Monday, January 11, 2010

Republicans Have Been Known to Thrive in California

William Muir, Jr. Legislature: California’s School for Politics. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1982.

This book is based on interviews with 28 California legislators conducted in 1977-78. The author was a legislative committee staffer in 1975-76.

Lobbying who were knowledgeable were considered as being the best lobbyists. Legislators seek expert advice and most appreciate those lobbyists who could provide it.

Legislators who wished to oppose bills found their legislative peers expected them to state their objections. This is to give advocates a chance to clarify any misperceptions. Legislators who vote against other legislators consistently often found themselves ostracized by other legislators.

Many legislators propose bills that are specific to their district, such as buying property or closing down something. Many of these legislators seek to build coalitions with other legislators with their own “district” bills that will win approval for several district bills.

Legislators need to know how to handle conflicts. They also need to know how to use power appropriately in order to get their legislation passed.

People with specialized knowledge could go far in the legislative process. A legislator who understood the nuisances of a topic could win the respect of other legislators. Many might defer reaching their own opinions in respect to the opinions of the legislators who were specialists on particular topics.

Legislators face dilemmas when working harder can lead to gaining more enemies. The legislator who does less may engage in fewer conflicts and may keep more friends.

Legislators are expected to vote according to a norm that allows them to oppose a matter on its merits if they are familiar with the merits. Otherwise, the legislator is expected to vote in favor of a proposal, or to follow a leadership position on a proposal.

California established the Office of Legislative Analyst in 194. It had 44 technicians and a $1.5 million budget in 1975. The Governor’s office confidentially shares information on developing a budget proposal with this office so the legislative analysts could promptly provide detailed information of the Governor’s budget proposal, a document that was over 1,200 pages in the mid-1970s.

Legislators usually found their careers were advance by sharing their knowledge about issues to other legislators. Legislators also are less apt to move into developing specializations of knowledge about issues where others already have developed that expertise.

The author argues that knowledge about bills and the legislative process are the keys to legislators rising to the top of the legislative system. These legislators generally have the most proposals passed. Republicans were respected by the Democratic majority, as noted that 11 of the top 21 legislators in received the highest percentage of their bills passed were Republicans. Six of the top 24 legislators who got the most bills passed were first termers. It is noted some legislators who had low success rates in getting bills passed were specialists on controversial major bills that were narrowly defeated.

Most legislators felt a need to accomplish something. They learned the process to achieve goals and followed norms to fit into a system that advanced their ideals.


Blogger easy said...


12:55 AM  
Blogger Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny said...

Glad you are working hard. My Chinese is a little rusty, so I am not exactly what you wrote, Easy. I hope you enjoy this blog and enjoy your work and enjoy life.

1:26 PM  

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