BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 990


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          Date of Hearing:  September 9, 2015 


                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS AND REDISTRICTING


                           Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, Chair


          AB 990  
          (Bonilla) - As Amended August 20, 2015


                          CONCURRENCE IN SENATE AMENDMENTS


          


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                 (vote not relevant)


          SUBJECT:  Political Reform Act of 1974: advertisement  
          disclosures.


          SUMMARY:  Increases the size and prominence of disclosure  
          statements that are required to appear on certain campaign  
          advertisements.











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          The Senate amendments delete the Assembly version of the bill,  
          and instead:


          1)Require an advertisement supporting or opposing a candidate  
            that is paid for by an independent expenditure (IE) to comply  
            with the following:


             a)   That the following specific phrasing be used for the  
               disclosure statement that is required to appear on the  
               advertisement pursuant to existing law: 



             "This advertisement was not authorized or paid for by a  
               candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a  
               candidate for this office."
             b)   If the advertisement is mailed, that the statement  
               comply with all of the following:


               i)     Be located within one-quarter of an inch of the  
                 recipient's name and address as printed on the  
                 advertisement; 


               ii)    Be contained in a box that has an outline with a  
                 line weight of at least 3.25 points, and the outline is  
                 in a contrasting color to the background color of the  
                 advertisement and of the background color of the box;


               iii)   The background color of the box contrasts with the  
                 background color of the advertisement; and,











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               iv)    The text of the statement is in a contrasting color  
                 to the background color of the box.


          2)Increase the minimum size of disclosure statements that are  
            required to be printed on specified campaign advertisements  
            pursuant to existing law from 10-point to 14-point, and  
            require the statements to be printed in bold, sans serif type  
            font.


          3)Make corresponding changes.


          4)Add an urgency clause, allowing this bill to take effect  
            immediately upon enactment.


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Creates the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), and  
            makes it responsible for the impartial, effective  
            administration and implementation of the Political Reform Act  
            (PRA).


          2)Requires any advertisement for or against a ballot measure to  
            include a disclosure statement identifying the two largest  
            contributors whose cumulative contributions are $50,000 or  
            more, as specified.



          3)Requires a committee that supports or opposes one or more  
            ballot measures to name and identify itself using a name or  
            phrase that clearly identifies the economic or other special  









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            interest of its major donors of $50,000 or more.  Provides  
            that if the major donors of $50,000 or more share a common  
            employer, the identity of the employer shall also be  
            disclosed.  Requires a committee which supports or opposes a  
            ballot measure to print or broadcast its name as required by  
            these provisions as part of any advertisement or other paid  
            public statement.





          4)Requires an advertisement supporting or opposing a candidate  
            or ballot measure that is paid for by an IE to include a  
            disclosure statement that identifies both of the following:



             a)   The name of the committee making the IE.



             b)   The names of the persons from whom the committee making  
               the IE has received its two highest cumulative  
               contributions of $50,000 or more during the 12-month period  
               prior to the expenditure, as specified. 



          5)Requires an advertisement supporting or opposing a candidate  
            that is paid for by an IE to include a statement that it was  
            not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a  
            candidate.



          6)Requires specified advertisements for or against a ballot  









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            measure that include individuals who have been paid for their  
            appearance to include a disclosure statement stating  
            "(spokesperson's name) is being paid by this campaign or its  
            donors" in highly visible Roman font.



          7)Requires specified advertisements for or against a ballot  
            measure that include individuals who have been paid for their  
            appearance, and that states or suggests that the individual is  
            a member of an occupation that requires licensure,  
            certification, or other specialized training, to include a  
            disclosure statement stating "Persons portraying members of an  
            occupation in this advertisement are compensated spokespersons  
            not necessarily employed in those occupations" in highly  
            visible Roman font.

          8)Requires the disclosure statements outlined above to be  
            printed clearly and legibly in no less than 10-point type and  
            in a conspicuous manner as defined by the FPPC.  Provides,  
            pursuant to FPPC regulation, that a disclosure statement on  
            printed materials designed to be distributed personally or  
            thorough the mail shall be printed in a contrasting color to  
            the background on which it appears.



          9)Defines "advertisement," for the purposes of the disclosure  
            requirements outlined above, as any general or public  
            advertisement which is authorized and paid for by a person or  
            committee for the purpose of supporting or opposing a  
            candidate for elective office or a ballot measure or ballot  
            measures.  Provides that "advertisement" does not include a  
            communication from an organization other than a political  
            party to its members, a campaign button smaller than 10 inches  
            in diameter, a bumper sticker smaller than 60 square inches,  
            or other advertisement as determined by regulations adopted by  









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            the FPPC.



          10)Defines "independent expenditure," for the purposes of the  
            PRA, as an expenditure made by any person in connection with a  
            communication which expressly advocates the election or defeat  
            of a clearly identified candidate or the qualification,  
            passage, or defeat of a clearly identified measure, or taken  
            as a whole and in context, unambiguously urges a particular  
            result in an election, but which is not made to or at the  
            behest of the affected candidate or committee.





          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.


          COMMENTS:  


          1)Prior Assembly Consideration of This Measure:  As approved by  
            the Assembly in May, this bill would have required the  
            Department of Public Health to include information regarding  
            the increased risk of breast cancer associated with obesity in  
            any literature the Department produced regarding breast  
            cancer.  Subsequent to the Assembly's approval of this  
            measure, it was amended in the Senate to delete the  
            Assembly-approved provisions of the bill, and to add the  
            current provisions to increase the size and prominence of  
            disclosure statements that are required to appear on certain  
            campaign advertisements.  As a result, this bill has been  
            re-referred to this committee for further consideration  
            pursuant to Assembly Rule 77.2.









