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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 467   View pdf image (33K)
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[Nov. 8] DEBATES 467
I understand that the California legislature
has a 40-80 ratio.
DELEGATE JAMES: That is right.
DELEGATE BYRNES: I also under-
stand they have a salary, in effect, receipt
every year, of $40,000. Am I correct on
they pay $16,000 salary. What the other
benefits are I do not know.
I do know that they have provided con-
stitutional requirements concerning ethics,
which really bars a legislator from par-
ticipating in private activities.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Case.
DELEGATE CASE: Mr. Chairman,
have you made any studies to determine
the efficiency of a House of Delegates com-
posed of 105 members as opposed to one
composed of 80 members?
DELEGATE JAMES: No. I have had
a little personal experience. I think the
105 member house is an improvement. I
think the 80 member house is better. I
think this, that the sooner we are able to
organize the committee structure of the
Senate and the House along similar lines
for the purpose of facilitating joint com-
mittee efforts, I think the better off we will
be. I think the 80 member house would
achieve this result.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Case.
DELEGATE CASE: The recommenda-
tion which you make, Senator James, rep-
resents a two-to-one relationship between
the Senate and the House, whereas the ma-
jority recommendation is a three-to-one re-
lationship. Do you have any comments with
reference to the desirability of one over
the other?
DELEGATE JAMES: I did not come
here to flail the majority report, which 1
think is a reasonably good one. I simply
feel that an 80 man house is a more man-
ageable type of house. It would enable you
to compensate better, would give you a
better committee structure, and would be
better from the standpoint of freedom of
debate, which is a very important point.
In the Senate we do not have the mo-
tion for the previous question. We have
full freedom of debate. When you get a
house which is too large, you must of neces-
sity curtail your freedom of debate. I think
any legislative body which has to curtail
freedom of debate by the motion for the
previous question lacks something.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Case.
DELEGATE CASE: Senator James,
was the 123 member house in which you
served with such distinction too large to
permit freedom of debate?
DELEGATE JAMES: I was always of
the opinion that the house at 123 was too
large. That was my personal opinion, based
upon eight years of experience, and I might
say that many of the other members ex-
pressed the same opinion to me.
THE CHAIRMAN: Delegate Mason.
DELEGATE MASON: Senator James,
I would like to know why the drastic re-
duction in the House, 62 members from
the present House, and only a three mem-
ber reduction from the present Senate.
DELEGATE JAMES: I thought I ex-
plained that at the outset. This might be
regarded as a political decision on my part,
but my experience based upon eight years
in the Senate was that the 29-man Senate
was a bit too small, and, therefore, had a
tendency to create a very club-like atmos-
phere in which you found yourself, almost
without noticing it voting for people in-
stead of issues. This is the wrong frame of
mind to be in when you are legislating.
Moreover, it seems that the smaller the
house, the greater the tendency to go along
on the basis of personal relationship, rather
than on the merits of the particular legisla-
tion upon which you are voting.
I found there was a big difference be-
tween the 29 member Senate and the 43
member Senate in this respect. The Senate
became less personal, and I think it acted
more on the issues that were before it.
These are my personal observations, and
the reason for my acceptance of the 40
Now, at 35, which is the committee rec-
ommendation, I think it is still able to re-
tain the free committee structure which
we have now. You would probably reduce
it one or two members to achieve that pur-
pose. I think probably the Senate could
operate effectively with 35 members, and I
have no very serious objection to the 35
member Senate. I do think, however, that
the experience with the 43-man senate has
been good, and something between 35 and
40—43 probably would be quite acceptable
to me.
THE CHAIRMAN: Are there any
further questions?
Delegate Bennett.

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Proceedings and Debates of the 1967 Constitutional Convention
Volume 104, Volume 1, Debates 467   View pdf image (33K)
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