Legislature Allows Local and State Choice to Create Citizen Funded Election Systems

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SB 1107 Passes with Bipartisan Support

Sacramento – Today, the Legislature showed bipartisan support for Senate Bill 1107 (Allen, Hancock, Chiu, Gonzalez), which would enable the state and local governments to address special interest money in politics with citizen funded election systems by amplifying the voices of small donors and everyday voters. California Common Cause is a sponsor of this bill.

“It is true that the vote surprised most Sacramento insiders,” stated Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause, “but it did not surprise the thousands of constituents who have been contacting their representatives to do something to address the problem of big money in politics.  Today’s vote is an example of Democrats and Republicans working together to create a democracy that is more accountable to voters and not just wealthy special interest donors.”

Under current California law, state and most local governments are prohibited from establishing citizen-funded campaign financing systems. The only exception is for charter cities, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, which have adopted small donor matching funds programs. SB 1107 amends the ban on public financing to enable the state and local governments to create systems that are available to all qualified, voluntarily participating candidates for the same office without regard to incumbency or political party preference.

Stated Nicolas Heidorn, California Common Cause Legislative and Policy Counsel, “It is significant that there is bi-partisan support for this amendment to allow common-sense reforms for local and state government to be able to respond to the enormous influx of money into politics.” Republican Senators Anthony Canella and Bob Huff, and Assembly members Catherine Baker, Ling Ling Chang, and David Hadley voted with Democrats to support SB 1107. The bill moves on to Governor Jerry Brown for a signature.

California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest, and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.