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AB-2155 Political Reform Act of 1974: campaign disclosures.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 05/01/2018 10:00 AM
AB2155:v96#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 30, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 05, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 20, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2155


Introduced by Assembly Member Mullin

February 12, 2018


An act to amend Section 84305, Sections 84501, 84502, 84504.1, 84504.2, and 84504.3 of the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2155, as amended, Mullin. Political Reform Act of 1974: campaign disclosures.

(1)Existing law, the Political Reform Act of 1974, provides for the comprehensive regulation of campaign financing and activities. The act prohibits a candidate, candidate controlled committee established for an elective office for the controlling candidate, or political party committee from sending a mass mailing or a mass electronic mailing unless the mass mailing or mass electronic mailing discloses specified information, such as words indicating that the mass electronic mailing is paid for by the committee sending the mailing. Existing law defines “mass electronic mailing” to mean sending more than 200 substantially similar pieces of electronic mail within a calendar month.

This bill would instead define mass electronic mailing to mean sending more than 50 substantially similar pieces of electronic mail within a calendar month. The bill would define “mass mailing” to mean sending more than 50 substantially similar pieces of mail within a calendar month.

(2)

(1) Existing law, the Political Reform Act of 1974, provides for the comprehensive regulation of campaign financing and activities. Existing law under the act requires advertisements to include prescribed disclosure statements, and defines an advertisement for these purposes. Existing law excludes a number of communications from the definition of advertisement, such as a communication from an organization, other than a political party, to its members. Existing law specifies the formatting of these disclosures for advertisements that are disseminated as a video, print advertisements, and electronic media advertisements.
This bill would exclude additional types of communications from the definition of advertisement, including certain electronic media communications requested by the recipient, communications solicited by the recipient, personal communications that do not use campaign resources from a member of the organization to persons he or she personally knows, or communications for which inclusion of disclosures would be impracticable or severely interfere with the committee’s ability to convey the intended message, as determined by regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission. The bill would make specified changes to the formatting requirements for disclosures included in advertisements that are disseminated as a video, print advertisements, and electronic media advertisements. The bill would exclude email messages from the disclosure and disclosure formatting requirements applicable to electronic media, except for requirements relating to the size, placement, and color of specified disclosures.

(3)

(2) Existing law under the act requires certain advertisements paid for by committees to disclose that it is paid for by the committee, by including in the advertisement the words “Paid for by,” followed the name of the committee, as specified.
This bill would require those advertisements to instead use the words “Ad paid for by,” but would continue to allow an advertisement that is a printed letter, Internet Web site, or email message to use the words “Paid for by.”
Because a violation of the act is punishable as a misdemeanor, 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 no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
The Political Reform Act of 1974, an initiative measure, provides that the Legislature may amend the act to further the act’s purposes upon a 2/3 vote of each house of the Legislature and compliance with specified procedural requirements.
This bill would declare that it furthers the purposes of the act.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.Section 84305 of the Government Code is amended to read:
84305.

(a)(1)Except as provided in subdivision (b), a candidate, candidate controlled committee established for an elective office for the controlling candidate, or political party committee shall not send a mass mailing unless the name, street address, and city of the candidate or committee are shown on the outside of each piece of mail in the mass mailing and on at least one of the inserts included within each piece of mail of the mailing in no less than 6-point type that is in a color or print that contrasts with the background so as to be easily legible. A post office box may be stated in lieu of a street address if the candidate’s, candidate controlled committee established for an elective office for the controlling candidate’s, or political party committee’s address is a matter of public record with the Secretary of State.

(2)Except as provided in subdivision (b), a committee, other than a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office for the controlling candidate or a political party committee, shall not send a mass mailing that is not required to include a disclosure pursuant to Section 84502 unless the name, street address, and city of the committee is shown on the outside of each piece of mail in the mass mailing and on at least one of the inserts included within each piece of mail of the mailing in no less than 6-point type that is in a color or print that contrasts with the background so as to be easily legible. A post office box may be stated in lieu of a street address if the committee’s address is a matter of public record with the Secretary of State.

