September 28, 2020 •

Governor Signs Bill Restoring Non-Presidential Year Primaries to June

elections

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill moving non-presidential year primaries back to June. Senate Bill 970 will return California to the traditional midterm primary date. The bill becomes effective January 1, 2021.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill moving non-presidential year primaries back to June.

Senate Bill 970 will return California to the traditional midterm primary date.

The bill becomes effective January 1, 2021.

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September 8, 2020 •

California Lawmakers Pass Campaign Finance Bill

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

The Legislature presented a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom relating to online filing and disclosure of specific statements, reports, and other documents. Assembly Bill 2151 requires a local government agency to post on its internet website, within 72 hours of […]

The Legislature presented a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom relating to online filing and disclosure of specific statements, reports, and other documents.

Assembly Bill 2151 requires a local government agency to post on its internet website, within 72 hours of the applicable filing deadline, a copy of any specified statement, report, or other document required by Chapter 4 of the Political Reform Act of 1974 filed with the agency in paper format.

In addition, the statement, report, or other document must be made available for four years from the date of the election associated with the filing.

Finally, if signed by the governor, the bill becomes effective January 1, 2021.

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September 1, 2020 •

California Legislature Adjourns for the Year

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

Lawmakers ended the 2020 legislative session beleaguered by COVID-19, wildfires, a tanked economy, and a looming eviction crisis. Each chamber worked through roughly 100 bills on their final day, before adjourning after midnight. The Senate kept passing bills until shortly […]

Lawmakers ended the 2020 legislative session beleaguered by COVID-19, wildfires, a tanked economy, and a looming eviction crisis.

Each chamber worked through roughly 100 bills on their final day, before adjourning after midnight.

The Senate kept passing bills until shortly after 1 a.m.

Some of the bills lawmakers sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom include eviction relief, police reform, COVID-19 response, and a flavored tobacco ban.

The governor has until September 30 to sign or veto any of the bills.

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July 29, 2020 •

New San Jose Commission Will Decide on Strong Mayor, Campaign Finance Reform

San Jose City Hall

San Jose City Hall - by Daderot

After a month long debate over a proposed strong mayor measure and outrage over lack of community involvement in the decision, San Jose leaders unanimously approved putting decisions about the city’s future into the hands of community members. The Charter Revision […]

After a month long debate over a proposed strong mayor measure and outrage over lack of community involvement in the decision, San Jose leaders unanimously approved putting decisions about the city’s future into the hands of community members.

The Charter Revision Commission, created Tuesday, will consist of residents appointed by Mayor Sam Liccardo and the City Council.

The committee will help decide whether or not San Jose should adopt a strong mayor system, whether mayoral elections should be aligned with presidential elections and campaign finance reforms, including prohibiting contributions from lobbyists and requiring lawmakers to recuse themselves from votes involving organizations donating $250 or more to their campaigns.

While campaign finance reform, measures to move the mayoral election and increase the mayor’s powers won’t go to voters this November, the Charter Revision Commission would have until March 2022 to research what systems would be best for the city and make recommendations for a 2022 ballot measure.

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July 7, 2020 •

City of Oakland Launches Online Lobbyist Registration, Reporting System

Oakland, California

Oakland, California - by James BeBop

The Oakland Public Ethics Commission has launched the OAKAPPS Lobbyist Registration and Reporting System. This system allows users to register as an Oakland lobbyist, maintain a client list, enter lobbyist activity, draft disclosure reports, and submit them online. It is […]

The Oakland Public Ethics Commission has launched the OAKAPPS Lobbyist Registration and Reporting System.

This system allows users to register as an Oakland lobbyist, maintain a client list, enter lobbyist activity, draft disclosure reports, and submit them online.

It is available at https://apps.oaklandca.gov/OakApps/OakApps.aspx.

In order to use the system, a user name and password is needed.

For questions about using this new system, please contact the Oakland Public Ethics Commission at ethicscommission@oaklandca.gov or 510-238-3593.

