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SB-47 Initiative, referendum, and recall petitions: disclosures.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 12/03/2018 09:00 PM
SB47:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 47


Introduced by Senator Allen

December 03, 2018


An act to amend Sections 101, 104, 9008, 9105, 9203, and 18600 of, and to add Sections 107 and 108 to, the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 47, as introduced, Allen. Initiative, referendum, and recall petitions: disclosures.
The California Constitution and existing statutory law provide for the electors to propose statutes or amendments to the Constitution by initiative. Existing law authorizes a person who is a voter or who is qualified to register to vote in California to circulate an initiative or referendum petition within the state.
The California Constitution enables electors to initiate a recall of state or local officers by gathering sufficient signatures within a specified time period. Existing statutory law requires that the proponents of a recall be registered voters of the electoral jurisdiction of the officer they seek to recall.
Existing law requires that certain requirements and would authorize the committee to create a page on an Internet Web site that includes a link to the most recent Official Top Funders sheet and a link to the full text of the measure. The bill would require the committee to submit the Official Top Funders sheet and any updates to the Secretary of State, who would be required to post that statement on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site along with the previous versions the committee submitted.
The bill would amend existing provisions to make certain misrepresentations with regard to the Official Top Funders disclosures a crime. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require the circulator to certify under the penalty of perjury that the circulator showed each signer a valid and unfalsified “Official Top Funders” sheet if the petition does not include a specified disclosure statement. By expanding the crime of perjury, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The bill would authorize the pages of a petition to be bound together by any reasonable method, including the use of staples.
By expanding the duties of local elections officials, the 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 with regard to certain mandates no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
With regard to any other mandates, this bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs so 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 101 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

101.
 (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a state or local initiative petition required to be signed by voters shall contain in 12-point type, 11-point type, before that portion of the petition for voters’ signatures, printed names, and residence addresses, the following language: language, in order:

“NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC


THIS PETITION MAY BE CIRCULATED BY A PAID SIGNATURE GATHERER OR A VOLUNTEER. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK.”


(1) “NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC:”. This text shall be in a boldface font.
(2) If the petition does not include the disclosure statement described by subdivision (b) of Section 107, the text “YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SEE AN “OFFICIAL TOP FUNDERS” SHEET.” This text shall be in a boldface font.
(3) “THIS PETITION MAY BE CIRCULATED BY A PAID SIGNATURE GATHERER OR A VOLUNTEER. YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK.”
(b) A state initiative petition shall contain, in the same location and type size described in subdivision (a), the following language:

“THE PROPONENTS OF THIS PROPOSED INITIATIVE MEASURE HAVE THE RIGHT TO WITHDRAW THIS PETITION AT ANY TIME BEFORE THE MEASURE QUALIFIES FOR THE BALLOT.”

SEC. 2.

 Section 104 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

104.
 (a) Wherever any petition or paper is submitted to the elections official, each section of the petition or paper shall have attached to it a declaration signed by the circulator of the petition or paper, setting forth, in the circulator’s own hand, the following:
(1) The printed name of the circulator.
(2) The residence address of the circulator, giving street and number, or if no street or number exists, adequate designation of residence so that the location may be readily ascertained.
(3) The dates between which all the signatures to the petition or paper were obtained.
(b) Each declaration submitted pursuant to this section shall also set forth the following:
(1) That the circulator circulated that section and witnessed the appended signatures being written.
(2) That according to the best information and belief of the circulator, each signature is the genuine signature of the person whose name it purports to be.
(3) That the circulator is 18 years of age or older.
(4) If the petition does not include the disclosure statement described by subdivision (b) of Section 107, that the circulator showed each signer a valid and unfalsified “Official Top Funders” sheet, as required by Section 107.
(c) The circulator shall certify the content of the declaration as to its truth and correctness, under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California, with the signature of his or her name. The circulator shall state the date and the place of execution on the declaration immediately preceding his or her signature.

SEC. 3.