(b)If the sender of the mass mailing is a single candidate or committee, the name, street address, and city of the candidate or committee need only be shown on the outside of each piece of mail.

(c)(1)A candidate, candidate controlled committee established for an elective office for the controlling candidate, or political party committee shall not send a mass electronic mailing unless the name of the candidate or committee is shown in the electronic mailing preceded by the words “Paid for by” in at least the same size font as a majority of the text in the electronic mailing.

(2)A committee, other than a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office for the controlling candidate or a political party committee, shall not send a mass electronic mailing that is not required to include a disclosure pursuant to Section 85402 or 85404.3 unless the name of the committee is shown in the electronic mailing preceded by the words “Paid for by” in at least the same size font as a majority of the text in the electronic mailing.

(d)If the sender of a mass mailing is a controlled committee, the name of the person controlling the committee shall be included in addition to the information required by subdivision (a).

(e)For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meaning:

(1)“Mass mailing” means sending more than fifty substantially similar pieces of mail within a calendar month.

(2)“Mass electronic mailing” means sending more than fifty substantially similar pieces of electronic mail within a calendar month.

(3)“Sender” means the candidate, candidate controlled committee established for an elective office for the controlling candidate, or political party committee who pays for the largest portion of expenditures attributable to the designing, printing, and posting of the mailing which are reportable pursuant to Sections 84200 to 84217, inclusive.

(4)To “pay for” a share of the cost of a mass mailing means to make, to promise to make, or to incur an obligation to make, any payment: (A) to any person for the design, printing, postage, materials, or other costs of the mailing, including salaries, fees, or commissions, or (B) as a fee or other consideration for an endorsement or, in the case of a ballot measure, support or opposition, in the mailing.

(f)This section does not apply to a mass mailing or mass electronic mailing that is paid for by an independent expenditure.

SEC. 2.SECTION 1.

 Section 84501 of the Government Code is amended to read:

84501.
 For purposes of this article, the following definitions apply:
(a) (1) “Advertisement” means any general or public communication that is authorized and paid for by a committee for the purpose of supporting or opposing a candidate or candidates for elective office or a ballot measure or ballot measures.
(2) “Advertisement” does not include any of the following:
(A) A communication from an organization, other than a political party, to its members.
(B) An electronic media communication addressed to recipients, such as email messages or text messages, from an organization, other than a political party, to its supporters organization to persons who have opted in or asked to receive messages from the organization.
(C) Any communication that was solicited by the recipient, including, but not limited to, acknowledgments for contributions or information that the recipient communicated to the organization.

(D)Any communication from a member of the organization to up to 50 other persons that the member personally knows, if the member does not use the campaign’s resources for the communication.

(E)

(D) A campaign button smaller than 10 inches in diameter; a bumper sticker smaller than 60 square inches; or a small tangible promotional item, such as a pen, pin, or key chain, upon which the disclosure required cannot be conveniently printed or displayed.

(F)

(E) Wearing apparel.

(G)

(F) Sky writing.

(H)

(G) An electronic media communication for which inclusion of the disclosures required by Section 84502, 84503, or 84506.5, is impracticable or would severely interfere with the committee’s ability to convey the intended message because of the nature of the technology used to make the communication.

(I)

