Jerry Brown (D)
Alberto Torrico (D)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should act on the more than 700 bills on his desk regardless of whether state legislators agree on a plan to upgrade the state's water system, a candidate for attorney general said.
State Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark, said the governor's treat to veto the stack of bills amounts to extortion. He sent a letter to fellow Democrat Attorney General Jerry Brown, asking him to investigate the Republican governor's threats.
"While politicians are certainly allowed to express their disagreements in any way they find productive, they are not allowed to refuse to perform their sworn duties in order to force the Legislature to accept policy positions," Torrico wrote to Brown. "And public officials are specifically prohibited from the kind of direct 'horse trading' in which a government official agrees to take, or not take, a certain action in exchange for a specific vote."
The governor has until Sunday to act on the bills, which range from protections against predatory lending to veterans' benefits to funding for schools. State law says the governor has 30 days to act on bills after the legislative session's end.
For months, state lawmakers and the governor have been working toward a deal over the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta and a large bond sale that could be used to bankroll new reservoirs and canals.
For their parts, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, and state Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, have said they were optimistic the governor would not issue a mass veto, tossing out ten months of legislative work.