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AB-871 Political Reform Act of 1974: contribution prohibitions.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/08/2021 09:00 PM
AB871:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 08, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 871


Introduced by Assembly Member Kiley

February 17, 2021


An act to add Section 85322 to the Government Code, relating to the Political Reform Act of 1974.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 871, as amended, Kiley. Political Reform Act of 1974: contribution prohibitions.
The Political Reform Act of 1974 imposes various limitations on contributions that may be made to, or accepted by, candidates for elective office. The act generally prohibits a person from making a contribution totaling more than $3,000 to a candidate for elective state office, and a candidate for elective state office from accepting a contribution totaling more than $3,000, except as specified. A violation of the act’s provisions is punishable as a misdemeanor and subject to specified penalties.
This bill would prohibit an investor-owned utility an electrical corporation or a gas corporation, as defined, from making a contribution to a candidate for elective state office. The bill would also prohibit a candidate for elective state office from accepting a contribution from an investor-owned utility. electrical corporation or a gas corporation. The bill would clarify that it does not prohibit the making or acceptance of an independent expenditure or a contribution to a political party or political party committee, a legal defense fund, an officeholder account, a small contributor committee, a political action committee, or a candidate controlled ballot measure committee, except as otherwise prohibited by law. By expanding the scope of existing crimes with regard to contribution limitations, 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.

 The Legislature finds and declares as follows:
(a) Public entities are barred from making political contributions under existing California law.
(b) Electrical and gas corporations are quasi-public entities, behaving in many ways like arms of the state. They claim monopolies on entire regions, seize property through eminent domain, and enjoy a fixed rate of return. State officials, in turn, are essentially embedded in their corporate structure. Officials closely control prices, operations, and purchasing.
(c) Under precedents of the United States Supreme Court, the First Amendment does not afford absolute protection to political donations.

SECTION 1.SEC. 2.

 Section 85322 is added to the Government Code, to read:

85322.
 (a) (1) Notwithstanding any other law, an investor-owned utility electrical corporation or a gas corporation shall not make a direct contribution to a candidate for elective state office.

(b)

(2) A candidate for elective state office shall not accept a direct contribution from an investor-owned utility. electrical corporation or a gas corporation.
(b) This section does not prohibit an independent expenditure or a contribution to a political party or political party committee, a legal defense fund formed pursuant to Section 85304, an officeholder account as provided in subdivision (b) of Section 85316, a small contributor committee, a political action committee, a candidate controlled ballot measure committee, or any other expenditure or contribution that is not a direct contribution to a candidate for elective state office, except as otherwise provided by law.
(c) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Electrical corporation” has the same meaning as in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code.
(2) “Gas corporation” has the same meaning as in Section 222 of the Public Utilities Code.

SEC. 2.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. 3.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.