Ballot Initiative Transparency Act Heads to the Assembly Floor

Sacramento – Today, the California State Legislature took another important step toward sensible reform of the state’s initiative system. The Ballot Initiative Transparency Act (Senate Bill (SB) 1253, carried by pro Tem Darrell Steinberg), passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and now heads to the Assembly for a floor vote.  SB 1253 will ensure that the state’s initiative process is more easily accessible to the average voter by providing Californians with greater transparency and input.

“Over the past year, we have worked with over 60 different groups from across the political spectrum to produce a nonpartisan set of recommendations,” said Kathay Feng, Executive Director of California Common Cause.  “This bill will make important changes to strengthen our initiative system, to ensure increased public review of initiatives, and to make sure voters have helpful information about initiatives when they enter the polls on Election Day.”

The main elements of SB 1253 would:

  • Give voters more useful information about initiatives so they can make informed decisions by creating one-stop access to information about individuals and groups behind each initiative on the Secretary of State’s website.
  • Identify and correct mistakes in an initiative before it appears on the ballot. This law would give voters an opportunity to comment on initiatives before they are circulated for signature and would give proponents time to withdraw initiatives from the ballot.
  • Increase transparency in the initiative process by requiring the Legislature to hold earlier public hearings to review initiatives.

The bill now moves to the State Assembly where Assemblymembers will have an opportunity to vote on this sensible reform of our initiative system by passing SB 1253.