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AB-201 Political Reform Act of 1974: campaign disclosure: text messages.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 08/12/2019 02:00 PM
AB201:v93#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  August 12, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  July 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Senate  June 11, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  May 06, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  April 22, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 14, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 201


Introduced by Assembly Members Cervantes and Mullin

January 14, 2019


An act to amend Section 84502 of, and to add Section 84504.7 to, the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 201, as amended, Cervantes. Political Reform Act of 1974: campaign disclosure: text messages.
The Political Reform Act of 1974 provides for the comprehensive regulation of campaign financing and activities. The act defines “mass mailing” to mean over two hundred substantially similar pieces of mail, and defines “mass electronic mailing” to mean sending more than 200 substantially similar pieces of electronic mail within a calendar month. The act prohibits a candidate or committee from sending a mass mailing or mass electronic mailing unless certain information regarding the source of the mailing is shown in or on the mailing, as specified. The act also regulates political advertisements. The act requires certain advertisements paid for by a committee to include the words “Ad paid for by” in the advertisement. The act requires electronic media advertisements, other than email messages or internet websites, 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, to comply with certain disclosure requirements. The act requires certain committees include a hyperlink to an internet website disclosing, among other things, the committee’s “top contributors,” as defined, in an electronic media advertisement.
This This bill would authorize a committee to instead include the words “Paid for by” or “With” in an advertisement that is a text message. The bill would require a candidate or committee other than a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate to include in certain text message advertisements the text “Paid for by” or “With” followed by or including either the name of the committee or a hyperlink or URL for an internet website containing certain disclosures. disclosures, as specified. The bill would require a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate to disclose the name of the candidate and the office sought in those text messages. The bill would require a committee with top contributors, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, to include the text “Top funders:” followed by the names of the top two contributors of $50,000 or more to the committee paying for the advertisement, as specified, unless including this disclosure would be impracticable or severely interfere with the candidate or committee’s ability to convey the intended message. message or the text message is sent by an individual who is an unpaid volunteer with the assistance of mass distribution technology. The bill would prescribe certain requirements for the color and size of the text in the text message and the disclosures on the internet website.
Because a violation of the requirements of the bill would be a crime under an existing provision of the act, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program by expanding the definition of a crime.
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 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.
(D) A text message advertisement that is required to include a disclosure pursuant to Section 84504.7.
(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 website, text message, or email message, the text described in subdivisions (a) and (b) may include the words “Paid for by” instead of “Ad paid for by.”
(d) Notwithstanding subdivisions (a) and (b), if an advertisement is a text message, the text described in subdivisions (a) and (b) may include the words “Paid for by” or “With” instead of “Ad paid for by.”

SEC. 2.

 Section 84504.7 is added to the Government Code, to read:

84504.7.
 (a) A candidate or committee shall not authorize or pay for an advertisement that is a text message, unless the disclosures described in subdivision (b) are made, if the text message meets one of the following conditions:
(1) The text message supports or opposes a candidate.
(2) The text message supports or opposes a ballot measure.
(b) (1) A candidate or committee A committee, other than a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, subject to subdivision (a) shall include the text “Paid for by” or “With” followed by or including either the name of the committee, or a hyperlink or Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for an internet website containing the disclosures required by Sections 84502, 84503, and 84506.5. The text of the disclosures on the internet website shall be in a color that reasonably contrasts with the background on which it appears and in no less than eight-point font.
(2) A candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate subject to subdivision (a) shall include the text “Paid for by” or “With” followed by the first and last name of the candidate, followed by the word “For,” and followed by the name of the elective office sought.
(A) The name of the elective office sought may use shorthand in common usage or parlance. For example, “School Board” may be used for “Unified School District Board,” “Trustee” may be used for “Community College Board of Trustees,” “Assembly” may be used for “State Assembly,” “Senate” may be used for “State Senate,” “Supervisor” may be used for “Board of Supervisors,” “State Treasurer” may be used for “California State Treasurer,” and “Governor” may be used for “Governor of California.”
(B) For elective offices that are elected by district, neither the word “District” nor the number of the specific district is required.
(C) The name of the place in which the elective office sought is located is not required, and if included, may be spelled using acronyms, abbreviations, or other shorthand in common parlance. For example, “City Council” may be used for “Los Angeles City Council,” “SF” may be used for “San Francisco,” and “Sac” may be used for “Sacramento.”

(2)

(3) In addition to the name of the committee or the hyperlink or URL required by paragraph (1), a committee subject to subdivision (a) that has top contributors, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elective office of the controlling candidate, shall comply with the following:
(A) Immediately following the name of the committee or the hyperlink or URL required by paragraph (1), the text message shall also include the text “Top funders:” followed by the names of the top two contributors of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or more to the committee paying for the advertisement, separated by “&” or “and.”
(B) The names of the top two contributors may be spelled using acronyms, abbreviations, or other shorthand in common usage or parlance. For example, “USA” may be used for “United States of America,” “CA” may be used for “California,” and “Assoc.” may be used for “Association.” If a top contributor is an individual, their first and last name shall both be used.

(3)

(4) If, because of the nature of the technology used to send the text message, the text required by paragraph (2) would be impracticable or would severely interfere with the candidate or committee’s (3) would be impracticable or would severely interfere with the committee’s ability to convey the intended message, the candidate or committee shall instead include only the name of the committee or the hyperlink or URL required by paragraph (1).

(4)The text “Paid for by” and the hyperlink or URL required by paragraph (1), and the text “Top funders:” and the names of top contributors required by paragraph (2), shall be in a color that reasonably contrasts with the background on which it appears and in a size that is readable by the average viewer.

(5) The text required to be included in a text message sent pursuant to this subdivision shall be in a color that reasonably contrasts with the background on which it appears and in a font size that is readable by the average viewer.
(c) (1) This section does not apply to a text message that is individually sent without the assistance of mass distribution technology, including a text messaging platform, if either of the following conditions is met:
(1)The the text message is sent by the candidate, the campaign manager, paid campaign staff, or individuals who are unpaid volunteers.
(2) The text message is sent in response to a voter who replies to a text message from a candidate or committee. If a committee, other than a political party committee or a candidate controlled committee established for an elected office of the controlling candidate, subject to subdivision (a) that has top contributors uses individuals who are unpaid volunteers to send text messages with the assistance of mass distribution technology, including a text message platform, the text messages sent by individuals who are unpaid volunteers are not required to disclose the top two contributors pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (b).
(d) An internet website that is hyperlinked as provided for in this section 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 on.
(e) (1) If an exchange consists of a sequence of multiple text messages sent on the same day, a candidate or committee shall be deemed in compliance with this section if the candidate or committee sends the disclosures required by subdivision (b) with the first text message in the sequence that meets one of the conditions of subdivision (a).
(2) A candidate or committee shall be deemed in compliance with this section if the disclosures required by subdivision (b) are included in the text message in the form the candidate or committee intended it to be sent, regardless of the form the carrier relayed it to the recipient.
(3) A candidate or committee shall be deemed in compliance with paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) if the required hyperlink or URL is included in the text message, even if the recipient’s device is incapable of accessing the corresponding internet website.If a committee includes a hyperlink or URL in the text message sent pursuant to subdivision (b), the committee shall be deemed to be in compliance with subdivision (b) even if the recipient’s device is incapable of accessing the corresponding internet website.

SEC. 3.

 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. 4.

 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.