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SB-752 Elections: disclosure of contributors.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/19/2021 09:00 PM
SB752:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 752


Introduced by Senator Allen

February 19, 2021


An act relating to elections.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 752, as introduced, Allen. Elections: disclosure of contributors.
Existing law requires political advertisements to include specified disclosure statements that identify the name of the campaign committee paying for the advertisement and the top contributors, as defined, to that committee. Existing law requires a campaign committee that pays for the circulation of a state or local initiative, referendum, or recall petition to disclose its top contributors, as prescribed.
This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation relating to these disclosure requirements.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: NO   Local Program: NO  

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


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) For voters to make an informed choice in the political marketplace, political advertisements should not intentionally deceive voters about the identity of who or what interest is trying to persuade them how to vote.
(2) Disclosing who or what interest paid for a political advertisement will help voters be able to better evaluate the arguments to which they are being subjected during political campaigns and therefore make more informed voting decisions.
(3) For disclosures on political advertisements to effectively show voters who paid for the political advertisements, they must clearly and prominently display the largest major donors in a way that does not confuse voters.
(4) The Legislature passed the California Disclose Act, Assembly Bill 249 of the 2017–18 Regular Session (Chapter 546 of the Statutes of 2017), which established clear-cut requirements and formatting rules for disclosures on political advertisements, but since then many campaign committees have abused some of its requirements and rules in ways that make it difficult for voters see the largest major donors.
(5) Many large donors have been avoiding disclosures on political advertisements in local and legislative races by giving just under the current $50,000 threshold for disclosure on the advertisements as a top contributor, lessening voters’ ability to make informed decisions in those local and legislative races despite the major impact such large contributions have on those races.
(6) The Legislature passed Senate Bill 47 of the 2019–20 Regular Session (Chapter 563 of the Statutes of 2019) with the intent to ensure that voters are always shown an information sheet listing the top three contributors paying for the circulation of an initiative, referendum, or recall petition before they sign the petition.
(7) Many initiative, referendum, and recall signature-gatherers have not been showing the required information sheets listing the top three contributors to voters before they sign the petition, denying them information that could allow them to make more informed decisions about whether to sign.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would curtail abuses of disclosures on political advertisements with clearer formatting rules and by lowering the threshold for top contributors to be displayed in local and legislative races to a threshold more appropriate for those races. It is also the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would better ensure that voters are always shown an information sheet listing the top three contributors paying for the circulation of an initiative, referendum, or recall petition before they sign the initiative petition.