 Section 107 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

107.
 (a) (1)   A committee formed pursuant to Section 82013 of the Government Code that pays for the circulation of a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition shall create an Official Top Funders sheet as follows, with all text in a black roman type with a type size of 14 point on a plain, contrasting background, and centered horizontally, except as described below. None of the text shall have its type condensed or have the spacing between characters reduced to be narrower than a normal roman type.
(2) At the top of the sheet shall appear the text “OFFICIAL TOP FUNDERS. Valid only for”, followed by a month and year that starts at most seven days after the date the top contributors as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 84501 of the Government Code were last confirmed. This text shall be boldface and with a type size of at least 16 point.
(3) Next, separated by a blank horizontal line from the text in paragraph (2), shall appear the title of the initiative, referendum, or recall as it appears on the petition, in all capital letters.
(4) (A)   Next, separated by a blank horizontal line from the text in paragraph (3), shall appear a disclosure statement in a printed or drawn box with a black border.
(B) At the top of the disclosure statement shall appear the text “Petition circulation paid for by” in boldface text.
(C) Next, on a separate horizontal line, shall appear the name of the committee as it appears on the most recent Statement of Organization filed pursuant to Section 84101 of the Government Code. If the committee has any top contributors as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 84501 of the Government Code, it shall be followed by a blank horizontal line and then the underlined text “Committee major funding from:”.
(D) The top contributors as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 84501 of the Government Code, if any, shall each be disclosed in boldface text on a separate horizontal line separate from any other text, in descending order, beginning with the top contributor who made the largest cumulative contributions, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 84501 of the Government Code, on the first line.
(E) The committee, in its discretion, may include the underlined text “Endorsed by:”, followed by a list, not underlined, of up to three endorsers. The text pursuant to this subparagraph shall be separated from the text above and below it by a blank horizontal line.
(F) The following line shall include the text “Latest Official Top Funders:” followed by either (i) the Internet Web page on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site that lists the “Official Top Funders” statements that are reported pursuant to subdivision (f), or (ii) the Internet Web site described in subdivision (c).
(5) If the petition is a state initiative petition, next, separated by at least two blank horizontal lines from the disclosures of paragraph (4) and (5), shall appear the text “OFFICIAL TITLE AND SUMMARY (SAME AS ON PETITION)”, in boldface text in all capital letters.
(6) If the petition is a state initiative petition, next, starting on a separate horizontal line, shall appear the text “The Attorney General of California has prepared the following circulating title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:”, in boldface text with a type size of 11 point.
(7) If the petition is a state initiative petition, next, starting on a separate horizontal line, shall appear the Attorney General summary of the initiative as it appears on the initiative petition, in plain text with a type size of 11 point.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition that requires voter signatures and for which the circulation is paid for by a committee formed pursuant to Section 82013 of the Government Code shall either include a disclosure statement on the petition that is displayed as follows or the circulator for the petition shall present as a separate document the Official Top Funders sheet described in subdivision (a) to a prospective signer of the petition.
(1) The disclosure statement shall have a solid white background and shall be in a printed or drawn box with a black border and shall appear before that portion of the petition for voters’ signatures, printed names, and residence addresses. The text in the disclosure area shall be in a black Arial equivalent type with a type size of at least 10 point, with all lines centered horizontally in the disclosure area.
(2) The top of the disclosure shall include the text “OFFICIAL TOP FUNDERS. Valid only for”, followed by a month and year that starts at most seven days after the date the top contributors as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 84501 of the Government Code were last confirmed. The text of this paragraph shall be boldface.
(3) Next shall appear, on a separate horizontal line, the text “Petition circulation paid for by”, followed by the name of the committee as it appears on the most recent Statement of Organization filed pursuant to Section 84101 of the Government Code. If the committee has any top contributors as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 84501 of the Government Code, it shall be followed by, on a separate horizontal line, the underlined text “Committee major funding from:”.
(4) The top contributors as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 84501 of the Government Code, if any, shall each be disclosed in boldface text on a separate horizontal line separate from any other text, in descending order, beginning with the top contributor who made the largest cumulative contributions, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 84501 of the Government Code, on the first line.
(5) The committee, in its discretion, may include the underlined text “Endorsed by:”, followed by a list, not underlined, of up to three endorsers. The text in this paragraph shall be separated from the text above and below it by a blank horizontal line.
(6) The following line shall include the text “Latest info:” followed by the URL for either (A) the Internet Web page on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site that lists the “Official Top Funders” statements that are reported pursuant to subdivision (f), or (B) the Internet Web site described in subdivision (c). The text specified in this paragraph shall be underlined.
(c) Any committee formed pursuant to Section 82013 of the Government Code that pays for the circulation of a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition may create a page on an Internet Web site that includes both of the following:
(1) A prominent link to the most recent Official Top Funders sheet as described in subdivision (a). The Official Top Funders sheet that the page links to shall be in a format that allows it to be viewed on an Internet Web site and printed out on a single page of paper.
(2) A prominent link to the full text of the initiative or referendum.
(d) The disclosure of a top contributor or endorser pursuant to this section need not include terms such as “incorporated,” “committee,” “political action committee,” or “corporation,” or abbreviations of these terms, unless the term is part of the contributor’s or endorser’s name in common usage or parlance.
(e) If this section requires the disclosure of the name of a top contributor that is a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013 of the Government Code and is a sponsored committee pursuant to Section 82048.7 of the Government Code with a single sponsor, only the name of the single sponsoring organization shall be disclosed.
(f) A committee that circulates a state initiative, referendum, or recall petition shall submit the Official Top Funders sheet required by subdivision (a), and any updates to that statement, to the Secretary of State, who shall post that statement on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site along with the previous versions the committee submitted.
(g) This section does not require a local elections official to verify the accuracy of the information required by this section or to re-approve the petition upon any updates the committee makes.
(h) Signatures collected on an initiative, referendum, or recall petition are not invalid solely because the information required by this section was absent or inaccurate.
(i) For purposes of this section, “endorser” means:
(1) A business that has been in existence for at least two years and has had at least one full-time staffer during that period.
(2) A non-profit organization that was not originally created for the purposes of serving as a committee, that has been in existence for at least two years, and either has received contributions from more than 50 donors in that period or has had at least one full-time staffer during that period.
(3) A political party.
(4) An individual, whose name may include their title if they are an elected official or represent one of the organizations described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3).

