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California's first wiki bill vetoed, but Assemblyman Mike Gatto says he plans to organize more

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) wants the public to draft a law about the probate process using a new wiki-style site on the Internet.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto
Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) worked to get the public to draft a law about the probate process using a new wiki-style site.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto worked to draft the United States' first bill drafted by the public on a wiki-style Web page — but California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed it. Still, Gatto's not being deterred, as he plans to organize more wiki bills starting in December.

Since it was the first bill, Gatto tells KPCC, it was narrow as lawmakers tested the waters — it was required to address the probate code, which has to do with death and dying. The drafted bill addressed whether a court can appoint a guardian for a pet after its owner passes away.

"That's something, of course, that's very important to pet owners, but we acknowledge that it was not the most earth-shattering concept for legislation," Gatto said.

Brown said in his veto that the concern was already being addressed by current law, Gatto said, but the assemblyman questioned whether he understood the larger importance of the bill drafted with this degree of transparency.

"People feel like legislation, probably accurately, is too often drafted in smoke-filled back rooms in the Capitol with little or no transparency," Gatto said.

Gatto said that, in this instance, the process was more important than the substance of the bill. The process of drafting the bill worked well, Gatto said.

It's unclear how many people visited the page and read it, Gatto said, but 41 either wrote or shared an opinion on the site. He said they think that if they broaden the topic to something people are more passionate about next year, hundreds if not thousands of people will contribute.