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AB-2284 Special elections to fill vacancies.(2015-2016)

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AB2284:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 06, 2016
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 28, 2016

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2015–2016 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 2284


Introduced by Assembly Member Patterson

February 18, 2016


An act to add Section 10708 to the Elections Code, and to amend Sections 89510 and 89519 of the Government Code, relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2284, as amended, Patterson. Special elections to fill vacancies.
The California Constitution requires the Governor to immediately call an election to fill a vacancy in the Legislature. Existing law provides specific procedures for the nomination and election of candidates at any special election to fill a vacancy in the office of State Senator or Member of the Assembly.
Exiting law, the Political Reform Act of 1974, provides that contributions deposited into a campaign account are deemed to be held in trust for expenses associated with the election of a candidate or for expenses associated with holding office. The act provides that campaign funds under the control of a former candidate or elected officer are considered surplus campaign funds at a prescribed time, and it prohibits the use of surplus campaign funds except for specified purposes.
This bill would prohibit a State Senator or Member of the Assembly who decides to resign from office before the expiration of his or her term from subsequently using campaign funds held in trust for any purpose other than paying outstanding campaign debts or reasonable expenses. The bill would amend the list of specified purposes allowable for the use of surplus campaign funds to include the payment of expenses to hold a special election to fill the vacancy created by the Member’s resignation and would require the former Member to pay from his or her surplus campaign funds such election-related expenses, to the extent he or she has funds available to do so. Once election-related expenses are paid, this bill would limit the use of excess surplus funds to charitable certain purposes.
This bill would further make a Member who, after deciding to resign, uses campaign funds for purposes other than those authorized in that circumstance personally liable for expenses to hold a special election.
A violation of the provisions of the Political Reform Act of 1974 is punishable as a misdemeanor. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, 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 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 10708 is added to the Elections Code, to read:

10708.
 (a) A State Senator or Member of the Assembly who resigns from office before the expiration of his or her term shall reimburse from his or her surplus campaign funds the county or counties that hold a special election pursuant to this chapter to fill the vacancy for any expenses authorized and necessarily incurred in the preparation for, and conduct of, the special election.
(b) Expenses for which reimbursement is required pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be paid from the former officeholder’s surplus campaign funds, as defined by Section 89519 of the Government Code, to the extent he or she has funds available to do so; however, if a former officeholder violates subdivision (c) of Section 89510 of the Government Code, he or she shall be personally liable for those expenses to the extent he or she lacks sufficient surplus campaign funds to pay them.
(c) If the legislative district encompasses more than one county, the surplus campaign funds shall be prorated among the counties conducting the special election in proportion to the percentage of the district each county composes.

SEC. 2.

 Section 89510 of the Government Code is amended to read:

89510.
 (a) A candidate for elective state office may only accept contributions within the limits provided in Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 85100).
(b) All contributions deposited into the campaign account shall be deemed to be held in trust for expenses associated with the election of the candidate or for expenses associated with holding office.
(c) If a State Senator or Member of the Assembly decides to resign from office before the expiration of his or her term, he or she subsequently shall only use funds held pursuant to this section to pay outstanding campaign debts or reasonable expenses. Funds held pursuant to this section are subject to Section 89519 to the extent they become surplus funds.
(d) There is a rebuttable presumption that a State Senator or Member of the Assembly who resigns resigned decided to do so six months before he or she vacated office. The presumption may be rebutted by objective evidence, such as evidence indicating that the former officeholder initiated or responded to an offer of employment on a particular date, that the State Senator or Member of the Assembly decided to resign greater than or less than six months before he or she vacated office.

SEC. 3.

 Section 89519 of the Government Code is amended to read:

89519.
 (a) Upon the 90th day after leaving an elective office, or the 90th day following the end of the postelection reporting period following the defeat of a candidate for elective office, whichever occurs last, campaign funds under the control of the former candidate or elected officer shall be considered surplus campaign funds and shall be disclosed pursuant to Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 84100).
(b) Surplus campaign funds shall be used only for the following purposes:
(1) The payment of outstanding campaign debts or elected officer’s expenses.
(2) The repayment of contributions.
(3) Donations to a bona fide charitable, educational, civic, religious, or similar tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, where no substantial part of the proceeds will have a material financial effect on the former candidate or elected officer, any member of his or her immediate family, or his or her campaign treasurer.
(4) Contributions to a political party committee, provided the campaign funds are not used to support or oppose candidates for elective office. However, the campaign funds may be used by a political party committee to conduct partisan voter registration, partisan get-out-the-vote activities, and slate mailers as that term is defined in Section 82048.3.
(5) Contributions to support or oppose a candidate for federal office, a candidate for elective office in a state other than California, or a ballot measure.
(6) The payment for professional services reasonably required by the committee to assist in the performance of its administrative functions, including payment for attorney’s fees and other costs for litigation that arises directly out of a candidate’s or elected officer’s activities, duties, or status as a candidate or elected officer, including an action to enjoin defamation, defense of an action brought for a violation of state or local campaign, disclosure, or election laws, and an action from an election contest or recount.
(7) The payment of expenses authorized and necessarily incurred in the preparation for, and conduct of, a special election, as required by Section 10708 of the Elections Code. Surplus campaign funds shall be applied to these costs before being used for any other purpose, and any funds remaining after payment of these costs shall be used only for the purposes described in paragraph (3) of this subdivision.
(c) A former officeholder subject to Section 10708 of the Elections Code may only use surplus funds for the purposes described in paragraphs (1) and (7) of subdivision (b) of this section. Once the costs identified in paragraph (7) of subdivision (b) are paid in full, a former officeholder may also use surplus funds for the purposes described in paragraph (3) of subdivision (b).
(d) For purposes of this section, the payment for, or the reimbursement to the state of, the costs of installing and monitoring an electronic security system in the home or office, or both, of a candidate or elected officer who has received threats to his or her physical safety shall be deemed an outstanding campaign debt or elected officer’s expense, provided that the threats arise from his or her activities, duties, or status as a candidate or elected officer and that the threats have been reported to and verified by an appropriate law enforcement agency. Verification shall be determined solely by the law enforcement agency to which the threat was reported. The candidate or elected officer shall report an expenditure of campaign funds made pursuant to this section to the Commission. The report to the Commission shall include the date that the candidate or elected officer informed the law enforcement agency of the threat, the name and the telephone number of the law enforcement agency, and a brief description of the threat. No more than five thousand dollars ($5,000) in surplus campaign funds may be used, cumulatively, by a candidate or elected officer pursuant to this subdivision. Payments made pursuant to this subdivision shall be made during the two years immediately following the date upon which the campaign funds become surplus campaign funds. The candidate or elected officer shall reimburse the surplus fund account for the fair market value of the security system no later than two years immediately following the date upon which the campaign funds became surplus campaign funds. The campaign funds become surplus campaign funds upon sale of the property on which the system is installed, or prior to the closing of the surplus campaign fund account, whichever comes first. The electronic security system shall be the property of the campaign committee of the candidate or elected officer.

SEC. 4.

 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. 5.

 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.