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Senate Passes Budget

The Sacramento Bee just reported that Senator Abel Maldonado of Santa Maria cast the final vote to move the $144 billion budget plan out of the chamber of horrors that is the state senate.

Supposedly the skids are greased from here on to win quick passage in the Assembly and swiftly deliver the package, which is aimed at erasing a $40 billion deficit over the next 16 months, to the Terminator's desk.

In an example of the kind of Big Picture Public Interest thinking that's created the sorry spectacle in Sacramento, the Democrat majority won the final vote by agreeing to place the Abel Maldonado Relief Act on the state ballot in May. That measure would require open primaries for state elections, meaning voters could cast ballots for anyone regardless of party, a change that Maldonado desperately sought to help fulfill his inner child dream of winning the GOP nomination for controller.

Check out my column in the print edition of the Indie that's out today for more on the budget mess, including the role played by Taliban Tony Strickland, the other state senator representing parts of Santa Barbara County.

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