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SCA-7 Public Utilities Commission.(2019-2020)

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CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Constitutional Amendment
No. 7


Introduced by Senator Dahle
(Coauthors: Senators Jones and Wilk)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Choi and Megan Dahle)

February 11, 2020


A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by amending Section 14 of Article II, Section 8 of Article III, Section 18 of Article IV, Section 14 of Article V, Section 10 of Article VII, Section 1 of Article XII, and Sections 1 and 2 of Article XXI, thereof, relating to the Public Utilities Commission.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SCA 7, as introduced, Dahle. Public Utilities Commission.
The California Constitution establishes the Public Utilities Commission, with jurisdiction over all public utilities. Under the California Constitution, the commission consists of 5 members appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate, a majority of the membership concurring, for staggered 6-year terms.
This measure would provide that the commission instead consists of 4 members elected from distinct Public Utilities Commission districts for staggered 4-year terms. The measure would subject members of the commission to certain provisions of the California Constitution that are applicable to other state officers, including those provisions related to recall, compensation, impeachment, conflicts of interest, elections, and redistricting.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

Resolved by the Senate, the Assembly concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019–20 Regular Session commencing on the second day of December 2019, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

First—

 That Section 14 of Article II thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 14.
 (a) Recall of a state officer is initiated by delivering to the Secretary of State a petition alleging reason for recall. Sufficiency of reason is not reviewable. Proponents have 160 days to file signed petitions.
(b) A petition to recall a statewide officer must be signed by electors equal in number to 12 percent of the last vote for the office, with signatures from each of 5 counties equal in number to 1 percent of the last vote for the office in the county. Signatures to recall Senators, members of the Assembly, members of the Board of Equalization, members of the Public Utilities Commission, and judges of courts of appeal and trial courts must equal in number 20 percent of the last vote for the office.
(c) The Secretary of State shall maintain a continuous count of the signatures certified to that office.

Second—

 That Section 8 of Article III thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 8.
 (a) The California Citizens Compensation Commission is hereby created and shall consist of seven members appointed by the Governor. The commission shall establish the annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits of state officers.
(b) The commission shall consist of the following persons:
(1) Three public members, one of whom has expertise in the area of compensation, such as an economist, market researcher, or personnel manager; one of whom is a member of a nonprofit public interest organization; and one of whom is representative of the general population and may include, among others, a retiree, homemaker, or person of median income. No person appointed pursuant to this paragraph may, during the 12 months prior to his or her before the appointment, have held public office, either elective or appointive, have been a candidate for elective public office, or have been a lobbyist, as defined by the Political Reform Act of 1974.
(2) Two members who have experience in the business community, one of whom is an executive of a corporation incorporated in this State which that ranks among the largest private sector employers in the State based on the number of employees employed by the corporation in this State and one of whom is an owner of a small business in this State.
(3) Two members, each of whom is an officer or member of a labor organization.
(c) The Governor shall strive insofar as practicable to provide a balanced representation of the geographic, gender, racial, and ethnic diversity of the State in appointing commission members.
(d) The Governor shall appoint commission members and designate a chairperson for the commission not later than 30 days after the effective date of this section. The terms of two of the initial appointees shall expire on December 31, 1992, two on December 31, 1994, and three on December 31, 1996, as determined by the Governor. Thereafter, the term of each member shall be six years. Within 15 days of any vacancy, the Governor shall appoint a person to serve the unexpired portion of the term.
(e) No current or former officer or employee of this State is eligible for appointment to the commission.
(f) Public notice shall be given of all meetings of the commission, and the meetings shall be open to the public.

(g)On or before December 3, 1990, the commission shall, by a single resolution adopted by a majority of the membership of the commission, establish the annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits of state officers. The annual salary and benefits specified in that resolution shall be effective on and after December 3, 1990.

Thereafter, at

(g) (1) On or before the end of each fiscal year, the commission shall, by a resolution adopted by a majority of the membership of the commission, adjust the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits of state officers. The benefits specified in the resolution shall be effective on and after the first Monday of the next December.