SEC. 4.

 Section 108 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

108.
 Notwithstanding any other law, the pages of a petition may be bound together by any reasonable method, including the use of staples.

SEC. 5.

 Section 9008 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9008.
 Every proposed initiative measure, prior to circulation, shall have placed across the top of the petition in 12-point 11-point or larger roman boldface type, all of the following:
(a) The Attorney General’s unique numeric identifier placed before the circulating title and summary upon each page where the circulating title and summary is to appear.
(b) The circulating title and summary prepared by the Attorney General upon each page of the petition on which signatures are to appear. The circulating title shall appear in all capital letters.

(c)The circulating title and summary prepared by the Attorney General upon each section of the petition preceding the text of the measure.

(d)

(c) The circulating title and summary prepared by the Attorney General as required by subdivision (c) (b) shall be preceded by the following statement: “Initiative measure to be submitted directly to the voters.” “INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO THE VOTERS.”, followed by, on a separate line, “The Attorney General of California has prepared the following circulating title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:” This text shall be in boldface.

SEC. 6.

 Section 9105 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9105.
 (a) The county elections official shall immediately transmit a copy of any proposed measure to the county counsel. Within 15 days after the proposed measure is filed, the county counsel shall provide and return to the county elections official a ballot title and summary for the proposed measure. The ballot title may differ from any other title of the proposed measure and shall express in 500 words or less the purpose of the proposed measure. In providing the ballot title, the county counsel shall give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the proposed measure in such language that the ballot title shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure.
(b) The county elections official shall furnish a copy of the ballot title and summary to the proponents of the proposed measure. The proponents shall, prior to the circulation of the petition, publish the Notice of Intention, and the ballot title and summary of the proposed measure in a newspaper of general circulation published in that county, and file proof of publication with the county elections official.
(c) The ballot title and summary prepared by the county counsel shall appear upon each section of the petition, above the text of the proposed measure and across the top of each page of the petition on which signatures are to appear, in roman boldface type not smaller than 12 point. 11 point. The ballot title and summary shall be clearly separated from the text of the measure. The text of the measure shall be printed in type not smaller than 8 point. The heading of the proposed measure shall be in a boldface type in substantially the following form:

The heading of the proposed measure shall be in substantially the following form:

Initiative Measure to be Submitted Directly to the Voters

INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE DIRECTLY SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS
The county counsel has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:
(Here set forth the title and summary prepared by the county counsel. This title and summary must also be printed across the top of each page of the petition whereon signatures are to appear.)

SEC. 7.

 Section 9203 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9203.
 (a) Any person who is interested in any proposed measure shall file a copy of the proposed measure with the elections official with a request that a ballot title and summary be prepared. This request shall be accompanied by the address of the person proposing the measure. The elections official shall immediately transmit a copy of the proposed measure to the city attorney. Within 15 days after the proposed measure is filed, the city attorney shall provide and return to the city elections official a ballot title for and summary of the proposed measure. The ballot title may differ from any other title of the proposed measure and shall express in 500 words or less the purpose of the proposed measure. In providing the ballot title, the city attorney shall give a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the proposed measure in such language that the ballot title shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure.
(b) The elections official shall furnish a copy of the ballot title and summary to the person filing the proposed measure. The person proposing the measure shall, prior to its circulation, place upon each section of the petition, above the text of the proposed measure and across the top of each page of the petition on which signatures are to appear, in roman boldface type not smaller than 12 point, 11 point, the ballot title prepared by the city attorney. The text of the measure shall be printed in type not smaller than 8 point. The heading of the proposed measure shall be in a boldface type in substantially the following form:

The heading of the proposed measure shall be in substantially the following form:

Initiative Measure to be Submitted Directly to the Voters

INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE DIRECTLY SUBMITTED TO THE VOTERS
The city attorney has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:
(Here set forth the title and summary prepared by the city attorney. This title and summary must also be printed across the top of each page of the petition whereon signatures are to appear.)

SEC. 8.

 Section 18600 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

18600.
 Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who:
(a) Circulating, as principal or agent, or having charge or control of the circulation of, or obtaining signatures to, any state or local initiative, referendum or recall petition, intentionally misrepresents or intentionally makes any false statement concerning the contents, purport or effect of the petition petition, or the petition’s Official Top Funders disclosure required by Section 107, to any person who signs, or who desires to sign, or who is requested to sign, or who makes inquiries with reference to it, or to whom it is presented for his or her signature.
(b) Willfully and knowingly circulates, publishes, or exhibits any false statement or misrepresentation concerning the contents, purport or effect of any state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition petition, or the petition’s Official Top Funders disclosure required by Section 107, for the purpose of obtaining any signature to, or persuading or influencing any person to sign, that petition.
(c) Circulating, as principal or agent, or having charge or control of the circulation of, or obtaining signatures to, any state or local initiative, intentionally makes any false statement in response to any inquiry by any voter as to whether he or she is a paid signature gatherer or a volunteer.

SEC. 9.

 The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

SEC. 10.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for certain costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district because, in that regard, 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.
However, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains other 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.