The California Legislature has repeatedly shown that significant reform proposals have no chance of passing in a political system dominated by special interests. That's why the voters had to implement a top-two primary system and create a citizens redistricting commission.
Now the voters have another chance to improve state government, this time by passing Proposition 31 on the Nov. 6 ballot. There are many reasons that this measure is needed. A major one is requiring transparency in a legislative system that does its significant business in secret.
Proposition 31 would require that all bills, except those responding to a disaster, be available to the public 72 hours before they are voted on. That would stop the "gut-and-amend" practice of taking a bill in the final hours of the session and inserting new language.
Lawmakers, let alone California residents, often don't have a chance to read the bills in their entirety before voting. They just do what their legislative leaders tell them.
It's too bad that this provision must be included in the state Constitution, an already bulky document, but the Legislature refuses to do its business openly. Unfortunately, a transparent government must be mandated in California.