Last week I took a break from my regular routine in Los Angeles by packing up and shipping out to hold power accountable from the source, California’s State Capitol; Sacramento. After stopping to take a quick selfie with our legislative affairs advocate, Sarah Swanbeck and I hit the ground running meeting with representatives from across the state to educate them about Senate Bill 1253, the Ballot Initiative Transparency Act before the bill was heard by the Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee.
SB 1253 is the culmination of a year-long process led by CA Common Cause to find new ideas for cleaner initiatives, simpler ballots and better information for voters. In talking to members of the Assembly, some want to eliminate the ballot initiative process completely. Others see great value in allowing residents to participate in this cherished form of direct democracy. The Ballot Initiative Transparency Act keeps the system intact while making intelligent and significant changes long overdue. SB 1253, affectionately known as BITA, was introduced by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and supported by a large, diverse set of stakeholders including the League of Women Voters of California, California NAACP, AARP California, AAUW California, Bay Area Council, California Business Roundtable, California Calls, California Chamber, California Church IMPACT, California Forward Action Fund, California School Employees Association, and Think Long Committee for California. At the end of the day BITA cleared the committee with a 5-1 vote. Now it moves on to the Appropriations Committee and will probably be heard sometime in August, after the summer recess.
Thanks to the good work of California Clean Money Campaign a volunteers swarmed the halls the Capitol to testify in support of Senate Bill 52, the California DISCLOSE Act. This landmark piece of legislation would require political ads to show who really pays for them. After clearing committee, volunteers marched to the speaker’s office to deliver a stack of 45,000 petitions in support of campaign ad disclosure.
All in all it was a successful trip as every single one of our endorsed bills made it out of committee. Next week I will be back in Los Angeles continuing the fight to end the cycle corruption in Sacramento and bring our democracy back into the hands of the people.
Office: California Common Cause