency.
Yet Morrell's bill died without even a committee vote last year.