(H) Any other type of communication, as determined by regulations of the Commission, for which inclusion of the disclosures required by Section 84502, 84503, or 84506.5 is impracticable or would severely interfere with the committee’s ability to convey the intended message due to the nature of the technology used to make the communication. The Commission shall not change or insert any quantity thresholds set forth in this chapter.
(b) “Cumulative contributions” means the cumulative amount of contributions received by a committee beginning 12 months before the date of the expenditure and ending seven days before the time the advertisement is sent to the printer or broadcaster.
(c) (1) “Top contributors” means the persons from whom the committee paying for an advertisement has received its three highest cumulative contributions of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more.
(2) If two or more contributors of identical amounts qualify as top contributors, the most recent contributor of that amount shall be listed as the top contributor in any disclosure required by Section 84503.
(3) If a committee primarily formed to support or oppose a state candidate or ballot measure contributes funds to another committee primarily formed to support or oppose the same state candidate or ballot measure and the funds used for the contribution were earmarked to support or oppose that candidate or ballot measure, the committee receiving the earmarked contribution shall disclose the contributors who earmarked their funds as the top contributor or contributors on the advertisement if the definition of top contributor provided for in paragraph (1) is otherwise met. If the committee receiving the earmarked contribution contributes any portion of the contribution to another committee primarily formed to support or oppose the specifically identified ballot measure or candidate, that committee shall disclose the true source of the contribution to the new committee receiving the earmarked funds. The new committee shall disclose the contributor on the new committee’s advertisements if the definition of top contributor provided for in paragraph (1) is otherwise met.
(A) The primarily formed committee making the earmarked contribution shall provide the primarily formed committee receiving the earmarked contribution with the name and address of the contributor or contributors who earmarked their funds and the amount of the earmarked contribution from each contributor at the time the contribution is made. If the committee making the contribution received earmarked contributions that exceed the amount contributed or received contributions that were not earmarked, the committee making the contribution shall use a reasonable accounting method to determine which top contributors to identify pursuant to this subparagraph, but in no case shall the same contribution be disclosed more than one time to avoid disclosure of additional contributors who earmarked their funds.
(B) The committee receiving the earmarked contribution may rely on the information provided pursuant to subparagraph (A) for purposes of complying with the disclosure required by Section 84503 and shall be considered in compliance with Section 84503 if the information provided pursuant to subparagraph (A) is disclosed as otherwise required.
(C) For purposes of this paragraph, funds are considered “earmarked” if any of the circumstances described in subdivision (b) of Section 85704 apply.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 Section 84502 of the Government Code is amended to read:

84502.
 (a) (1) Any advertisement paid for by a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall include the words “Ad 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.
(2) Any advertisement paid for by a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013 that is a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate shall include the words “Ad 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 if the advertisement is any of the following:
(A) Paid for by an independent expenditure.
(B) An advertisement supporting or opposing a ballot measure.
(C) A radio or television advertisement.
(b) Any advertisement paid for by a committee pursuant to subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 82013 shall include the words “Ad paid for by” followed by the name that the filer is required to use on campaign statements pursuant to subdivision (o) of Section 84211.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), if an advertisement is a printed letter, Internet Web site, or email message, the text described in subdivisions (a) and (b) may include the words “Paid for by” instead of “Ad paid for by.”

SEC. 4.SEC. 3.

 Section 84504.1 of the Government Code is amended to read:

84504.1.
 (a) An advertisement paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, that is disseminated as a video, including advertisements on television and videos disseminated over the Internet, shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502 and 84503 at the beginning or end of the advertisement.
(b) The disclosure required by subdivision (a) shall be written and displayed for at least five seconds of a broadcast of 30 seconds or less or for at least 10 seconds of a broadcast that lasts longer than 30 seconds.
(1) The written disclosure required by subdivision (a) shall appear on a solid black background on the entire bottom one-third of the television or video display screen, or bottom one-fourth of the screen if the committee does not have or is otherwise not required to list top contributors, and shall be in a contrasting color in Arial equivalent type, and the type size for the smallest letters in the written disclosure shall be 4 percent of the height of the television or video display screen. The top contributors, if any, shall each be disclosed on a separate horizontal line separate from any other text, in descending order, beginning with the top contributor who made the largest cumulative contributions on the first line. All disclosure text shall be centered horizontally in the disclosure area. If there are any top contributors, the written disclosures shall be underlined, except for the names of the top contributors, if any.
(2) If using a type size of 4 percent of the height of the television or video display screen causes the name of any of the top contributors to exceed the width of the screen or causes the disclosures to exceed one-third of the television or video display screen, the type size of the name of the top contributor shall be reduced until the top contributor’s name fits on the width of the screen or the entire disclosure fits within one-third of the television or video display screen, but in no case shall the type size be smaller than 2.5 percent of the height of the screen.
(c) An advertisement that is an independent expenditure supporting or opposing a candidate shall include the appropriate statement from Section 84506.5 in the solid black background described in paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) below all other text required to appear in that area in a contrasting color and in Arial equivalent type no less than 2.5 percent of the height of the television or video display screen.

