Fall ballot shuffle by Legislature illegal, says court
On the surface, a new court ruling over the California Legislature's shuffling of the November 2012 ballot would seem to have come too late to matter.
But there's a larger issue at hand: the limits of legislative power to decree almost anything to be a 'budget related' bill.
The ruling by a state appeals court on Friday, in short, says it was illegal for the Legislature last year to move Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative to the top of the November ballot. It is a reversal of a lower court ruling which sided with Democratic legislators.
"Enacting Assembly Bill No. 1499 as urgency legislation by a simple majority was unconstitutional," says the 14-page ruling in the case Jarvis v. Bowen.
The plaintiffs, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, originally went to court to stop Brown's tax increase from being moved from its original spot on the long November ballot -- near the bottom -- to the top.
The bill which allowed the measure to ultimately become Proposition 30, was amended in late June of last year to allow all constitutional amendments and bond measures to receive top billing on statewide ballots. Being at the top of a very long ballot, say experts, affords a proposition a much better chance of passage.