The Fresno newspaper studied the way bills are written in California and came up with this: 39% of the bills passed in the last two years (1,800 of them) were written by lobbyists. The story provides examples:
Imagine: At a time when California is lurching from crisis to crisis, a legislator has an idea to make life better. He puts together a bill, gathers support and shepherds it into law.
If only Sacramento worked like that. Instead, it often works like this: A lobbyist has an idea to make life better — but only for his client. The lobbyist writes the bill, shops for a willing lawmaker to introduce it and lines up the support. The legislator? He has to do little more than show up and vote.
This is the path of the “sponsored bill,” a method of lawmaking little noticed outside California’s capital but long favored on the inside. In many states lobbyists influence legislators; in California, they have — quite baldly — taken center stage in lawmaking.