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July 2, 2020 •

San Jose Council Approves Ballot Measure Barring Contributions and Gifts from Lobbyists

San Jose City Hall

San Jose City Hall - by Daderot

The City Council approved a November ballot measure relating to contributions and gifts from lobbyists. The proposed measure would bar lobbyists from making campaign contributions. The mayor, council members, and senior administrators would also be barred from accepting gifts from […]

The City Council approved a November ballot measure relating to contributions and gifts from lobbyists.

The proposed measure would bar lobbyists from making campaign contributions.

The mayor, council members, and senior administrators would also be barred from accepting gifts from lobbyists or city contractors.

The mayor and council members would also be required to sit out of any vote involving a person or entity contributing to their campaign or other cause in the last 12 months and the three months following the vote.

The proposed initiative would also give the mayor the power to hire and fire the city manager and department heads starting January 1, 2023.

The measure also includes a provision to align San Jose’s mayoral races with the presidential election cycle in an effort to increase voter turnout.

The City Council will hold a special meeting on July 28 where they will review the proposed ballot language before sending it off to the county Registrar of Voters.

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June 30, 2020 •

California Legislature Passes Special Election Bill

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020. Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, […]

Lawmakers passed a bill calling a statewide special election to be consolidated and held on November 3, 2020.

Senate Bill 300 requires the Office of the Secretary of State to submit various Assembly Constitutional Amendments, including lowering the voting age, wages, elections, and state of emergency procedures, to voters for their approval at the general election if the amendments are passed by the Legislature on or before July 1, 2020.

If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect immediately as an act calling an election.

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June 19, 2020 •

FPPC to Require LLC’s Provide More Political Spending Transparency

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted to require more transparency and disclosure of those who use limited liability companies (LLC’s) to make political contributions. Aditionally, they would require campaigns to list the name of the actual person who directed […]

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) voted to require more transparency and disclosure of those who use limited liability companies (LLC’s) to make political contributions.

Aditionally, they would require campaigns to list the name of the actual person who directed the LLC political spending.

The first new regulation requires LLC’s involved in raising and spending money for political activity to name the person making the decisions.

The second new regulation requires campaigns receiving donations from LLC’s to also list the name of the person responsible for the political activity.

A 2019 FPPC Enforcement Division examination of LLC’s found it was relatively easy to find information about the type of business, its address and an agent for service of process.

However, it was extremely difficult to find the identities of the people behind the LLC’s owners or the true source of the political expenditures.

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May 14, 2020 •

California Becomes First State to Mail Ballots to All Voters

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring election officials to send mail-in ballots to every registered voter ahead of the November general election. Newsom acknowledged attempting traditional voting on a mass scale would likely still be too dangerous […]

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order requiring election officials to send mail-in ballots to every registered voter ahead of the November general election.

Newsom acknowledged attempting traditional voting on a mass scale would likely still be too dangerous even in November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In-person voting is still expected to occur, but the number of people voting at polling places is expected to decline.

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April 10, 2020 •

FPPC Offers Guidance on Lobbying Filing Deadlines in Wake of COVID-19

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has issued an advisory encouraging people subject to lobbying registration and reporting requirements to continue to make the best efforts to timely file all legally required reports and statements. However, it may be […]

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has issued an advisory encouraging people subject to lobbying registration and reporting requirements to continue to make the best efforts to timely file all legally required reports and statements.

However, it may be difficult for some to file statements and reports given the shelter-in-place order and other issues caused by the pandemic.

If circumstances caused by COVID-19 inhibit the filing of a lobbying report or statement, the filer should communicate these issues to the Office of the Secretary of State and document all attempts to file and the issues faced.

While quarterly lobbying reports are filed electronically, the law requires certain other statements be filed on paper with an original signature.

Restrictions imposed to fight the spread of COVID-19 may make the logistics of filing documents on paper with original signatures difficult or even impossible.

To the extent this is the case, people required to file lobbying forms on paper with original signatures are encouraged to make use of digital and electronic options for filing reports to ensure timely filing.

Paper statements with original signatures will need to be filed when feasible.

If a person with lobbying filing requirements makes best efforts to comply with the Political Reform Act’s lobbying registration and reporting rules but is unable to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FPPC will consider this a strong mitigating factor in determining whether an enforcement action against the person is appropriate.

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April 6, 2020 •

California Legislature Extends Recess to May 4

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

The California Legislature pushed back a scheduled return to the legislative session by three weeks to give public health officials more time to deal with the coronavirus spreading through the state. The Legislature now is scheduled to reconvene on May […]

The California Legislature pushed back a scheduled return to the legislative session by three weeks to give public health officials more time to deal with the coronavirus spreading through the state.

The Legislature now is scheduled to reconvene on May 4.

Lawmakers had voted unanimously on March 16 to suspend its session until April 13.

The initial decision last month to suspend activities at the state Capitol was unprecedented in California history.

The decision came after legislators grappled for several days to balance public health concerns with the need for action to address the impact of the pandemic.

Both houses quickly passed a $1 billion relief plan on March 16 before putting a halt to all legislative business.

Whether a return in early May will be possible could depend on the state’s success or failure this month in slowing the rate of infection.

Early spring is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the Legislature, with hundreds of bills considered by policy committees before receiving final votes in either of the two houses by May 31.

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March 27, 2020 •

California FPPC Extending Form 700 Deadline

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is allowing a 60-day extension for those required to file a 2019 annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700). This two-month extension means forms normally due on April […]

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is allowing a 60-day extension for those required to file a 2019 annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700).

This two-month extension means forms normally due on April 1, 2020, will be accepted by the FPPC as timely until June 1.

The extension will apply to all officials required to file in April.

The FPPC intends to formally ratify this extension at its April 2 special meeting.

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March 26, 2020 •

FPPC Offers Guidance on Behested Payment Reporting in Wake of COVID-19

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

Individuals and businesses in California are coming to the aide of those in need through donations of money and supplies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In many instances, elected officials are instrumental in raising donations for these purposes, whether for […]

Individuals and businesses in California are coming to the aide of those in need through donations of money and supplies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

In many instances, elected officials are instrumental in raising donations for these purposes, whether for charitable or government organizations.

In doing so, an elected official should be aware of and may be required to file a behested payment report.

The current statewide shelter-in-place order, closure of government offices, and various other circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic may make it difficult to file these reports on time.

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) encourages elected officials to make best efforts to timely file behested payment reports.

If circumstances caused by the pandemic inhibit an official’s ability to file reports, the official should communicate these issues to their agency and document all attempts to file and the issues faced.

If an official makes best efforts to comply with the Political Reform Act’s behested payment reporting rules but is unable to do so due to the pandemic, the FPPC will consider this a strong mitigating factor in determining whether an enforcement action against the official is appropriate.

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March 25, 2020 •

Gov. Newsom Issues Executive Order for Upcoming Elections

California Gov. Gavin Newsom

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending vote-by-mail for three upcoming elections. The order comes as part of government efforts to protect public health and combat the spread of coronavirus. Under the executive order, county election officials are […]

California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending vote-by-mail for three upcoming elections.

The order comes as part of government efforts to protect public health and combat the spread of coronavirus.

Under the executive order, county election officials are to distribute vote-by-mail to all voters eligible to participate in the special elections.

The elections include the special election for the 28th Senate District, a runoff election for the 25th Congressional District, and a special recall election held in the city of Westminster.

In addition to calling for changes to the way the upcoming special elections are conducted, the governor’s order also extends the deadlines for the ballot counting, tabulation and other responsibilities related to California’s presidential primary election for 21 days.

This will allow for the implementation of appropriate social distancing measures.

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