Thereafter, at

(2) On or before the end of each fiscal year, the commission shall adjust the annual salary of state officers by a resolution adopted by a majority of the membership of the commission. The annual salary specified in the resolution shall be effective on and after the first Monday of the next December, except that a resolution shall not be adopted or take effect in any year that increases the annual salary of any state officer if, on or before the immediately preceding June 1, the Director of Finance certifies to the commission, based on estimates for the current fiscal year, that there will be a negative balance on June 30 of the current fiscal year in the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties in an amount equal to, or greater than, 1 percent of estimated General Fund revenues.
(h) In establishing or adjusting the annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits, the commission shall consider all of the following:
(1) The amount of time directly or indirectly related to the performance of the duties, functions, and services of a state officer.
(2) The amount of the annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits for other elected and appointed officers and officials in this State with comparable responsibilities, the judiciary, and, to the extent practicable, the private sector, recognizing, however, that state officers do not receive, and do not expect to receive, compensation at the same levels as individuals in the private sector with comparable experience and responsibilities.
(3) The responsibility and scope of authority of the entity in which the state officer serves.
(4) Whether the Director of Finance estimates that there will be a negative balance in the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties in an amount equal to or greater than 1 percent of estimated General Fund revenues in the current fiscal year.
(i) Until a resolution establishing or adjusting the annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits for state officers takes effect, each state officer shall continue to receive the same annual salary and the medical, dental, insurance, and other similar benefits received previously.
(j) All commission members shall receive their actual and necessary expenses, including travel expenses, incurred in the performance of their duties. Each member shall be compensated at the same rate as members, other than the chairperson, of the Fair Political Practices Commission, or its successor, for each day engaged in official duties, not to exceed 45 days per year.
(k) It is the intent of the Legislature that the creation of the commission should not generate new state costs for staff and services. The Department of Personnel Administration, Human Resources, the Board of Administration of the Public Employees’ Retirement System, or other appropriate agencies, or their successors, shall furnish, from existing resources, staff and services to the commission as needed for the performance of its duties.
(l) “State officer,” as used in this section, means the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer, a member of the Public Utilities Commission, a member of the State Board of Equalization, and a Member of the Legislature.

Third—

 That Section 18 of Article IV thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 18.
 (a) The Assembly has the sole power of impeachment. Impeachments shall be tried by the Senate. A person may not be convicted unless, by rollcall vote entered in the journal, two thirds of the membership of the Senate concurs.
(b) State officers elected on a statewide basis, members of the State Board of Equalization, members of the Public Utilities Commission, and judges of state courts are subject to impeachment for misconduct in office. Judgment may extend only to removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the State, but the person convicted or acquitted remains subject to criminal punishment according to law.

Fourth—

 That Section 14 of Article V thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 14.
 (a) To eliminate any appearance of a conflict with the proper discharge of his or her their duties and responsibilities, no a state officer may not knowingly receive any salary, wages, commissions, or other similar earned income from a lobbyist or lobbying firm, as defined by the Political Reform Act of 1974, or from a person who, during the previous 12 months, has been under a contract with the state agency under the jurisdiction of the state officer. The Legislature shall enact laws that define earned income. However, earned income does not include any community property interest in the income of a spouse. Any state officer who knowingly receives any salary, wages, commissions, or other similar earned income from a lobbyist employer, as defined by the Political Reform Act of 1974, may not, for a period of one year following its receipt, vote upon or make, participate in making, or in any way attempt to use his or her the state officer’s official position to influence an action or decision before the agency for which the state officer serves, other than an action or decision involving a bill described in subdivision (c) of Section 12 of Article IV, which he or she the state officer knows, or has reason to know, would have a direct and significant financial impact on the lobbyist employer and would not impact the public generally or a significant segment of the public in a similar manner. As used in this subdivision, “public generally” includes an industry, trade, or profession.
(b) No state officer may accept any honorarium. The Legislature shall enact laws that implement this subdivision.
(c) The Legislature shall enact laws that ban or strictly limit the acceptance of a gift by a state officer from any source if the acceptance of the gift might create a conflict of interest.
(d) No state officer may knowingly accept any compensation for appearing, agreeing to appear, or taking any other action on behalf of another person before any state government board or agency. If a state officer knowingly accepts any compensation for appearing, agreeing to appear, or taking any other action on behalf of another person before any local government board or agency, the state officer may not, for a period of one year following the acceptance of the compensation, make, participate in making, or in any way attempt to use his or her the state officer’s official position to influence an action or decision before the state agency for which the state officer serves, other than an action or decision involving a bill described in subdivision (c) of Section 12 of Article IV, which he or she the state officer knows, or has reason to know, would have a direct and significant financial impact on that person and would not impact the public generally or a significant segment of the public in a similar manner. As used in this subdivision, “public generally” includes an industry, trade, or profession. However, a state officer may engage in activities involving a board or agency which that are strictly on his or her the state officer’s own behalf, appear in the capacity of an attorney before any court or the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, or act as an advocate without compensation or make an inquiry for information on behalf of a person before a board or agency. This subdivision does not prohibit any action of a partnership or firm of which the state officer is a member if the state officer does not share directly or indirectly in the fee, less any expenses attributable to that fee, resulting from that action.
(e) The Legislature shall enact laws that prohibit a state officer, or a secretary of an agency or director of a department appointed by the Governor, who has not resigned or retired from state service prior to January 7, 1991, from lobbying, for compensation, as governed by the Political Reform Act of 1974, before the executive branch of state government for 12 months after leaving office.
(f) “State officer,” as used in this section, means the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Insurance Commissioner, Secretary of State, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Treasurer, a member of the Public Utilities Commission, and a member of the State Board of Equalization.

