California Seen as Example for How to Curb Partisanship

Before Washington, California was the national symbol of partisan paralysis and government dysfunction. … But over the past month, California has been the stage for a series of celebrations of unlikely legislative success — a parade of bill signings that offered a contrast between the federal shutdown in Washington and an acrimony-free California legislature that enacted laws dealing with subjects including school financing, immigration, gun control and abortion.

The turnaround from just 10 years ago — striking in tone, productivity and, at least on fiscal issues, moderation — is certainly a lesson in the power of one-party rule. Democrats hold an overwhelming majority in the Assembly and Senate and the governor, Jerry Brown, is a Democrat. …

But the new atmosphere in Sacramento also offers the first evidence that three major changes in California’s governance system intended to leach some of the partisanship out of politics — championed by government reform advocates — may also be having their desired effect in a state that has long offered itself as the legislative laboratory for the nation. [cont.]

Adam Nagourney, New York Times