SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers violated the state Constitution when they passed a bill that gave Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative top billing on the November ballot, a state appeals court ruled Friday.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento said lawmakers were wrong to sidestep a two-thirds vote requirement to immediately enact AB 1499 last year. The bill was passed on a majority vote by Democrats last June and moved the governor's measure ahead of other initiatives on the November ballot because it involved a constitutional amendment.
Democrats appropriated $1,000 to the secretary of state for expenses. They said because the so-called spot bill was related to the budget, it could be passed on a simple majority vote and enacted ahead of the election.
Had it not been enacted as urgency legislation, the law would not have taken effect until the new year — after the election.
Republicans were unsuccessful in trying to stop the bill from taking effect before voters approved Proposition 30.