Vote button trans.png
April's Project of the Month
It's spring time. It's primary election season!
Click here to find all the information you'll need to cast your ballot.




California Senate Bill 202 (2011)

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
California Senate Bill 202
Flag of California.png
Legislature:California State Legislature
Text:As Chaptered
Sponsor(s):Gordon, Hancock
Legislative History
Introduced:February 8, 2011
State house:September 9, 2011
Vote (lower house):Y 45, N 30
State senate:May 31, 2011
Vote (upper house):Y 23, N 14
Governor:Jerry Brown (D)
Signed:October 7, 2011
Legal Environment
State law:Laws governing the initiative
process in California
Impact on initiative rights
Citizens in Charge Foundation#Legislation ratingsCICF rating:
Reduces Access
Citizens in Charge Foundation#Legislation ratings
California Senate Bill 202 (2011) changes the dates of ballot proposition elections in California so that all such elections take place only on November general election ballots or, specifically, "only the election held throughout the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year." SB 202 amends Section 9016 of the Elections Code, and repeals Section 1 of Chapter 732 of the Statutes of 2010.

Up through 1958, votes on California's ballot propositions only took place in November elections. Starting in 1960, votes on statewide ballot propositions also were scheduled during the state's June primaries.[1]

SB 202 was given final legislative approval by the California State Assembly on September 9, 2011 and the California State Senate on September 10, 2011 (concurrence with House amendments). On October 7, 2011, Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, signed the legislation.

An effort was undertaken to overturn SB 202 using the state's veto referendum process. The referendum did not qualify for the ballot.

Support

  • SB 202 was sponsored by Loni Hancock. In favor of the bill, she says, ""Low turnout elections do not represent the needs, priorities and desires of the larger electorate."[2]
  • Gov. Jerry Brown: "There are dramatically more voters at a general rather than a primary election. The idea of direct democracy is to involve as many voters as possible. This bill accomplishes that objective."[3][4]
  • California League of Conservation Voters: "When we have bigger voter turnout, we get more people voting for the environment, because Californians by and large support clean energy, clean water, clean air. The more people we get out voting, the bigger margins we're going to get."[4]

Opposition

The Contra Costa Times editorialized against SB 202 saying:

Left-side quotation mark.png  Any bill that is rushed to passage in the waning hours of a legislative session by gutting and amending an unrelated measure should be considered suspect. Senate Bill 202, by Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, falls into that category.
It would require all statewide initiatives and referendums be limited to general elections in November. Supporters accurately argue that November elections draw more voters to the polls and are more representative of the California electorate.
However, that is not the real reason SB202 was passed. The bill also contains a provision to postpone a scheduled June 2012 vote on whether to amend the California Constitution to strengthen the state's rainy day fund.
Democrats agreed to place that measure on the ballot to win support from former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican lawmakers as part of the budget deal.
But SB202 reneges on that promise and would push the rainy day fund question to the November 2014 ballot. That would undermine the budget compromise and needlessly delay action on an issue that is of critical importance in fixing California's dysfunctional budgeting process. Right-side quotation mark.png[5]


Joe Mathews, of the New America Foundation, has said:[6]

Left-side quotation mark.png  It's bad enough that California stuffs long lists of statewide initiatives onto primary and general election ballots that are already full of races for federal, state, and local offices, as well as local ballot measures.
Such long lists make it hard for each initiative to get the attention and scrutiny it needs.
This switch will make things a little bit worse, by stuffing all initiatives onto the same, even longer general election ballot.
That's a great thing if you're a rich person or group that wants to slip through an idea without public scrutiny or consideration. It doesn't make much sense for California.
This change also may make it harder to do what's needed: remove initiatives and other ballot measures from the candidate election calendar entirely, and have voters examine these questions of direct legislation separately, in quarterly elections that allow each measure to have plenty of scrutiny. Right-side quotation mark.png[7]


Dan Waters has written in the Fresno Bee:

