Monday, April 11, 2011

California Primary Bill to Move Primary to June Unanimously Passes Assembly

On April 11, AB 80 came up for a third reading and vote before the California Assembly. Given the recent discussions over the Golden state's budget within the last few weeks and the list of counter demands from Republican legislators -- including moving the presidential primary to March instead of June -- it is mildly surprising that the bill passed 68-0 with full bipartisan support. The state stands to save $100 million if the legislation, which now goes on to the state Senate, passes the Senate and is signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. But the Senate is where outspoken critic of the potential move, Minority Leader Robert Dutton (R-31st, Rancho Cucamonga), and his caucus will likely represent more resistance than was seen in the Assembly's consideration of the bill.

Though the benefits of the bill's savings are being touted, the partisan explanation, as in the case in the proposed moves in Democratic-controlled states like Maryland and Washington DC, is the main driver behind the legislation. The savings are just a byproduct of that move. Similar moves in legislation in other states -- Republican states -- while being introduced, have been largely unsuccessful to this point in the legislative cycle. March is becoming the likely destination for Republican-controlled states while Democratic-controlled states with exceptions are opting for April and later primary and caucus dates.

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