Sneak peek at the ballot – for November 2014

It’s a bit early, but we wanted to give you a head’s-up about what voters could see on the ballot come November 2014.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told the Sacramento Press Club this week that he is launching an effort to make major changes in California’s storied direct democracy system.

Specifically, Steinberg wants to allow the Legislature to place initiatives on the ballot, including measures to raise taxes, by a majority vote of lawmakers. It currently takes a two-thirds vote to do that.

He also wants to allow the Legislature, with the consent of initiative backers and the governor, to make changes in an initiative after signatures are turned in to county officials. That’s something that could help with fixing errors and allow the Legislature and backers of efforts to address the overall issue without it having to go to the ballot.

Finally, Steinberg wants all initiatives to face a review by the Legislature after 10 years, meaning they could be changed or repealed with the consent of the governor.

Now, we’ve seen many reform efforts come and go – or, frankly, never get off the ground – but Steinberg said he’s serious about getting his ideas on the ballot.

"I believe in the initiative, but I also believe strongly that it should be an outlet, not a shadow government," he said.

Steinberg said he will start his efforts in earnest next year.

Capitol Notebook appears every Saturday for an inside look at state politics.

This article appeared on page C – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle