Governor Brown Signs Bill by Assemblymember Gloria to Increase Transparency in Local Elections
The Public’s Right-to-Know Act to Become Law in 2018, Public to Receive More Insight into Special Interest Funding of Local Measures
SACRAMENTO, CA – Legislation authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) that would increase transparency in local elections by shining light on the special interests financers of local ballot measures and referendums was signed by Governor Brown today and will become law in 2018. AB 187, also known as the Public’s Right-to-Know Act, is the first bill ever introduced by Assemblymember Gloria as a state legislator and is his first bill to be signed by the Governor.
“I am elated that Governor Brown chose to sign AB 187 today, and I want to thank him for adding this layer of voter protection to ensure cases like those experienced in San Diego are not replicated elsewhere in California,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “With this bill becoming law in 2018, it is my hope that voters will feel more confident, empowered, and informed when they are approached by paid signature gatherers and when they step into the voters booth knowing that they are not being willfully deceived by special interests.”
AB 187 mandates that general purpose committees formed to support multiple state candidates or ballot measures must disclose with their local filing officer each time a contribution of $5,000 or more is made toward the qualification or opposition of local initiatives and referendums. The disclosure will need to be filed within 10 business days.
Under current state law, general purpose committees are only required to file disclosures whenever $5,000 is spent toward the qualification or opposition of state ballot measures. AB 187 adds local measures to that requirement.
Assemblymember Gloria, while serving on the San Diego City Council, introduced similar disclosure requirements for local campaign committees after corporate special interests successfully funded a referendum effort against local initiatives such as City of San Diego’s Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Leave Ordinance and the Barrio Logan Community Plan.
In both instances, voters’ signatures were gathered under a false pretense and voters were not able to discern who was financing each initiative as the funding source of the petition was not disclosed until after enough signatures were obtained. Once voters learned of the true nature of the petition, hundreds wanted to recall their signatures, but it was too late.
AB 187 was the first piece of legislation introduced by Assemblymember Gloria following his election in December 2016. The bill passed the State Assembly in April and passed the State Senate on August 21.