Signed Into Law!

Both our priority bills made it across the finish line!

Thanks to your help, our two priority bills for this year have made it across the finish line. In the last week of the 2022 legislative session, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the signing of two crucial pro-democracy bills sponsored by California Common Cause.

SB 1439, which will end the pay-to-play loophole for campaign contributions to local officials, and SB 459 that will expand lobbying transparency in Sacramento.

SB 1439 will help mitigate pay-to-play scandals by closing loopholes that currently allow local representatives to accept large campaign contributions from special interests that have business before them. This legislation aims to prevent scandals that have made recent headlines throughout the state. In the City of Lynwood, for example, city council candidates in 2018 were allegedly asked to sign a pledge card supporting a local cannabis association’s proposals in exchange for a $15,000 campaign contribution.

Under SB 1439, any local officials who received a campaign contribution of over $250 from a special interest group in the 12 months prior to a vote that would benefit that group would have to recuse from the vote or return the money. Also under SB 1439, the local official would not be allowed to accept a campaign contribution of over $250 from a special interest group while that group has business before the official, and for 12 months after.

We have the right to know that our local elected officials work for the public interest, not special interests.

SB 459 improves California’s lobbying reporting by providing vital information about who is “lobbying up” at the 11th hour while that information is still useful. Currently, reporting on lobbying activity at the end of the legislative session is only publicly available after the session is over and votes have been taken, leaving no time for transparency to the press or the public. Under SB 459, new lobbying contracts over $5,000 made during the last 60 days of the session must be reported within 48 hours.

The bill will also put an end to anonymous pressure campaigns by requiring groups trying to exert influence over legislation and lawmakers through issue advertisements, like those seen on social media (“Tell your senator to vote yes on AB XX!”), to put their names on the issue advertisements, a first in state history.

At a time when our democracy is in peril at the national level, California continues to cut a different path, building a better democracy from the ground up.

We couldn’t do it without you — Common Cause is a people-powered organization. We rely on the donations, time, and action emails and phone calls from members like you to hold power accountable in Sacramento. Thank you.