Competitive Bidding for the California State Legislature? Democrats Vote NO to That Concept

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Today (April 17, 2012), the California State Assembly’s Business, Professions, and Consumer Protection Committee considered Assembly Bill 1947, a bill introduced by Assemblywoman Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) to put the contracts of the California State Legislature under the same competitive bidding laws as other state agencies and local governments.

I predicted in my post on April 15 that this committee would kill this concept, as it did in 2007 and 2009. I was right! Here’s my support letter:

Dayton Letter in Support of Assembly Bill 1947

Assemblywoman Grove did an excellent job presenting the general arguments for the bill. I then cited two anecdotes showing why competitive bidding was needed at the state legislature: the 2005 “all-union workforce” bid specification for the Capitol Safety and Security Improvements Project and the 1975 Capitol Restoration Project that resulted in a lawsuit from the Pacific Legal Foundation under its former staff attorney Ron Zumbrun. (See Department of General Services v. Superior Court (Sacramento Builders’ Exchange, Inc.) (1978) 85 Cal.App.3d 273, 147 Cal.Rptr. 422.) I also talked about best value criteria in bidding and how the legislature could authorize that for its bidding, if it chose to do so. Juli Broyles then spoke in support of the bill for my former employer, Associated Builders and Contractors of California. Finally, James W. “Jim” Ricketts of Tea Party United spoke in support of the bill, giving a voice to the millions of Californians who don’t like their tax money squandered on cronyism and corruption. He commended Assemblywoman Grove for introducing a bill to promote transparency and free market principles to the procedures of the California State Legislature.

Two of the three Republicans on the committee were not in the hearing room. Assemblyman Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita) encouraged the committee to “restore just a little bit of trust” and made a motion to approve the bill. Committee chairwoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward) gave a routine courtesy second to allow for a vote. Committee members did not make any additional comments or ask any questions.

On a 4-1 vote, Assembly Bill 1947 was rejected. Voting NO were Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward), Mike Eng (D-Alhambra), Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo), and Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco).

Voting YES was Cameron Smyth (R-Santa Clarita).

Not present to vote were Vice-Chairman Bill Berryhill (R-Stockton), Curt Hagman (R-Chino Hills), Michael Allen (D-Santa Rosa), and Betsy Butler (D-El Segundo).

A few people in the fully-occupied hearing room audibly snickered when the bill was voted down without any arguments made against it.

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