Why isn't 'California Sanctuary State' bill being voted on by general public?

Lawmaking is one of the key powers given to state legislators when voted into office.

California lawmakers have given initial approval to a measure that prevents law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials.

It makes California a statewide sanctuary for many people who are in the country illegally. The state Senate passed the measure on a 27-12 vote Monday, sending it to the Assembly.

Some viewers on the ABC10 Facebook page asked the question -- Why doesn’t the California public vote on this bill?

We reached out to a California politics expert, Steve Boilard, with California State University Sacramento (CSUS) who explains California government has a form of direct democracy that allows the public to have say by voting on certain laws.

He explained there are generally three ways the public has a vote on changes in law in the state of California.

One way is if a legislator proposes a bill and it passes through both the state Senate and general Assembly and becomes a law. The California Values Act is an example of this method form of law proposals.

The next way is when a member of the general public proposes new law. The person would need to get a certain number of signatures, based on a percentage of the most recent Governor’s election, to be place on the ballot. For example, California’s proposition 64 that legalized the recreational use of marijuana became law by members of the general public.

If the public doesn’t like a law enacted by the state legislature, there is also a way to have it removed by referendum. A member of the general public would need to propose the referendum and collect a certain amount of signatures to have it decided on in the next general election.

Also, any time there is a proposal to amend the state constitution, it also must be taken to a public vote in a general election. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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