SEC. 5.SEC. 4.

 Section 84504.2 of the Government Code is amended to read:

84504.2.
 (a) A print advertisement paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5, displayed as follows:
(1) The disclosure area shall have a solid white background and shall be in a printed or drawn box on the bottom of at least one page that is set apart from any other printed matter. All text in the disclosure area shall be in contrasting color and centered horizontally in the disclosure area.
(2) The text shall be in an Arial equivalent type with a type size of at least 10-point for printed advertisements designed to be individually distributed, including, but not limited to, mailers, flyers, and door hangers.
(3) The top of the disclosure area shall include the disclosure required by Section 84502 and Section 84503. Sections 84502 and 84503. The text of the disclosure shall be underlined if there are any top contributors.
(4) The top contributors, if any, shall each be disclosed on a separate horizontal line separate from any other text, in descending order, beginning with the top contributor who made the largest cumulative contributions on the first line. The name of each of the top contributors shall be centered horizontally in the disclosure area and shall not be underlined.
(5) A committee subject to Section 84506.5 shall include the disclosure required by Section 84506.5, which shall be underlined and on a separate line below any of the top contributors.
(6) A committee subject to Section 84223 shall next include the text “Funding Details At [insert Commission Internet Web site],” which shall be underlined and printed on a line separate from any other text.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraphs (2) and (4) of subdivision (a), the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 on a printed advertisement that is larger than those designed to be individually distributed, including, but not limited to, yard signs or billboards, shall be in Arial equivalent type with a total height of at least five 5 percent of the height of the advertisement, and printed on a solid background with sufficient contrast that is easily readable by the average viewer. The text may be adjusted so it does not appear on separate horizontal lines, with the top contributors separated by a comma.
(c) Notwithstanding the definition of “top contributors” in paragraph (1) of subdivision (c) of Section 84501, newspaper, magazine, or other public print advertisements that are 20 square inches or less shall be required to disclose only the single top contributor of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more.

SEC. 6.SEC. 5.

 Section 84504.3 of the Government Code is amended to read:

84504.3.
 (a) An electronic media advertisement, other than an email message or Internet Web site, paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall comply with both of the following:
(1) Include the text “Who funded this ad?” in a contrasting color and a font size that is easily readable by the average viewer.
(2) Such text shall be a hyperlink to an Internet Web site containing the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 in a contrasting color and in no less than 8 point 8-point font.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the text required by paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) is not required if including the language would be impracticable. In such circumstances the advertisement need only include a hyperlink to an Internet Web site containing the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), an email message or Internet Web site paid for by a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall include the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5, printed clearly and legibly in a contrasting color and in no less than 8 point 8-point font at the top or bottom of the email message and every publicly accessible page of the Internet Web site.
(d) An Internet Web site that is hyperlinked as provided for in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) shall remain online and available to the public until 30 days after the date of the election in which the candidate or ballot measure supported or opposed by the advertisement was voted upon.
(e) An advertisement made via a form of electronic media that is audio only and therefore cannot include either of the disclaimers in subdivision (a) shall comply with the disclaimer requirements for radio advertisements in Section 84504.
(f) An advertisement made via a form of electronic media that allows users to engage in discourse and post content, or any other type of social media, shall only be required to include the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5 in a contrasting color and in no less than 8 point 8-point font on the committee’s profile, landing page, or similar location and shall not be required to include the disclaimer required by subdivision (a) on each individual post, comment, or other similar communication.
(g) The disclaimer required by this section does not apply to advertisements made via social media for which the only expense or cost of the communication is compensated staff time unless the social media account where the content is posted was created only for the purpose of advertisements governed by this title.

SEC. 7.SEC. 6.

 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.

SEC. 8.SEC. 7.

 The Legislature finds and declares that this bill furthers the purposes of the Political Reform Act of 1974 within the meaning of subdivision (a) of Section 81012 of the Government Code.