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AB-1678 School districts and community college districts: political activities: dedicated fund.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 04/18/2017 04:00 AM
AB1678:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 17, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1678


Introduced by Assembly Member Berman
(Coauthor: Senator Allen)

February 17, 2017


An act to amend Section 7054 of the Education Code, and to amend Section 54964 of the Government Code, relating to public schools.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1678, as amended, Berman. School districts and community college districts: political activities: dedicated fund.
The Political Reform Act of 1974 prohibits a public officer from expending and a candidate from accepting any public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office, except that a public officer or candidate may expend or accept public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office if the state or a local governmental entity establishes a dedicated fund, as specified, specified in statute, and certain conditions are satisfied. A violation of those provisions is a misdemeanor.
Existing law prohibits the use of school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment to support or defeat a ballot measure or candidate, and makes a violation of those provisions a crime.
This bill would specify that those provisions do not prohibit a school district or community college district from establishing and implementing a dedicated fund. fund as specified in statute for the funding of candidates for elective office. By expanding the scope of a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Existing law specifically provides that an officer, employee, or consultant of a local agency, as defined, may not expend or authorize the expenditure of any of the funds of the local agency to support or oppose the approval or rejection of a ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters. Membership dues paid by a local agency to a professional association are not included as a prohibited expenditure.
This bill would specify that those provisions do not prohibit a local agency from establishing and implementing a dedicated fund as specified in statute for the funding of candidates for elective office.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 7054 of the Education Code is amended to read:

7054.
 (a) No school district or community college district funds, services, supplies, or equipment shall be used for the purpose of urging the support or defeat of any ballot measure or candidate, including, but not limited to, any candidate for election to the governing board of the district.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of any of the public resources described in subdivision (a) to provide information to the public about the possible effects of any bond issue or other ballot measure if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The informational activities are otherwise authorized by the Constitution or laws of this state.
(2) The information provided constitutes a fair and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the electorate in reaching an informed judgment regarding the bond issue or ballot measure.
(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a school district or community college district from establishing and implementing a dedicated fund pursuant to Section 85300 of the Government Code.
(d) A violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor or felony punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year or by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both, or imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code for 16 months, or two or three years.

SEC. 2.

 Section 54964 of the Government Code is amended to read:

54964.
 (a) An officer, employee, or consultant of a local agency may not expend or authorize the expenditure of any of the funds of the local agency to support or oppose the approval or rejection of a ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a candidate, by the voters.
(b) As used in this section section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Ballot measure” means an initiative, referendum, or recall measure certified to appear on a regular or special election ballot of the local agency, or other measure submitted to the voters by the governing body at a regular or special election of the local agency.
(2) “Candidate” means an individual who has qualified to have his or her name listed on the ballot, or who has qualified to have write-in votes on his or her behalf counted by elections officials, for nomination or election to an elective office at any regular or special primary or general election of the local agency, and includes any officeholder who is the subject of a recall election.
(3) “Expenditure” means a payment of local agency funds that is used for communications that expressly advocate the approval or rejection of a clearly identified ballot measure, or the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, by the voters. “Expenditure” shall not include membership dues paid by the local agency to a professional association.
(4) “Local agency” has the same meaning as defined in Section 54951, but does not include a county superintendent of schools, an elementary, high, or unified school district, or a community college district.
(c) This section does not prohibit the expenditure of local agency funds to provide information to the public about the possible effects of a ballot measure on the activities, operations, or policies of the local agency, if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The informational activities are not otherwise prohibited by the Constitution or laws of this state.
(2) The information provided constitutes an accurate, fair, and impartial presentation of relevant facts to aid the voters in reaching an informed judgment regarding the ballot measure.
(d) This section does not apply to the political activities of school officers and employees of a county superintendent of schools, an elementary, high, or unified school district, or a community college district that are regulated by Article 2 (commencing with Section 7050) of Chapter 1 of Part 5 of the Education Code.
(e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a local agency from establishing and implementing a dedicated fund pursuant to Section 85300.

SEC. 2. SEC. 3.

  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.