Fifth—

 That Section 10 of Article VII thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 10.
 (a) (1) No person who is found liable in a civil action for making libelous or slanderous statements against an opposing candidate during the course of an election campaign for any federal, statewide, Public Utilities Commission, Board of Equalization, or legislative office or for any county, city and county, city, district, or any other local elective office shall retain the seat to which he or she the person is elected, where it is established that the libel or slander was a major contributing cause in the defeat of an opposing candidate.

A

(2) A libelous or slanderous statement shall be deemed to have been made by a person within the meaning of this section if that person actually made the statement or if the person actually or constructively assented to, authorized, or ratified the statement.

“Federal

(3) “Federal office,” as used in this section means the office of United States Senator and Member of the House of Representatives; and to the extent that the provisions of this section do not conflict with any provision of federal law, it is intended that candidates seeking the office of United States Senator or Member of the House of Representatives comply with this section.
(b) In order to determine whether libelous or slanderous statements were a major contributing cause in the defeat of an opposing candidate, the trier of fact shall make a separate, distinct finding on that issue. If the trier of fact finds that libel or slander was a major contributing cause in the defeat of an opposing candidate and that the libelous or slanderous statement was made with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or true, the person holding office shall be disqualified from or shall forfeit that office as provided in subdivision (d). The findings required by this section shall be in writing and shall be incorporated as part of the judgment.
(c) In a case where a person is disqualified from holding office or is required to forfeit an office under subdivisions (a) and (b), that disqualification or forfeiture shall create a vacancy in office, which vacancy shall be filled in the manner provided by law for the filling of a vacancy in that particular office.
(d) Once the judgment of liability is entered by the trial court and the time for filing a notice of appeal has expired, or all possibility of direct attack in the courts of this State has been finally exhausted, the person shall be disqualified from or shall forfeit the office involved in that election and shall have no authority to exercise the powers or perform the duties of the office.
(e) This section shall apply to libelous or slanderous statements made on or after the effective date of this section.

Sixth—

 That Section 1 of Article XII thereof is amended to read:

SECTION 1.
 (a) The Public Utilities Commission consists of 5 members appointed by the Governor and approved by the Senate, a majority of the membership concurring, four members.
(b) The State shall be divided into four Public Utility Commission districts, which shall initially be identical to the Board of Equalization districts in effect on January 1, 2019, and be subject to redistricting pursuant to Article XXI, with the voters of each district electing one member.
(c) Members shall be elected for staggered 6-year terms. A four-year terms, with two members elected in each even-numbered year.
(d) A member shall not serve more than two terms.
(e) When a vacancy occurs in the commission, the Governor immediately shall call a special election to fill the vacancy and the vacancy is shall be filled for the remainder of the term. The period of time served pursuant to an election under this subdivision shall not be counted as part of a term for purposes of subdivision (d).
(f) In addition to the power granted by Section 18 of Article IV, the Legislature may remove a member for incompetence, neglect of duty, or corruption, two thirds of the membership of each house concurring.
(g) For purposes of transitioning from five appointed members to four elected members, the following shall occur:
(1) The appointed member with the least time remaining in their term shall be removed from office immediately upon the effective date of this subdivision.
(2) The first two members elected pursuant to subdivision (c) shall replace the remaining two appointed members with the least time remaining in their terms, who shall be removed from office at that time.
(3) The next two members elected pursuant to subdivision (c) shall replace the remaining two appointed members, who shall be removed from office at that time.

Seventh—

 That Section 1 of Article XXI thereof is amended to read:

SECTION 1.
 In the year following the year in which the national census is taken under the direction of Congress at the beginning of each decade, the Citizens Redistricting Commission described in Section 2 shall adjust the boundary lines of the congressional, State Senatorial, Assembly, Public Utilities Commission, and Board of Equalization districts (also known as “redistricting”) in conformance with the standards and process set forth in Section 2.

