California Elections Code, Section 9000-9015: Initiative and Referendum Petitions
This article applies only to initiative and referendum measures affecting the Constitution or laws of the state.
The heading of a proposed initiative measure shall be in substantially the following form:
- Initiative Measure to Be Submitted Directly to the Voters
- The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure:
- (Here set forth the title and summary prepared by the Attorney General. This title and summary must also be printed across the top of each page of the petition whereon signatures are to appear.)
- To the Honorable California Secretary of State
- We, the undersigned, registered, qualified voters of California,
- residents of ____ County (or City and County), hereby propose
- amendments to the Constitution of California (the ____ Code, relating
- to ____) and petition the Secretary of State to submit the same to
- the voters of California for their adoption or rejection at the next
- succeeding general election or at any special statewide election held
- prior to that general election or otherwise provided by law. The
- proposed constitutional (or statutory) amendments (full title and
- text of the measure) read as follows:
Prior to the circulation of any initiative or referendum petition for signatures, a draft of the proposed measure shall be submitted to the Attorney General with a written request that a title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure be prepared. The title and summary shall not exceed a total of 100 words.
The persons presenting the request shall be known as the "proponents."
The Attorney General shall preserve the written request until after the next general election.
In the event that the Attorney General is a proponent of a proposed measure, the title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure, including an estimate or opinion on the financial impact of the measure, shall be prepared by the Legislative Counsel, and the other duties of the Attorney General specified in this chapter with respect to the title and summary and an estimate of the financial effect of the measure shall be performed by the Legislative Counsel.
Upon receipt of a draft of a petition, the Attorney General shall prepare a summary of the chief purposes and points of the proposed measure. The summary shall be prepared in the manner provided for the preparation of ballot titles in Article 5 (commencing with Section 9050), the provisions of which in regard to the preparation, filing, and settlement of titles and summaries are hereby made applicable to the summary. The Attorney General shall provide a copy of the title and summary to the Secretary of State within 15 days after receipt of the final version of a proposed initiative measure, or if a fiscal estimate or opinion is to be included, within 15 days after receipt of the fiscal estimate or opinion prepared by the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee pursuant to Section 9005.
If during the 15-day period, the proponents of the proposed initiative measure submit amendments, other than technical, nonsubstantive amendments, to the final version of the measure, the Attorney General shall provide a copy of the title and summary to the Secretary of State within 15 days after receipt of the amendments.
The proponents of any initiative measure, at the time of submitting the draft of the measure to the Attorney General, shall pay a fee of two hundred dollars ($200), which shall be placed in a trust fund in the office of the Treasurer and refunded to the proponents if the measure qualifies for the ballot within two years from the date the summary is furnished to the proponents. If the measure does not qualify within that period, the fee shall be immediately paid into the General Fund of the state.
Notwithstanding Section 9004, the Attorney General, in preparing a title or summary for an initiative measure, shall determine whether the substance thereof if adopted would affect the revenues or expenditures of the state or local government, and if he or she determines that it would, he or she shall include in the title either the estimate of the amount of any increase or decrease in revenues or costs to the state or local government, or an opinion as to whether or not a substantial net change in state or local finances would result if the proposed initiative is adopted.
The estimates as required by this section shall be made jointly by the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, who shall deliver them to the Attorney General so that he or she may include them in the titles prepared by him or her.
The estimate shall be delivered to the Attorney General within 25 working days from the date of receipt of the final version of the proposed initiative from the Attorney General, unless in the opinion of both the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee a reasonable estimate of the net impact of the proposed initiative cannot be prepared within the 25-day period. In the latter case, the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee shall, within the 25-day period, give the Attorney General their opinion as to whether or not a substantial net change in state or local finances would result if the proposed initiative is adopted.
Any statement of fiscal impact prepared by the Legislative Analyst pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 12172 of the Government Code may be used by the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee in the preparation of the fiscal estimate or the opinion.
If, for any reason, any initiative or referendum measure proposed by petition as provided by this article is not submitted to the voters at the next succeeding statewide election, that failure shall not prevent its submission at a succeeding statewide election.
Immediately upon the preparation of the summary of an initiative or referendum petition, the Attorney General shall forthwith transmit copies of the text of the measure and summary to the Senate and Assembly. The appropriate committees of each house may hold public hearings on the subject of the measure. However, nothing in this section shall be construed as authority for the Legislature to alter the measure or prevent it from appearing on the ballot.
Every proposed initiative measure, prior to circulation, shall have placed across the top of the petition in 12-point or larger roman boldface type, all of the following:
(a) The summary prepared by the Attorney General upon each page of the petition on which signatures are to appear.
(b) The summary prepared by the Attorney General upon each section of the petition preceding the text of the measure.
(c) The summary prepared by the Attorney General as required by subdivision (b) shall be preceded by the following statement: "Initiative measure to be submitted directly to the voters."
A space at least one inch wide shall be left blank across the top of each page of every initiative petition and after the name of each voter who has signed the petition for the use of the county elections official in verifying the petition.
Across the top of each page of a referendum petition, there shall be printed in 12-point boldface type the following:
- "Referendum Against an Act Passed by the Legislature."
Across the top of each page after the first page of every referendum petition or section of a referendum petition, which is prepared and circulated, there shall be printed in 18-point gothic type a short title, in 20 words or less, showing the nature of the petition and the subject to which it relates.
A space at least one inch wide shall be left blank at the top of each page and after each name, for the use of the county elections official, in verifying the petition.
Officers required by law to receive or file in their offices any initiative or referendum petition shall not receive or file any initiative or referendum petition not in conformity with this article.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no initiative shall be placed on a statewide special election ballot that qualifies less than 131 days before the date of the election.
Any initiative or referendum petition may be presented in sections, but each section shall contain a full and correct copy of the title and text of the proposed measure. The text of the measure shall be printed in type not smaller than 8 point.
The Secretary of State shall prepare and provide to any person, upon request, a pamphlet describing the procedures and requirements for preparing and circulating a statewide initiative measure and for filing sections of the petition, and describing the procedure used in determining and verifying the number of qualified voters who have signed the petition.