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AB-1729 Examination of petitions.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 03/24/2017 04:00 AM
AB1729:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 1729


Introduced by Committee on Elections and Redistricting (Assembly Members Low (Chair), Berman, Calderon, Mullin, and Weber)

March 23, 2017


An act to amend Section 17200 of the Elections Code, and to amend Section 6253.5 of the Government Code, relating to petitions.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1729, as introduced, Committee on Elections and Redistricting. Examination of petitions.
Existing law requires elections officials to preserve initiative or referendum petitions received or filed in their offices for 8 months after the certification of the results of the election for which the petition qualified, or 8 months after the final examination of the petition by the elections official if the measure is not submitted to the voters. Existing law requires the elections officials to thereafter destroy these petitions as soon as practicable unless certain conditions are satisfied. Existing law authorizes the proponents of a petition, no later than 21 days after certification of the insufficiency, to examine a petition found to be insufficient.
If a proponent has commenced examination of a petition pursuant to this provision, this bill would instead require the county elections official to destroy the petition one year from the date of the proponent’s last examination.
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.
The California Constitution requires local agencies, for the purpose of ensuring public access to the meetings of public bodies and the writings of public officials and agencies, to comply with a statutory enactment that amends or enacts laws relating to public records or open meetings and contains findings demonstrating that the enactment furthers the constitutional requirements relating to this purpose.
This bill would make legislative findings to that effect.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 17200 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

17200.
 (a) Elections Except as provided in subdivision (b), elections officials required by law to receive or file in their offices any initiative or referendum petition shall preserve the petition until eight months after the certification of the results of the election for which the petition qualified or, if the measure, for any reason, is not submitted to the voters, eight months after the final examination of the petition by the elections official.
(b) Thereafter, the petition shall be destroyed as soon as practicable unless it any of the following conditions is satisfied:
(1) The petition is in evidence in some action or proceeding then pending or unless the pending.
(2) The elections official has received a written request from the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Fair Political Practices Commission, a district attorney, a grand jury, or the governing body of a county, city and county, or district, including a school district, that the petition be preserved for use in a pending or ongoing investigation into election irregularities, the subject of which relates to the petition’s qualification or disqualification for placement on the ballot, or in a pending or ongoing investigation into a violation of the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Title 9 (commencing with Section 81000) of the Government Code).
(3) The proponents of the petition have commenced an examination pursuant to Section 6253.5 of the Government Code, in which case the petition shall be destroyed one year from the date that the proponents last examined the petition.
(c) If a petition subject to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b) was circulated in multiple counties, the county containing the greatest number of registered voters qualified to sign the petition shall ensure compliance with that paragraph. If the petition is circulated statewide, the Secretary of State shall ensure compliance.

(c)

(d) Public access to any such petition shall be restricted in accordance with Section 6253.5 of the Government Code.

(d)

(e) This section shall apply applies to the following petitions:
(1) Statewide initiative and referendum petitions.
(2) County initiative and referendum petitions.
(3) Municipal initiative and referendum petitions.
(4) Municipal city charter amendment petitions.
(5) District initiative and referendum petitions.

SEC. 2.

 Section 6253.5 of the Government Code is amended to read:

6253.5.
 (a) Notwithstanding Sections 6252 and 6253, statewide, county, city, and district initiative, referendum, and recall petitions, petitions circulated pursuant to Section 5091 of the Education Code, petitions for the reorganization of school districts submitted pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 35700) of Chapter 4 of Part 21 of the Education Code, petitions for the reorganization of community college districts submitted pursuant to Part 46 (commencing with Section 74000) of the Education Code and all memoranda prepared by the county elections officials in the examination of the petitions indicating which registered voters have signed particular petitions shall not be deemed to be public records and shall not be open to inspection except by the public officer or public employees who have the duty of receiving, examining or preserving the petitions or who are responsible for the preparation of that memoranda and, if the petition is found to be insufficient, by the proponents of the petition and the representatives of the proponents as may be designated by the proponents in writing in order to determine which signatures were disqualified and the reasons therefor. However, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, the Fair Political Practices Commission, a district attorney, a school district or a community college district attorney, and a city attorney shall be permitted to examine the material upon approval of the appropriate superior court.

If

(b) If the proponents of a petition are permitted to examine the petition and memoranda, memoranda pursuant to subdivision (a), the examination shall commence not later than 21 days after certification of insufficiency. insufficiency, and the county elections officials shall retain the documents as prescribed in Section 17200 of the Elections Code.

(a)

(c) As used in this section, “petition” shall mean any petition to which a registered voter has affixed his or her signature.

(b)

(d) As used in this section “proponents of the petition” means the following:
(1) For statewide initiative and referendum measures, the person or persons who submit a draft of a petition proposing the measure to the Attorney General with a request that he or she prepare a title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure.
(2) For other initiative and referenda on measures, the person or persons who publish a notice of intention to circulate petitions, or, where publication is not required, who file petitions with the elections official.
(3) For recall measures, the person or persons defined in Section 343 of the Elections Code.
(4) For petitions circulated pursuant to Section 5091 of the Education Code, the person or persons having charge of the petition who submit the petition to the county superintendent of schools.
(5) For petitions circulated pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 35700) of Chapter 4 of Part 21 of the Education Code, the person or persons designated as chief petitioners under Section 35701 of the Education Code.
(6) For petitions circulated pursuant to Part 46 (commencing with Section 74000) of the Education Code, the person or persons designated as chief petitioners under Sections 74102, 74133, and 74152 of the Education Code.

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 under this act would result from a legislative mandate that is within the scope of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution.

SEC. 4.

 The Legislature finds and declares that Section 2 of this act, which amends Section 6253.5 of the Government Code, furthers, within the meaning of paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the purposes of that constitutional section as it relates to the right of public access to the meetings of local public bodies or the writings of local public officials and local agencies. Pursuant to paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) of Section 3 of Article I of the California Constitution, the Legislature makes the following findings:
A retention scheme facilitates the examination of public records.