Rumors have been circulating for the past week that California State Senator Abel Maldonado would be willing to trade his vote for the budget deal, if his fellow lawmakers would agree to place on a future ballot a constitutional amendment that would provide for some sort of future open primary (of course if approved by voters). Headlines this morning indicate that the legislature has approved a budget for California, but along with that they also approved a series of other measures, including one that will put on a future ballot some sort of primary election reform. From the Sacramento Bee:
The California Legislature voted early today to approve a massive budget package of tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to close a $40 billion deficit after granting major concessions to one holdout Republican senator.
Lawmakers had been at a five-day impasse until Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders today agreed to give Sen. Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, major changes he demanded in exchange for providing a crucial 27th vote for the state budget.
As part of Maldonado’s agreement, lawmakers approved measures asking voters to approve constitutional amendments to establish an open primary system and ban legislative pay increases during deficit years.
I’ll keep on the look out for details about what sort of primary election reform they agreed on, and when this might go on the ballot.