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CVF Fall election preview online; FPPC undertakes Political Reform Act review

September 1, 2010

Hi Folks,

Summer is winding down, Fall is right around the corner and California's election season will soon be in full swing. The California Voter Foundation will once again produce its nonpartisan California Online Voter Guide, which will debut in late September. (For those wondering, another Proposition Song is also in the works!)

In the meanwhile, we've put together an "Election Preview" to help you get ready for the Fall election. It includes a rundown of the nine propositions on the state ballot and links to important election resources such as the state's Voter Information Guide and the Certified List of Candidates.
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FPPC undertakes Political Reform Act review

Yesterday I attended a meeting of the newly formed 25-member task force appointed by Fair Political Practices Commission Chairman Dan Schnur, which is charged with proposing legislative and regulatory changes to the 36-year-old California Political Reform Act. This is a section of California's Government code that was added via the initiative process back in 1974 and spells out the state's campaign rules, campaign finance disclosure requirements and conflict of interest laws.

The task force is on a short timeline to conduct its work, as FPPC Chairman Schnur's term expires at the end of this year. Schnur and his task force will consider reforms suggested by other commissions that undertook similar efforts in recent years. This Aug. 24 FPPC press release identifies the members of the commission and their affiliations; members include a range of individuals from the political sector, the "good government" sector and the FPPC itself.

In the public comments section of the meeting I suggested several reforms the task force might want to consider, including:

On this last item, I urged task force members to review KQED's John Myers' excellent blog post and news story yesterday about political interests' increasing use of political advertisements that skirt California disclosure laws but nonetheless clearly seek to impact the outcome of elections.

One report I hope the task force draws from is the recent FPPC Subcommittee on Internet Political Activity report, released on August 11, which recommends many excellent changes for modernizing California's campaign laws, including one that directs the FPPC to produce information in easy-to-understand, FAQ formats so citizens who want to use the Internet to voice their political opinions understand that uncompensated political activity is not subject to regulation.

-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation

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This page was first published on September 1, 2010 | Last updated on September 1, 2010
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