Bill Text

Bill Information

PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-1678 Public agencies: political activities: dedicated fund.(2017-2018)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 05/02/2017 09:00 PM
AB1678:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 02, 2017
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 Sections 8314 and 54964 of the Government Code, relating to public schools. agencies.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1678, as amended, Berman. School districts and community college districts: Public agencies: 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 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 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 prohibits an elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee, employee, or consultant, from using or permitting others to use public resources for a campaign activity, as defined.
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.
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 8314 of the Government Code is amended to read:

8314.
 (a) It is unlawful for any elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee, employee, or consultant, to use or permit others to use public resources for a campaign activity, or personal or other purposes which are not authorized by law.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Personal purpose” means those activities the purpose of which is for personal enjoyment, private gain or advantage, or an outside endeavor not related to state business. “Personal purpose” does not include the incidental and minimal use of public resources, such as equipment or office space, for personal purposes, including an occasional telephone call.
(2) “Campaign activity” means an activity constituting a contribution as defined in Section 82015 or an expenditure as defined in Section 82025. “Campaign activity” does not include the incidental and minimal use of public resources, such as equipment or office space, for campaign purposes, including the referral of unsolicited political mail, telephone calls, and visitors to private political entities.
(3) “Public resources” means any property or asset owned by the state or any local agency, including, but not limited to, land, buildings, facilities, funds, equipment, supplies, telephones, computers, vehicles, travel, and state-compensated time.
(4) “Use” means a use of public resources which is substantial enough to result in a gain or advantage to the user or a loss to the state or any local agency for which a monetary value may be estimated.
(c) (1) Any person who intentionally or negligently violates this section is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day on which a violation occurs, plus three times the value of the unlawful use of public resources. The penalty shall be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General or by any district attorney or any city attorney of a city having a population in excess of 750,000. If two or more persons are responsible for any violation, they shall be jointly and severally liable for the penalty.
(2) If the action is brought by the Attorney General, the moneys recovered shall be paid into the General Fund. If the action is brought by a district attorney, the moneys recovered shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. If the action is brought by a city attorney, the moneys recovered shall be paid to the treasurer of that city.
(3) No civil action alleging a violation of this section may be commenced more than four years after the date the alleged violation occurred.
(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the use of public resources for providing information to the public about the possible effects of any bond issue or other ballot measure on state activities, operations, or policies, provided that (1) the informational activities are otherwise authorized by the constitution or laws of this state, and (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.
(e) The incidental and minimal use of public resources by an elected state or local officer, including any state or local appointee, employee, or consultant, pursuant to this section shall not be subject to prosecution under Section 424 of the Penal Code.
(f) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a public agency from establishing and implementing a dedicated fund pursuant to Section 85300.

SEC. 2.SEC. 3.

 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, 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. 3.SEC. 4.

  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.