Honor in Office

Knowing What They are Reading

By Thomas Benigno

Published in: Bilingual Weekly, Tracy Press and Stockton Record
Date: 5 June 09

It has come to my attention from talking to many of my supporters that they have had it with our California government. Enough is enough about what our elected officials are doing while in office. One of the biggest concerns was that not enough time was being spent reading the bills that are being presented before the legislature.

The cause and effect of problems arising in state government is from slackers who are not doing their job while in office. Many of those elected have their aides read and interpret what is in the packages they receive from their analysts, or better known as lobbyists, to get the elected official to do what they want. This problem has been getting worse every year when big money is thrown at the feet of the elected officials.

The special interest lobbyists have made a joke out of all politics. We need to address the issue by changing the rules of the game. Recently, a group of interested people had e-mailed me on the issue of our elected officials reading the material presented to them for their vote. One measure being suggested is that all elected officials must read all bull and they MUST GIGN THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE CONTENTS OF THE BILL before voting in favor or against that bill.

The issues are simple to understand. If you don't understand what you read then don't vote on the bill until you do understand it. Many of the bills have a lot of information to be read such as the last bill on the bail out. The bill contained 800 pages of information that needed to be absorbed in a matter of a few days. Many of the decisions that came out of the bill, merely put us deeper in debt because most had no time to read the text of the bill.

What we would like to see is that every lawmaker would need to sign this pledge. In doing so it would help protect those who are paying the bills. Not all but certainly the majority of our legislators are not doing their jobs. We need to give them some guidelines on what we expect. Prior to voting on any bill, each member of the legislature shall execute in writing the following statement:

"I hereby certify under penalty of perjury that I have not committed any act in violation of Penal Code Section 86 in connection with (insert bill number and title).

I further certify under penalty of perjury that to the best of my knowledge, my vote on (insert bill number and title) has not been influenced by any act taken by any person in violation of Penal Code section 85 and/or section 15 or Article IV of the California Constitution."

A vote shall not be counted unless it is determined that the member casting such a vote has executed in writing those statements. The certification requirement shall not apply to committee votes.

In summing up the measure that we speak of, the people of California have entrusted those elected to office a tremendous responsibility, a power granted to a select few. With this honor and privilege, the people have a certain request to make of you, the elected official. Just do what is right for all of the people of California that voted you into office.

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