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          2)Purpose of the Bill:  According to the author:


               Campaign spending has significantly increased with the  
               advent of [IEs].  In California, IE spending reached  
               $32 million leading up to the 2014 General Election.  
               Throughout election season, mailboxes are flooded with  
               mailers. In recent elections, there were reports of  
               families receiving upwards of 200 pieces of mail. When  
               voters receive an overwhelming amount of  
               advertisements from outside interest groups, in  
               addition to advertisements from candidates, it is  
               difficult for the voter to distinguish who is  
               responsible for each message.



               The quantity and negative messaging of mailers has not  
               only confused voters, but it has frustrated some to  
               the point of not wanting to vote. During recent  
               elections, the Contra Costa County  
               Clerk/Recorder-Registrar heard from numerous upset  
               voters. Community members voiced their displeasure in  
               candidates for the amount of mailers they were  
               receiving. Although outside spending reached record  
               highs, voters incorrectly attributed all mailers to  
               the candidates.

               The Political Reform Act requires all advertisements  
               to include a statement detailing who paid for the  
               advertisement.  Current law requires the disclosure  
               statement to be printed clearly, in no less than  
               10-point font, and in a contrasting color. However,  
               disclosure statements are easily overlooked because  
               they are in small font and often hidden at the bottom  









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               of advertisements.

               AB 990 updates the way disclosure statements are  
               displayed in order to increase the likelihood that  
               voters see the statement and properly attribute the  
               campaign messaging. AB 990 increases the font size and  
               requires the disclosure to be printed inside an  
               outlined box.  The box must be a contrasting color to  
               the background of the advertisement and the text must  
               be in a contrasting color to the box.  Additionally,  
               the statement must be located within one quarter of an  
               inch from the recipient's name and address on the  
               advertisement. AB 990 will make it simple for voters  
               to notice and read the disclosure statement providing  
               greater transparency in our state's elections.

          3)Existing Disclosure Statement Requirements: As outlined above,  
            the PRA requires specified campaign advertisements to contain  
            certain disclosure statements, with the specific disclosure  
            that is required varying depending on the type of  
            advertisement, the type of committee that pays for the  
            advertisement, and the medium used to convey the  
            advertisement.  Certain advertisements that are paid for by  
            IEs, and certain advertisements supporting or opposing ballot  
            measures, are required to include a disclosure that identifies  
            the two largest contributors of $50,000 or more to the  
            committee that pays for the advertisement, as specified.   
            Advertisements that feature paid spokespeople may be required  
            to include a statement disclosing that fact.  Certain ballot  
            measure committees are required to name themselves in a manner  
            that discloses the economic or other special interest of the  
            major contributors to the committee, and are required to  
            include that committee name on advertisements paid for by the  
            committee.  Finally, an advertisement supporting or opposing a  
            candidate that is paid for by an IE must include a statement  
            that the advertisement was not authorized by a candidate or a  
            committee controlled by a candidate.









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          The disclosure statements outlined above, when required on a  
            non-electronic printed advertisement, generally must be  
            printed in at least 10-point type (disclosure statements on  
            advertisements on over size print media, such as yard signs  
            and billboards, generally must appear in larger type).  For  
            other types of advertisements, including video, audio, and  
            electronic text or graphic advertising, the disclosure  
            statement must be presented in a "clear and conspicuous  
            manner," as specified pursuant to regulations adopted by the  
            FPPC.

          This bill increases the minimum size of the disclosure  
            statements detailed above, when those statements appear on a  
            non-electronic printed advertisement, from a minimum of  
            10-point type to a minimum of 14-point type.  Additionally,  
            this bill requires such disclosure statements to be printed in  
            bold, sans serif type font.  Although the author's statement  
            above focuses on IEs, these requirements apply to all of the  
            disclosure statements outlined above, including disclosure  
            statements on advertisements that are not paid for by IEs. 

          Additionally, for the purposes of the existing requirement that  
            an advertisement supporting or opposing a candidate that is  
            paid for by an IE include a statement that the advertisement  
            was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by  
            a candidate, this bill requires the following exact language  
            to be used for the disclosure statement: "This advertisement  
            was not authorized or paid for by a candidate for this office  
            or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office."   
            For those IEs, if delivered through the mail, the disclosure  
            statement would also be required to be located within  
            one-quarter of an inch of the recipient's name and address and  
            be contained in a box that has an outline with a line weight  
            of at least 3.25 points.









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          For illustration purposes, the following is printed in a  
            10-point Times New Roman type font which would comply with  
            current law:

          This advertisement was not authorized by a candidate or a  
            committee controlled by a candidate.

          By contrast, the following disclosure statement uses the  
            specific language that would be required by this bill, is  
            written in 14-point Arial font (an example of a sans serif  
            type font), and is placed in a box similar to the one that  
            would be required on IEs that support or oppose candidates:
             --------------------------------------------------------------- 
            |    This advertisement was not authorized or paid for by a     |
            |   candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a    |
            |candidate for this office.                                     |
            |                                                               |
            |                                                               |
            |                                                               |
            |                                                               |
            |                                                               |
             --------------------------------------------------------------- 
          


          4)Political Reform Act of 1974:  California voters passed an  
            initiative, Proposition 9, in 1974 that created the FPPC and  
            codified significant restrictions and prohibitions on  
            candidates, officeholders and lobbyists. That initiative is  
            commonly known as the PRA.  Amendments to the PRA that are not  
            submitted to the voters, such as those contained in this bill,  
            must further the purposes of the initiative and require a  
            two-thirds vote of both houses of the Legislature.


          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:









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          Support




          Contra Costa County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters (sponsor)


          California Clean Money Campaign


          Opposition


          None on file.




          Analysis Prepared by:Ethan Jones / E. & R. / (916) 319-2094