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Text of Proposition 15, the California Fair Elections Act

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This page is the actual text of the law that would be enacted if California Proposition 15 (2010) is approved.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 20600) is added to Division 20 of the Elections Code, to read:

Chapter 7. Fair Elections Fund

20600. (a) Each lobbying firm, as defined by Section 82038.5 of the Government Code, each lobbyist, as defined by Section 82039 of the Government Code, and each lobbyist employer, as defined by Section 82039.5 of the Government Code, shall pay the Secretary of State a nonrefundable fee of seven hundred dollars ($700) every two years. Twenty-five dollars ($25) of each fee from each lobbyist shall be deposited in the General Fund and used, when appropriated, for the purposes of Article 1 (commencing with Section 86100) of Chapter 6 of Title 9 of the Government Code. The remaining amount of each fee shall be deposited in the Fair Elections Fund established pursuant to Section 91133 of the Government Code. The fees in this section may be paid in even-numbered years when registrations are renewed pursuant to Section 86106 of the Government Code.

(b) The Secretary of State shall biennially adjust the amount of the fees collected pursuant to this section to reflect any increase or decrease in the Consumer Price Index. SEC. 2. Section 85300 of the Government Code is repealed. SEC. 3. Section 86102 of the Government Code is repealed. SEC. 4. Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 91015) is added to Title 9 of the Government Code, to read:

Chapter 12. California Fair Elections Act of 2008

Article 1. General

91015. This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the California Fair Elections Act of 2008.

91017. The people find and declare all of the following:

(a) The current campaign finance system burdens candidates with the incessant rigors of fundraising and thus decreases the time available to carry out their public responsibilities.

(b) The current campaign finance system diminishes the free speech rights of nonwealthy voters and candidates whose voices are drowned out by those who can afford to monopolize the arena of paid political communications.

(c) The current campaign finance system fuels the public perception of corruption at worst and conflict of interest at best and undermines public confidence in the democratic process and democratic institutions.

(d) Existing term limits place a greater demand on fundraising for the next election even for elected officials in safe seats.

(e) The current campaign finance system undermines the First Amendment right of voters and candidates to be heard in the political process, undermines the First Amendment right of voters to hear all candidates’ speech, and undermines the core First Amendment value of open and robust debate in the political process.

(f) Citizens want to ensure the integrity of California’s system of electronically reporting lobbyist contributions and the integrity of future Secretaries of State to administer lobbyist disclosure programs. Voters would like the opportunity to elect a Secretary of State who has not accepted any contributions from entities or individuals that employ lobbyists.

(g) In states where the fair elections full public financing laws have been enacted and used, election results show that more individuals, especially women and minorities, run as candidates and growth in overall campaign costs diminish.

91019. The people enact this chapter to establish a Fair Elections pilot program in campaigns for the office of Secretary of State to accomplish the following purposes:

(a) To reduce the perception of influence of large contributions on the decisions made by state government.

(b) To remove wealth as a major factor affecting whether an individual chooses to become a candidate.

(c) To provide a greater diversity of candidates to participate in the electoral process.

(d) To permit candidates to pursue policy issues instead of being preoccupied with fundraising and allow officeholders more time to carry out their official duties.

(e) To diminish the danger of actual corruption or the public perception of corruption and strengthen public confidence in the governmental and election processes.

(f) To reduce the perception of influence of lobbyist employers upon future Secretaries of State and their administration of the lobbyist disclosure program.

(g) To protect the public’s fiscal interest by providing sufficient resources to make the public financing program a viable option for qualified candidates, while not wasting resources by providing candidates with an unnecessarily large initial grant of public funds.

91021. The people enact this chapter to further accomplish the following purposes:

(a) To foster more equal and meaningful participation in the political process.

(b) To provide candidates who participated in the program with sufficient resources with which to communicate with voters.

(c) To increase the accountability of the Secretary of State to the constituents who elect him or her.

(d) To provide voters with timely information regarding the sources of campaign contributions, expenditures, and political advertising.

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