Thursday, June 07, 2007

Two-Thirds Home to a CA Commission

A friend from CA has sent notice that both houses of the CA legislature have passed a sentencing commission bill. Not clear whether the bills were co-sponsored and will avoid a conference committee. Even less clear that the governor will sign it, given that he has proposed his own weaker commission. With the opposition to the bill from his party in the legis, you would think he'd veto, but he's apparently not everything his party is wanting right now for other reasons so who knows? A commission would certainly give him a good fall guy for the next few years of sentencing in the state. His actual and demonstrated support are essential for its successful implementation in any case. Although Senator Romero has proven a strong leader in this case, you usually need more than a state senator to be your big backer when you have the prosecutors, sheriffs and cops, and the victims' groups they'll mobilize on the attack. A strong chair (Romero?) and a good director can offset that to some extent, but, if the political opponents know the commission doesn't have many of its own cards to play up front and doesn't have the real backing of those who do have cards, they can stunt and emasculate a commission before it can establish itself in the eyes of a public that just polled strongly in support of 53,000 more prison beds. But then, who really thought CA would get this far? We'll keep an eye on it and get back to you. And wish them luck when you get a chance.

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