Left-side quotation mark.png  The real political kicker in SB 202, however, is a section that shifts a constitutional amendment approved by the Legislature last year, as part of the deal that finally resolved a prolonged budget stalemate, from the 2012 election to 2014.
Why?
Democrats never liked the measure, a form of state spending limit, that Republicans and then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sought, and shifting it to 2014 could lead to its repeal in the Legislature if Democrats can achieve two-thirds margins in both houses next year.
But it also reneges on the 2010 budget deal, and thus sets a dangerous precedent. Brown complains that Republicans are reluctant to make budget deals, but if a deal can be undone after the fact, as SB 202 would do, it would further erode comity in the Capitol and make Republicans even less likely to cooperate.
This is one of Brown's toughest bill decisions. Right-side quotation mark.png[8]

Polls

A poll commissioned for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association found that 59.9% want SB 202 to be vetoed by Jerry Brown, while 20% want him to sign it into law.[9]

The poll question asked in the HJTA poll was:

"In 2009, the Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature reached a bipartisan agreement to balance the state budget in which the Republicans agreed to support significant increases to the state's income, sale and car taxes and the Democrats agreed to put before voters in June of 2012 an initiative limiting state spending increases and increasing the state's rainy day fund. On the last day of the current legislative session however, the state legislature passed a union-backed bill that would delay public vote on the initiative until November of 2014. Do you believe Governor Jerry Brown should sign this bill delaying the initiative or veto the bill and allow voters to consider the initiative next June? (And is that strong or somewhat (sign/veto)?)"

A poll done by the Field Poll on SB 202 found the 56% favor SB 202, while 32% oppose it.[9]

The poll question asked in the Field Poll was:

"Do you favor or oppose changing election laws so that statewide initiatives can only be placed before voters in a November general election instead of a primary election."

Text of proposal

SECTION 1. Section 9016 of the Elections Code is amended to read:

9016. (a) Notwithstanding Section 324, for purposes of subdivision (c) of Section 8 of, and subdivision (c) of Section 9 of, Article II of the California Constitution, "general election" means only the election held throughout the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year with respect to an initiative or referendum measure that is certified for the ballot on or after July 1, 2011.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an initiative measure shall not be submitted to the voters at a statewide special election held less than 131 days after the date the measure is certified for the ballot.

SEC. 2. Section 1 of Chapter 732 of the Statutes of 2010 is repealed.

SEC. 3. Notwithstanding Section 9040 of the Elections Code or any other provision of law, the Secretary of State shall submit Assembly Constitutional Amendment 4 of the 2009-10 Regular Session to the voters at the November 4, 2014, statewide general election.

Legislative Counsel's Digest

Existing law permits the voters to propose and adopt a statute or constitutional amendment through the power of the initiative, and to approve or reject a statute or a part of a statute through the power of the referendum, by presenting to the Secretary of State a petition that sets forth the text of the proposed measure and is certified to have been signed by a specified number of electors.

Existing law requires the Secretary of State to submit a certified initiative measure at the next general election held at least 131 days after the measure qualifies for the ballot or at any statewide special election that is held prior to that general election and is held at least 131 days after the measure qualifies for the ballot, and further requires the Secretary of State to submit a certified referendum measure at the next general election held at least 31 days after the measure qualifies for the ballot or at any statewide special election that is held prior to that general election. Under existing law, "general election" is defined to mean either the election held throughout the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year or any statewide election held on a regular election date, as specified.

This bill would provide that, notwithstanding the above definition of "general election," that term means, for purposes of submitting to the voters an initiative or referendum measure that is certified for the ballot on or after July 1, 2011, only the election held throughout the state on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year.

Existing law requires the Secretary of State to submit ACA 4 of the 2009-10 Regular Session, a proposed legislative constitutional amendment relating to state finance, to the voters at the 2012 statewide presidential primary election, as specified.

This bill would repeal those provisions and would, instead, require the Secretary of State to submit ACA 4 to the voters at the November 4, 2014, statewide general election.

External links

References