Dan Walters

Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
dwalters@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Apr. 10, 2014 – 9:56 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Apr. 11, 2014 – 12:01 am

When the Legislature’s 2014 session began about three months ago, the Capitol’s dominant Democrats and their allies had high hopes that it would bear legislative fruit – with good reason.

Democrats held “supermajorities” in both legislative houses, the state’s budget was in balance, and an improving economy was generating surplus revenue that could finance plans for new spending on services to children, the poor and the disabled.

Even the Legislature’s public approval, which had fallen to as low as 10 percent in the Field Poll a few years earlier, was on the rise.

Democratic ambitions were expressed in hundreds of bills, many drafted by labor unions, environmental groups, consumer advocates and personal-injury lawyers, that collectively laid out a liberal election-year agenda.

However, as the Legislature wound up a couple of weeks of intensive committee hearings Thursday and left town for an 11-day spring break, the atmosphere had soured.

Three Democratic senators facing criminal charges had been suspended, thereby erasing the upper house’s supermajority and dooming some of the most ambitious measures.

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