California Senate Bill 1686 (2008)

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California Senate Bill 1868 was proposed by California state senator Jeff Denham in 2008.[1] It would add additional regulations to laws governing the initiative process in California.[2] The bill had been assigned to for consideration to the state senate's Elections Committee, the Senate Public Safety Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill cleared the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously on April 15, 2008, and the Elections Committee unanimously on April 16. Don Perata voted for it.[3]

This bill was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) saying, "The historic delay in passing the 2008-2009 State Budget has forced me to prioritize the bills sent to my desk at the end of the year's legislative session. Given the delay, I am only signing bills that are the highest priority for California. This bill does not meet that standard and I cannot sign it at this time."[4]

Denham faced a recall election on June 3, 2008. Allegations of petition circulator misbehavior had arisen surrounding the petition drive to collect signatures to force the recall; specifically, the allegations posited that out-of-state petitioners had illegally collected signatures.[5]


SB 1868 was designed to:

Make it a crime for a person, company, organization, company official, or other organizational officer in charge of a person who circulates an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to knowingly direct or permit the person to make a false affidavit concerning an initiative, referendum, or recall petition or the signatures appended thereto. The bill would provide that this additional prohibition would not apply to a petition for a statewide initiative, referendum, or recall.

Violating the provisions of the bill would be punishable by a fine up to $5,000 or by imprisonment in state prison for up to sixteen months.

In a press release at the time the bill was announced, Denham said, "California is tired of this fraudulent activity. These ruthless organizers will be punished for continuing these unethical efforts."[6]

Other initiative restrictions proposed in 2008 in California and elsewhere

Al Torrico proposed California Assembly Bill 1914 (2008), which was designed to impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 on sponsors of initiatives if the sponsor is aware of a violation relating to circulation of a statewide petition and doesn't notify the Secretary of State.

See also