Will Calif. Dems miss out on convention?

SACRAMENTO Despite the flurry of bills state lawmakers have been voting on, none of them was the state budget.

The unresolved budget is forcing almost all of the 31 Democratic lawmakers, who are also convention delegates, to postpone or cancel going.

"Our number-one priority is to settle the budget, and nothing is more important than that, and none of us would sacrifice that to go to a convention," Assemblywoman Karen Bass (D-Assembly Speaker).

"I can't imagine, candidly, anybody going. I mean, if anybody goes there, and they're not here, I think all hell ought to rain down on them," said State Senator Don Perata (D-Senate President).

Going to Denver without a state budget in place is considered political suicide because publicly funded programs are struggling. So some Democrats have had to rethink their travel plans.

"I wouldn't want my constituents come Tuesday or Wednesday wondering why the community clinics are shut down and where their Assembly representative is ... partying it up in Denver. I just got to think about that more carefully," said Assemblyman Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles).

It's particularly tough for African-American lawmakers, who would miss out on personally witnessing the first African-American nominated for president.

Barack Obama will be giving his acceptance speech on Thursday, the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Junior's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Some are crossing their fingers for a budget breakthrough before then.

"I have a plane ticket; I have room reservations ... it's an historic event," said Assemblyman Sandre Swanson (D-Oakland).

Both the Senate and Assembly are scheduled to be in session next week. The lawmaker who can't get to Denver will have their vote cast by proxy. That way, their candidate will not be short any votes.


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