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SB-651 Initiative, referendum, and recall petitions: disclosures.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 07/05/2017 09:00 PM
SB651:v97#DOCUMENT

Revised  July 13, 2017
Amended  IN  Assembly  July 05, 2017
Amended  IN  Senate  March 27, 2017

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill No. 651


Introduced by Senator Allen
(Coauthor: Assembly Member Mullin)

February 17, 2017


An act to add Sections 336.8, 9009.6, 9009.7, 336.8 and 9011.5 to the Elections Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 651, as amended, Allen. Initiative, referendum, and recall petitions: circulators. 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.
Existing law requires that an initiative petition contain specified language advising the public of its right to determine whether the person circulating the petition is a paid signature gatherer or a volunteer. Existing law prescribes other requirements regarding the form, content, and presentation of initiative and referendum petitions.
This bill would require that a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition that requires voter signatures and is paid for by a committee, as specified, to include a disclosure statement that identifies the name of the committee, any top contributors, as defined, and the date the top contributors to the committee were calculated. The bill would require that the disclosure be updated within 14 days of any change in the identities of the top contributors. The bill would require a committee that employs one or more paid circulators, as defined, to ensure that the paid circulators use petitions with the updated disclosure within 21 days. The bill would additionally require the committee to submit the disclosure statement and any updates to the Secretary of State for posting on the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site.

This bill would additionally require a statewide initiative, referendum, or recall petition to include a disclosure, as specified, notifying the public that the petition circulator is receiving money or other valuable consideration for the specific purpose of soliciting signatures of electors, or is a volunteer or employee of a nonprofit organization.

The bill would require that a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition circulated by a paid circulator, as defined, who is paid by a committee, as specified, to include a disclosure statement identifying the persons from whom the committee received the 3 largest cumulative contributions of $50,000 or more in support of the measure and the name of their employer if 2 or more of these contributors have the same employer. The bill would require this disclosure statement to be updated within 14 days of any change in the 3 largest cumulative contributors. The bill would require a committee that employs one or more paid circulators for the purpose of circulating the petition to submit the disclosure statement and any updates to the Secretary of State for posting on his or her Internet Web site.

Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 336.8 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

336.8.
 “Paid circulator,” for the purpose of circulating an initiative, referendum, or recall petition, means a person who is compensated in any manner for collecting petition signatures to qualify a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall measure.

SEC. 2.Section 9009.6 is added to the Elections Code, to read:
9009.6.

Notwithstanding any other law, a petition for a proposed initiative measure that is circulated by a person who receives money or other valuable consideration for the specific purpose of soliciting signatures of electors, shall include the following statement immediately prior to the portion of the petition for voters’ signatures, printed names, and residence addresses, printed in 12-point boldface type:

“NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC: THIS PETITION IS BEING CIRCULATED BY A PERSON PAID TO OBTAIN YOUR SIGNATURE. YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO READ THE CONTENTS OF THIS PETITION BEFORE SIGNING.”


SEC. 3.Section 9009.7 is added to the Elections Code, to read:
9009.7.

Notwithstanding any other law, a petition for a proposed initiative measure that is circulated by a person who does not receive money or other valuable consideration for the specific purpose of soliciting signatures of electors shall include the following statement immediately prior to the portion of the petition for voters’ signatures, printed names, and residence addresses, printed in 12-point boldface type:

“NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC: THIS PETITION IS BEING CIRCULATED BY A VOLUNTEER OR AN EMPLOYEE OF A NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION. YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO READ THE CONTENTS OF THIS PETITION BEFORE SIGNING.”


SEC. 4.SEC. 2.

 Section 9011.5 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

9011.5.
 (a) (1)Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition that requires voter signatures and is circulated by a paid circulator who is paid paid for by a committee formed pursuant to Section 82013 of the Government Code shall include, in 12-point type at the top of the petition, a disclosure statement that identifies the names of the persons from whom the committee received the three largest cumulative contributions of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more. Each contributor shall be identified on separate lines on the disclosure statement. include a disclosure statement that is displayed as follows:
(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 “Paid for by”, followed by the name of the committee. If the committee has any top contributors, it shall be followed by the text “Committee major funding from:”. The text specified in this paragraph shall be underlined.
(3) The top contributors, if any, shall each be disclosed on a separate horizontal line, in descending order, beginning with the top contributor who made the largest cumulative contributions on the first line.
(4) The following line shall include the text “Updated”, followed by the date the top contributors were calculated, followed by the text “Latest top contributors at www.fppc.ca.gov”. The text specified in this paragraph shall be underlined.
(5) The committee, in its discretion, may include the underlined text “Endorsed by:”, followed by a list, not underlined, of up to three endorsing individuals, corporations, or non-profit organizations that have been in existence for at least six months and receive contributions from 100 or more persons.
(6) The disclosure of a top contributor 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 name in common usage or parlance.
(7) If this section requires the disclosure of the name of a top contributor that is a committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013 and is a sponsored committee pursuant to Section 82048.7 with a single sponsor, only the name of the single sponsoring organization shall be disclosed.
(b) The disclosure statement required by subdivision (a) shall be updated within fourteen days of any change in the identities of the top contributors, unless the change is only a change in their order. A committee that employs one or more paid circulators shall ensure that their paid circulators use petitions with the updated disclosure within 21 days.

(2)If more than three persons meet the disclosure threshold described in paragraph (1) and have made identical cumulative contributions, the three persons making the largest cumulative contributions shall be disclosed according to chronological sequence of receipt of the cumulative contributions.

(3)The disclosure statement required by paragraph (1) shall be updated within fourteen days of any change in the identities of three largest cumulative contributors. The updated statement shall include at the bottom of the page the following: “Current as of [Date]. For the latest contribution totals, go to www.fppc.ca.gov/initiatives.”

(4)

(c) A committee that employs one or more paid circulators to circulate a state initiative, referendum, or recall petition shall submit the disclosure statement required by paragraph (1), subdivision (a), and any updates to that statement as required by paragraph (3), subdivision (b), to the Secretary of State, who shall post that statement on his or her the Secretary of State’s Internet Web site.

(b)A committee that employs one or more paid circulators to circulate an initiative, referendum, or recall petition shall print on the petition, immediately following the disclosure statement required pursuant to subdivision (a), its name and shall identify itself using a name or phrase that clearly describes the economic or other special interest of each person who contributed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more. If two or more of these persons have the same employer, the committee shall also include the employer’s identity in the disclosure statement.

(c)

(d) As used in this section, “cumulative contributions” means the cumulative amount of contributions received by a committee beginning 12 months prior to the date the committee made its first expenditure to qualify or support the measure. Cumulative contributions totaling more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) shall be rounded to the nearest ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
(e) (1) As used in this section, “top contributors” means the persons from whom the committee paying for the petition has received its three highest cumulative contributions of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more.
(2) If there is a tie between two or more contributors for the third highest cumulative contributions, then ties between top contributors shall be decided by chronological order starting with the first contributions.

(d)

(f) This section shall not be construed to require a local elections official to verify the accuracy of the information required by subdivision (a) or (b) or to reapprove the petition upon the update required by paragraph (3) of subdivision (a). (b).

(e)

(g) Signatures collected on an initiative, referendum, or recall petition are not invalid solely because the information required by subdivision (a) or (b) was absent or inaccurate.

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REVISIONS:
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