Eighth—

 That Section 2 of Article XXI thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 2.
 (a) The Citizens Redistricting Commission shall be created no later than December 31 in 2010, and in each year ending in the number zero thereafter.
(b) The commission shall: (1) conduct an open and transparent process enabling full public consideration of and comment on the drawing of district lines; (2) draw district lines according to the redistricting criteria specified in this article; and (3) conduct themselves with integrity and fairness.
(c) (1) The selection process is designed to produce a commission that is independent from legislative influence and reasonably representative of this State’s diversity.
(2) The commission shall consist of 14 members, as follows: five who are registered with the largest political party in California based on registration, five who are registered with the second largest political party in California based on registration, and four who are not registered with either of the two largest political parties in California based on registration.
(3) Each commission member shall be a voter who has been continuously registered in California with the same political party or unaffiliated with a political party and who has not changed political party affiliation for five or more years immediately preceding the date of his or her appointment. Each commission member shall have voted in two of the last three statewide general elections immediately preceding his or her application. application for the commission.
(4) The term of office of each member of the commission expires shall expire upon the appointment of the first member of the succeeding commission.
(5) Nine members of the commission shall constitute a quorum. Nine or more affirmative votes shall be required for any official action. The four five final redistricting maps must be approved by at least nine affirmative votes which must include at least three votes of members registered from each of the two largest political parties in California based on registration and three votes from members who are not registered with either of these two political parties.
(6) Each commission member shall apply this article in a manner that is impartial and that reinforces public confidence in the integrity of the redistricting process. A commission member shall be ineligible for a period of 10 years beginning from the date of appointment to hold elective public office at the federal, state, county, or city level in this State. A member of the commission shall be ineligible for a period of five years beginning from the date of appointment to hold appointive federal, state, or local public office, to serve as paid staff for, or as a paid consultant to, the Public Utilities Commission, the State Board of Equalization, the Congress, the Legislature, or any individual legislator, or to register as a federal, state or local lobbyist in this State.
(d) The commission shall establish single-member districts for the Senate, Assembly, Congress, Public Utilities Commission, and State Board of Equalization pursuant to a mapping process using the following criteria as set forth in the following order of priority:
(1) Districts shall comply with the United States Constitution. Congressional districts shall achieve population equality as nearly as is practicable, and Senatorial, Assembly, Public Utilities Commission, and State Board of Equalization districts shall have reasonably equal population with other districts for the same office, except where deviation is required to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act or allowable by law.
(2) Districts shall comply with the federal Voting Rights Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1971 and following).
(3) Districts shall be geographically contiguous.
(4) The geographic integrity of any city, county, city and county, local neighborhood, or local community of interest shall be respected in a manner that minimizes their division to the extent possible without violating the requirements of any of the preceding subdivisions. A community of interest is a contiguous population which shares common social and economic interests that should be included within a single district for purposes of its effective and fair representation. Examples of such shared interests are those common to an urban area, a rural area, an industrial area, or an agricultural area, and those common to areas in which the people share similar living standards, use the same transportation facilities, have similar work opportunities, or have access to the same media of communication relevant to the election process. Communities of interest shall not include relationships with political parties, incumbents, or political candidates.
(5) To the extent practicable, and where this does not conflict with the criteria above, districts shall be drawn to encourage geographical compactness such that nearby areas of population are not bypassed for more distant population.
(6) To the extent practicable, and where this does not conflict with the criteria above, each Senate district shall be comprised of two whole, complete, and adjacent Assembly districts, and each Public Utilities Commission and State Board of Equalization district shall be comprised of 10 whole, complete, and adjacent Senate districts. The Public Utilities Commission and State Board of Equalization redistricting maps shall be identical.
(e) The place of residence of any incumbent or political candidate shall not be considered in the creation of a map. Districts shall not be drawn for the purpose of favoring or discriminating against an incumbent, political candidate, or political party.
(f) Districts for the Congress, Senate, Assembly, Public Utilities Commission, and State Board of Equalization shall be numbered consecutively commencing at the northern boundary of the State and ending at the southern boundary.
(g) By August 15 in 2011, and in each year ending in the number one thereafter, the commission shall approve four five final maps that separately set forth the district boundary lines for the congressional, Senatorial, Assembly, Public Utilities Commission, and State Board of Equalization districts. Upon approval, the commission shall certify the four five final maps to the Secretary of State.
(h) The commission shall issue, with each of the four five final maps, a report that explains the basis on which the commission made its decisions in achieving compliance with the criteria listed in subdivision (d) and shall include definitions of the terms and standards used in drawing each final map.
(i) Each certified final map shall be subject to referendum in the same manner that a statute is subject to referendum pursuant to Section 9 of Article II. The date of certification of a final map to the Secretary of State shall be deemed the enactment date for purposes of Section 9 of Article II.
(j) If the commission does not approve a final map by at least the requisite votes or if voters disapprove a certified final map in a referendum, the Secretary of State shall immediately petition the California Supreme Court for an order directing the appointment of special masters to adjust the boundary lines of that map in accordance with the redistricting criteria and requirements set forth in subdivisions (d), (e), and (f). Upon its approval of the masters’ map, the court shall certify the resulting map to the Secretary of State, which map shall constitute the certified final map for the subject type of district.