Bill Text

Bill Information


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

AB-265 Elections: state and county voter information guides: judicial candidates.(2019-2020)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 05/01/2019 09:00 PM
AB265:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  May 01, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 06, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 265


Introduced by Assembly Member Choi

January 24, 2019


An act to amend Sections 9083 and 9084 of, and to add Section 13307.8 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 265, as amended, Choi. Elections: state and county voter information guides: judicial candidates.
The California Constitution provides that judges of the Supreme Court are elected at large and judges of courts of appeal are elected in their districts at general elections at the same time and places as the Governor. It also provides that judges of the superior court are elected in their counties at general elections except as otherwise necessary to meet the requirements of federal law.
Under existing law, the Secretary of State is required to prepare a state voter information guide that contains, among other things, voluntary statements by candidates for statewide elective offices and, if the ballot contains a question on the confirmation or retention of a justice of the Supreme Court, information on the justice. In addition, if the ballot contains a question as to the confirmation of a justice to the Supreme Court or a court of appeal, the state voter information guide must contain a written explanation of the electoral procedure for these justices. The Secretary of State is required to mail the state voter information guide to each voter, as specified, and make it available online along with additional information.
Existing law also requires local elections officials to prepare a county voter information guide that contains, among other things, voluntary statements by candidates for nonpartisan elective office. The local elections official is required to mail a county voter information guide to each voter in the county, as specified. In addition, if the local elections official permits the electronic distribution of candidate statements, each candidate for nonpartisan elective office may prepare a candidate statement to be posted on the internet website of the local elections official.
This bill would require the Secretary of State, whenever the ballot contains a question as to the confirmation or retention of a justice of the Supreme Court or a court of appeal, to provide specified information about each justice in the state voter information guide. County elections officials would also be required to provide specified information about each candidate for judge of the superior court in the county voter information guide. The bill would grant the Secretary of State and county elections officials the discretion to only include the information regarding court of appeal justices and candidates for superior court judge in the online versions of the state and county voter information guides, as specified.
By imposing additional duties on county elections officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
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, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 9083 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9083.
 If the ballot contains a question as to the confirmation or retention of a justice of the Supreme Court or a court of appeal, the Secretary of State shall include the following in the state voter information guide:
(a) A written explanation of the electoral procedure for justices of the Supreme Court and the courts of appeal. The explanation shall state the following:
“Under the California Constitution, justices of the Supreme Court and the courts of appeal are subject to confirmation by the voters. The public votes “yes” or “no” on whether to retain each justice.
“These judicial offices are nonpartisan.
“Before a person can become an appellate justice, the Governor must submit the candidate’s name to the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission, which is comprised of public members and lawyers. The commission conducts a thorough review of the candidate’s background and qualifications, with community input, and then forwards its evaluation of the candidate to the Governor.
“The Governor then reviews the commission’s evaluation and officially nominates the candidate, whose qualifications are subject to public comment before examination and review by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. That commission consists of the Chief Justice of California, the Attorney General of California, and a senior Presiding Justice of the Courts of Appeal. The Commission on Judicial Appointments must then confirm or reject the nomination. Only if confirmed does the nominee become a justice.
“Following confirmation, the justice is sworn into office and is subject to voter approval at the next gubernatorial election, and thereafter at the conclusion of each term. The term prescribed by the California Constitution for justices of the Supreme Court and courts of appeal is 12 years. Justices are confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments only until the next gubernatorial election, at which time they run for retention of the remainder of the term, if any, of their predecessor, which will be either four or eight years.”
(b) (1) The following information for each justice of the Supreme Court or a court of appeal subject to confirmation or retention:
(A) Current title.
(B) Date of admission to the State Bar.
(C) Educational background.
(D) Professional legal background.
(E) Judicial background.
(2) For justices of a court of appeal, the Secretary of State may choose to include the information required by paragraph (1) in the online version of the state voter information guide only.

SEC. 2.

 Section 9084 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9084.
 The state voter information guide shall contain all of the following:
(a) A complete copy of each state measure.
(b) Before each state measure, a conspicuous notice that identifies the location on the Secretary of State’s internet website of the specific constitutional or statutory provision that the state measure would repeal or revise.
(c) A copy of the arguments and rebuttals for and against each state measure.
(d) A copy of the analysis of each state measure.
(e) Tables of contents, indexes, art work, graphics, and other materials that the Secretary of State determines will make the state voter information guide easier to understand or more useful for the average voter.
(f) A notice, conspicuously printed on the cover of the state voter information guide, indicating that additional copies of the state voter information guide will be mailed by the county elections official upon request.
(g) A written explanation of the judicial retention procedure as required by Section 9083.
(h) The Voter Bill of Rights pursuant to Section 2300.
(i) If the ballot contains an election for the office of United States Senator, information on candidates for United States Senator. A candidate for United States Senator may purchase the space to place a statement in the state voter information guide that does not exceed 250 words. The statement shall not make any reference to any opponent of the candidate. The statement shall be submitted in accordance with timeframes and procedures set forth by the Secretary of State for the preparation of the state voter information guide.
(j) If the ballot contains an election for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States, a notice that refers voters to the Secretary of State’s internet website for information about candidates for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States.
(k) A written explanation of the appropriate election procedures for party-nominated, voter-nominated, and nonpartisan offices as required by Section 9083.5.
(l) A written explanation of the top 10 contributor lists required by Section 84223 of the Government Code, including a description of the Internet Web sites internet websites where those lists are available to the public.

SEC. 3.

 Section 13307.8 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

13307.8.
 (a) The county voter information guide shall contain the following information for each candidate for judge of the superior court who will appear on the ballot in an election:
(1) Current title.
(2) Date of admission to the State Bar.

(3)Educational background.

(4)

(3) Professional legal background.

(5)Judicial background.

(b) The county elections official is not required to include the information required by subdivision (a) in the print version of the county voter information guide mailed to voters, but shall post the information on the official’s internet website.

SEC. 4.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.