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Could California's recall process change? Lawmakers hold first hearing

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — State lawmakers held their first hearing Thursday on the topic of changing California’s recall election process. 

Democratic legislators announced the effort the day after Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated the recall, saying they want to update the process. 

“I am troubled by the fundamentally undemocratic nature of California’s current recall process,” said Assemblyman Marc Berman, D-Menlo Park. 

The State Senate and Assembly Joint Legislative Elections committees kicked off what’s expected to be a series of hearings analyzing the state’s recall process. 

The hearing comes less than two months after the state spent about $300 million on the recall election, which Newsom handily beat. 

“But no matter what we do, reforming the recall should not be a partisan issue. It should be about good government,” said Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Contra Costa. 

Secretary of State Shirley Weber was among those testifying Thursday. 

“It is clear that Californians want a process of engagement like recall,” Weber said. 

She said her office is seeing an influx in Californians wanting to recall elected officials, especially at the local level. Weber said the process needs to be more balanced but didn’t specifically mention how. 

“That’s what we’re looking at, the fact that it has to have more teeth to it, there has to be more direction to it,” Weber said.

Former Secretary of State Bruce McPherson worked under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and was on the panel at the hearing. He made several suggestions to reform the process, including requiring there be proof of a crime or malfeasance in order to recall an elected official. 

“I think this is something that should be addressed, and it’s a herculean effort to get it right,” McPherson said. 

Outside the State Capitol, the lead proponent of the recall, Orrin Heatlie, said he objects to the effort to modify the process.

“Just because it’s a threat to the power structure that’s currently in place here in our capital doesn’t give them the right or the authority to modify it or manipulate the process so it favors them instead of the people,” Heatlie said. 

Any major changes to the recall process would be up to voters to decide. 

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