Eight industry groups and two Sacramento County politicians block new anti-pay-to-play laws that prevent elected officials from voting on issues involving people and companies that contribute to campaigns I am filing a lawsuit to
Senate Bill 1439effective January 1, it allows public officials, from city councils to boards of education, water departments and county supervisors, to pay $250 within 12 months from any person in whom the official has a financial interest. If you receive more than that, you should refuse to participate in voting or debate. Decision. Proponents argued that the new law, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, was blatantly over, but is still legal and has had statewide influence.
But a newly filed lawsuit against the state’s Commission on Fair Political Practices, the agency tasked with its enforcement, claims that the law is overly broad, inappropriately changing the state’s political reform laws, It alleges that it violates constitutional free speech protections related to the right to petition.
In a petition to the Sacramento County Superior Court to intervene, attorney Thomas Hilltuck said, “For decades, our courts have held that campaign funding is an exercise of a constitutional right. rice field.
The Political Reform Act passed by voters in 1974 had already established similar rules for appointed officials, such as members of boards and committees, but excluded officials elected from local government bodies. was The new law removes that exception.
Amendments to the Political Reform Act require a two-thirds vote of each chamber of the legislature and must be in line with the Act’s “Purpose.” The lawsuit alleges that SB 1439 has violated its purpose by seeking to regulate campaign contributions in ways that were not originally intended.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include the California Family Business Association, the California Restaurant Association, the California Retailers Association, the California Association of Building Contractors, the California Business Property Association, the California Business Roundtable, the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange, the California Manufacturers & Engineers Association, and Rancho. Includes Córdoba City Council members. Garrett Gatewood and Sacramento County Superintendent Pat Hume.
SB 1439 passed Congress with no negative votes or formal opposition.of bipartisan bill Co-authored by State Senator Steve Glazer (D-Olinda) and Senator Scott Wilk (R-Victorville).
“Influence Peddling Pipeline”
Glazer said he wasn’t surprised that “voters want to maintain a pipeline of paid influence pitches.” He accused the plaintiffs of waiting to file a lawsuit to avoid public attention.
“During the legislative process they were silent,” he said. “They are trying to protect their economic interests from trying to influence certain decisions of local governments, and this bill has stopped that.”
The law does not undermine the right to serve politicians, Glaser said.
“It is directed at local government officials and their behavior when receiving money from specific financial interests that benefit from their decisions,” he said.
Breaking the law is a misdemeanor. However, those who are unknowingly violating it can be cured by returning the money within a certain period of time.
FPPC disappointed in lawsuit
In a statement, Fair Political Practices Commission Chairman Richard C. Miadich similarly criticized the delay in filing the lawsuit, noting that the FPPC will continue to enforce the law “unless a court ruling decides otherwise.” He said he would continue to do so.
“We were disappointed to learn that a lawsuit had been filed over SB 1439 months after it was unanimously passed by Congress and signed by the Governor after the Commission voted unanimously. “It’s also been several months since we began issuing guidance, gathering public opinion, and creating regulations to implement the law.”
Opponent didn’t know the bill
Robert Libinius, executive director of the California Family Business Association, said his association and others didn’t know about the bill until it became law and would have challenged it sooner.
“We always have the courage to speak out against bad laws,” he said. “Somehow it passed us by, and we didn’t realize the seriousness of what was going to happen.”
Members of the association, which includes family-owned businesses statewide, fear the law will prevent them from engaging in local politics and supporting good governance. I imagined a scenario where a potentially disrespectful employee would donate to the city council majority and cause a dispute.
“Eight months later, their business was having trouble with the board and people couldn’t vote because of it,” he said. “That’s going too far and should be left to local authorities.”
“Against our democracy”
California Common Causes, a nonprofit focused on good governance, announced on Feb. 23 that it would oppose the lawsuit, arguing that plaintiffs “want to favor people rather than uphold their will.” He said he would like to continue to operate the system as if it were
“Californians need to know that the representatives they elect are serving the common good, not a special interest,” said Sean, Transparency, Ethics and Accountability Program Manager for California Common Cause. McMorris said. “SB 1439 is a democratic reform that restores trust in local government. Those who oppose it oppose our democracy.”
Glazer, who describes the law as one of the most significant reforms of California’s conflict of interest law in the last 50 years, said it was too early to tell how the courts would view the case.
“Just as the law itself has incredibly important consequences, so court revocation has equally important consequences, so we will wait and see,” Glazer said.
https://www.dailynews.com/2023/02/23/lawsuit-targets-new-law-forcing-elected-officials-to-recuse-on-matters-involving-campaign-donors/ Lawsuit targets new law forcing elected officials to veto issues involving campaign donors – Daily News