BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                         Senator Robert M. Hertzberg, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          |Bill No:  |AB 630                           |Hearing    |6/24/15  |
          |          |                                 |Date:      |         |
          |Author:   |Linder                           |Tax Levy:  |No       |
          |Version:  |4/27/15                          |Fiscal:    |Yes      |
          |Consultant|Lewis                                                 |
          |:         |                                                      |

                              Counties'  oaths of office

          Allows a county board of supervisors to require the filing of a  
          new oath of office in specified instances.  

           Background and Existing Law

           State law requires members of the Legislature and all other  
          public officers and employees of the legislative, executive, and  
          judicial branches to take an oath (or affirmation) to protect  
          and defend the Constitutions of the United States and of the  
          State of California, and to faithfully discharge the duties upon  
          which they are about to enter.  Violating an oath or affirmation  
          is a crime.

          County clerks are responsible for keeping records documenting  
          oaths taken by most county officers.  State law requires these  
          oaths to be kept on file at the clerk's office, and this  
          information is subject to the California Public Records Act.   
          However, current law does not require a county officer to take a  
          new oath in the event that the officer changes his or her name,  
          title, department, or delegated authority.  In such cases,  
          counties are sometimes left with outdated information on file as  
          to who occupies what public office-a situation which can impede  
          counties' responses to public requests for information.   
          Similarly, if a county officer's delegated authority changes,  
          state law does not explicitly require his or her old authority  


          AB 630 (Linder) 4/27/15                                 Page 2  
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          to be rescinded.

          County clerks and election officials propose changing state law  
          to allow county boards of supervisors to require a new oath be  
          filed for county officers, department heads, disaster service  
          workers, and appointed deputies who change their names,  
          delegated authority, or department while in public office.   
          Furthermore, clerks and election officials suggest amending  
          current law to clarify that an appointed county officer's powers  
          are rescinded when he or she leaves office.

           Proposed Law

           Assembly Bill 630 authorizes a county board of supervisors to  
          require a new oath or affirmation to be filed within 10 days of  
          a legal change in name, delegated authority, or department by:

                 Every elected or appointed officer or department head of  
               that county;

                 Every disaster service worker of that county; and,

                 Every appointed deputy of that county.

          AB 630 specifies that the powers of an appointed officer of a  
          county are no longer granted upon the officer's departure from  
          office, and would authorize a county board of supervisors to  
          require the appointing authority to rescind these powers in  
          writing by filing a revocation in the same manner as the oath of  
          office was filed.

          The bill makes additional changes to current law, specifically  
          by adding "clerk of the court" to the categories of county  
          officers required to file a copy of his or her official oath,  
          signed with his or her own proper signature, with the Secretary  
          of State as soon as he or she has taken and subscribed his or  
          her oath.

           State Revenue Impact


          AB 630 (Linder) 4/27/15                                 Page 3  
          of ?

           No estimate.


            1. Purpose of the bill.   Current law does not require county  
          officers to file a new oath in the event of a name, title, or  
          department change.  This situation leaves counties with outdated  
          information on file that is often untraceable to current staff  
          based on movement between offices or name change due to  
          marriage, divorce, or other reasons.  When members of the public  
          question the validity of their county officials and request  
          evidence of mandated oaths, county clerks either spend an  
          unnecessary amount of time tracking people down based on  
          outdated names, or in most cases, they are not able to comply  
          with the request at all.  AB 630 is a transparency measure that  
          will help counties provide the public with current and accurate  
          public record information in a timely manner by expediting  
          public record searches for public and county clerk staff.  State  
          law already requires a notary public who legally changes his or  
          her name change to submit an application to the Secretary of  
          State to amend their commission and file a new oath with the  
          Secretary of State.  This practice makes sense from a policy  
          perspective, since it is in the public interest that public  
          records accurately reflect the legal names, titles, and duties  
          of individuals performing public functions.  AB 630 would  
          further this purpose by enabling counties to compel their  
          officers, disaster workers, and deputies to update their oaths  
          in a similar manner to notaries public in the event of a change  
          of name, title, department, or delegated authority.   
          2. Mandate  . Violating an oath or affirmation is a crime. Because  
          AB 630 would expand the scope of an existing crime, the  
          Legislative Counsel's Office says that this bill would impose a  
          state-mandated local program.  But the bill disclaims the  
          state's responsibility for reimbursing counties for compliance  
          with AB 630.  This disclaimer is consistent with the California  
          Constitution, which provides that the state does not have to  
          reimburse local governments for the costs of new crimes (Article  
          XIIIB, 6[a] [2]).

           Assembly Actions


          AB 630 (Linder) 4/27/15                                 Page 4  
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           Assembly Local Government                    9-0
          Assembly Appropriations                      17-0
          Assembly Floor                               78-0


          AB 630 (Linder) 4/27/15                                 Page 5  
          of ?

          Support and  
          Opposition   (6/18/15)

           Support  :  California Association of Clerks and Elections  

           Opposition  :  Unknown.

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